Israel

Bo – Finding Spiritual Alignment

What is the significance of the commandment of sanctifying the new moon being the first of the commandments? What does it mean that the Torah should have begun with this commandment? What is the connection between this mitzvah and God’s gift of Israel to the Jewish people? Which is the main part of the lunar…

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Vayishlach – Yakov, Yosef and the Sod Ha'ibbur

What is the concept of the ‘additional’ revelation of Hashem to Yakov in this week’s parsha? What is the blessing he receives? How does this relate to the land of Israel? What is the concept of the secret of the Ibbur? How does it relate to this blessing? What is the aspect of the addition…

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Shlach – Inclusive Spirituality

Why does the Arizal indicate that the spies and their generation were on a level that was beyond the land of Israel? How does this reconcile with the fact that they sinned in speaking negatively of the land? What is the antidote for the challenge of the description of Israel as a ‘land that swallows…

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Vaeschanan – Resonating with Truth

Why does Moshe preface his request to enter Israel by appointing Yehoshua to lead the Jewish people into Israel? Why does Moshe form his prayer as a “תחינה” – a supplication asking for a free gift? What is the difference between the experience of spirituality outside of Israel as opposed to the experience inside of…

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Thoughts on Tisha B'av

A few years ago on Tisha B’av, a member of my shul spoke, Mr. Stimler z’l. He was a holocaust survivor, married to a holocaust survivor. I distinctly remember the first time I met him, when he made a ‘tikun’ after davening. Usually there is a name to mention when you say your brachos. The…

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More on the Erev Ze'eir

I received the following email: Ari, I have listened to nearly every one of your parsha podcasts that you have put out and would like to thank you for all that you have taught me. I am only recently taking my Judaism seriously and your podcast was a wonderful teaching tool. Recently I stumbled on…

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The Chofetz Chaim on living in Israel

I came across a very interesting piece in the sefer חפץ חיים על התורה, which is a collection of the teachings of the Chofetz Chaim on the parsha. It was put together by Rabbi Shmuel Greineman, who clearly knew the Chofetz Chaim personally. At the beginning of the book, he printed the following letter from…

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Moshiach, now? part II

You know, I don’t think there is anyone who will say that we aren’t in a very significant moment in history. As I have said in the past, I do not like to make predictions, and the main reason is because predictions for the near future look rather silly when they do not come true.…

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Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain!

This winter has been terribly dry for us in Israel, as many of you may know. The water levels here are dangerously low, and the drought is having a devastating effect on this year’s crops. We have been saying special tefilos for rain every day, and there was even a special fast not too long…

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