Parashat Shemot

29 December 2018 21st Tevet 5779 Parashat Shemot by Ariella Rosen, JTS Rabbinical School (with additions) Exo 1:1 – 6:1’ Isa 27:6 – 28:13, 29:22-23; Matt 2: 1-12 Moses flees Egypt Exod 1:1 1 Now these are the names of the children of Israel who came to Egypt; “V’eila shemot B’nei Yisrael ‘Shemot’ means ‘names’. And so, as usual, the parasha and the entire book of Exodus is called Shemot – names! Then, notice the ‘and’: ‘and these are the names’. The sages infer that the ‘and’ in Hebrew ‘ve’ - connects the books of Genesis and Exodus. The phrase, “And these

Art Exhibition in Israel

Art Exhibition in Israel Sculpture by Baruch Maayan, Israel The Jerusalem House of Quality will host an art exhibition featuring the work of 10 artists, nine of whom are Messianic believers, and are all immigrants who – after transitioning from their lives in other cultures – have integrated into Israeli society and the creative life here. Appropriately themed, In Transition, במעבר, (BaMa’avar) the exhibit will span two weeks — two distinct shows each featuring the work of five of the 10 exhibitors — beginning Dec. 23. “Transition is a constant factor in our lives and communities,” explains an exhibit promotional piece. “In Hebrew there are various words expressing ideas to do with the proce

The Foundation of Anti-Semitism

The Foundation of Anti-Semitism Torahbytes (with a few added comments) Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. And he said to his people, "Behold, the people of Israel are too many and too mighty for us. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and, if war breaks out, they join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land." (Shemot / Exodus 1:8-10) The first recorded expression of anti-Semitism is perhaps the Egyptian oppression of the people of Israel prior to the Exodus. At first glance Pharaoh's fear of the Israelites' potential threat may sound reasonable. What was Pharaoh'

Parashat Vayechi

Saturday 22nd December 2018 7th Tevet 5779 Parashat Vayechi Alan Gilmor, Torahbytes Genesis 47:28 – 50:26; 1 Kings 2: 1 – 12; John 13:1 – 19 But Joseph said to them, "Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones." Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. (Bereshit/Genesis 50:19-21) Joseph was the object of his own brothers' extreme jealousy,

Borders by Elhanan ben-Avraham

Borders by Elhanan ben-Avraham Dec 19, 2018 When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of man, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel. – Deuteronomy 32:8 And God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. – Genesis 1:4 We are all created with borders. Our borders are covered with skin equipped with sensors to perceive any unwanted intruder. Beneath that skin is a complex immigration system, vetting all that would immigrate into our closed system. It is comprised of specialists in border security trained to discern if the would-be immigrant is beneficial or detrimental

US will pull troops out of Syria

US will pull troops out of Syria WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States does not want to be the “policeman” of the Middle East, US President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday, as he defended his controversial decision to pull US forces out of Syria. “Does the USA want to be the Policeman of the Middle East, getting NOTHING but spending precious lives and trillions of dollars protecting others who, in almost all cases, do not appreciate what we are doing? Do we want to be there forever? Time for others to finally fight….,” he tweeted. Trump added: “Russia, Iran, Syria & many others are not happy about the U.S. leaving, despite what the Fake News says, because now they will have to fight ISIS and ot

Lebanon, the Tunnels and the United Nations

Lebanon, the Tunnels and the United Nations After discovering another tunnel across the Lebanese border into Israel, the IDF filled it with explosives to prevent any possible use of it by Hezbollah fighters. “Anyone who enters it from the Lebanese side endangers their life,” the IDF said. “The Lebanese government is responsible for the digging of the tunnels from Lebanese territory. This is a serious violation of Israeli sovereignty.” Furthermore, all of these tunnels were dug under the watchful eyes of the United Nations peacekeeping force, UNIFIL, which was supposed to stop all Hezbollah activity in Southern Lebanon. Not only did the United Nations force not stop Hezbollah from digging the

Tzedakah - Charity or Righteousness

Tzedakah - Charity or Righteousness What is your greatest pleasure in life? Most people will initially think of physical pleasures -- those that can be obtained through the 5 senses. Given a few moments of reflections, many people will shift to more ethereal pleasures -- particularly the joy of a good marriage and if not, at least the joy of children and grandchildren. A cigar smoker once asked me, "Do you know the greatest pleasure a cigar smoker has?" Without stopping for a response, he continued, "The joy of giving a good cigar to someone. If you smoke it, you have the pleasure of that cigar for an hour or two. However, if you give it t

Messiah Incognito

Messiah Incognito FFOZ Most Jewish people do not believe in Yeshua’s Messianic claims or that he rose from the dead, but it’s not unusual for him to move among his people in disguise. The two men on the way to the village of Emmaus had heard about the empty tomb earlier that morning. They heard the report of Simon Peter and John, who found the tomb empty. They also heard that some of the women claimed to have seen angels, but they did not know what to make of it all. They argued over the details, trying to piece the incongruous events together. They were only a short distance from Jerusalem when the Master o

Why Do We Cover Our Eyes for Shema?

Why Do We Cover Our Eyes for Shema? While saying this important prayer, we are not to be distracted by anything around us. Closing our eyes enhances our concentration. (Code of Jewish Law, Orach Chaim 61:5) The Talmud (Berachot 13b) traces this practice to the great Rabbi Judah the Prince. He would often interrupt his Torah lectures for Shema, and his students would observe him passing his hand over his eyes at the moment that he said the verse. A deeper answer: The meaning of the Shema goes way beyond the belief in only one G‑d. “Hashem Echad” declares that there is no existence outside of G‑d. Our world, and everything inside it, is created from G‑d’s speech at every given moment. For a fe

Parashat Vayigash

Saturday 15th December 2018 7th Tevet 5779 Parashat Vayigash Alan Gilman Genesis 44:18-47:27; Ezekiel 37:15-28; Luke 24:30 - 48 And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. (Bereshit/Genesis 45:2) Sometime in my late teens I stopped crying. I don't mean that up until then I was crying nonstop. It was as if I had lost the ability to cry. All children cry. It's our automatic, God-given survival device. As we get older, most of us learn to control the tears and express our needs and disappointments in

Hanukkah Riddle

Hanukkah Riddle: The Elusive Origins of the “Shamash” – the Servant Was the "servant light" invented by the 1st-century Nazarenes, and then suppressed by the rabbinic community? The idea is not as crazy as it sounds. By Hannah Weiss Dec 4, 2018 The hanukkiah, or Hanukkah lamp, follows two traditional designs: a branched candelabra or a straight row. The eight lights (one for each festive night) are supplemented by a ninth light, identical but set apart from the others. Whether it burns oil, electric or candles, the hannukiah is so familiar you would never guess it has a short history. A rabbi at, when asked about an unusual hanukkiah which someone had inherited, remarke

The City of Glory

The glory of this latter House shall be greater than that of the former one, said the lord of Hosts; and in this place I will grant prosperity—declares the lord of Hosts Haggai 2:9 גָּדוֹל יִהְיֶה כְּבוֹד הַבַּיִת הַזֶּה הָאַחֲרוֹן מִן־הָרִאשׁוֹן אָמַר יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת וּבַמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה אֶתֵּן שָׁלוֹם נְאֻם יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת Gadol yiheyeh k’vod habayit hazeh ha-acharon min harishon amar Adonai Tz’vaot uvamakom hazeh ahtan shalom n’um Adonai TZ’vaot The City of Glory Haggai prophesies of a time when all the nations of the world will recognize HaShem (God), Whose glory rests on the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple) in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem). Haggai promises that “in this place I will grant sh

Parashat Miketz

Saturday 8th December 2018 30th Kislev 5779 Parashat Miketz Genesis 41:1-44:17; 1 Kings 3:15-4:1; 1 Corinthians 11: 8-25 “And it came to pass at the end of [miketz] two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed a dream: and, behold, he stood by the river.” (Genesis 41:1) In this week’s reading, Joseph is finally about to come to the end of his many trials and enter into his destiny.In fact, the name of the Parasha, Miketz, found in the opening verse of this week’s Torah reading, hints at this since this Hebrew word means ‘at the end of’. Joseph is brought out of the darkness of an Egyptian dungeon to interpret the stra

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