Friday, November 29, 2013

[Aneinu] Please Daven

Please daven for a Baal Chesed, Chaim Elazar ben Chansha, a 58 year old man from Flatbush, who was hit by a car and is in critical condition and in a coma.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

YWN Tefilos for the Seret-Vishnitz Rebbe Shlita

The condition of the Seret-Vishnitz Rebbe Shlita has taken a turn for the worse as he may have contracted pneumonia. The rebbe’s condition began to decline this past Shabbos morning. He had a fever which is feared to be the result of pneumonia. The rebbe’s has curtailed his schedule drastically since Shabbos and he may be hospitalized later today, Tuesday, 23 Kislev 5774. It should be pointed out that doctors have been visiting and treating the rebbe at home since Shabbos. The tzibur is requested to be mispallel for רבי אליעזר בן צירל שליט”א bsoch kol cholei Am Yisrael. (YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

JI and JMR New York Boys Choir Presents “Miracle”

Two years ago hit maker Yitzy Bald decided to try something new. Instead of working with solo artists like Mendy Wald, Michoel Pruzansky and Dovid Gabay, he decided to share his music in a venue that holds a very special place in his heart, a boys choir. Yitzy then went on to release the self-titled debut album of the New York Boys Choir, the rest is history. Featuring smash hits including Ma’aminim, V’ahavta and Yehudi, the New York Boys Choir won the hearts of Jewish music fans across the world. In just two short years, the choir has performed at many concerts and live events including the Chanukah Telethon back in December 2011 which was broadcasted nationally and the Israel Day Concert in Central Park attended by thousands in Spring 2012. The choir has since go on to join forces with Kids of Courage, the famed volunteer organization that turns the dreams of children with serious medical conditions into reality by providing them with medically supervised trips, weekends and other events. They released the hit single “Kids of Courage” together with a music video produced by veteran producer Danny Finkelman which to date boasts over 70,000 hits on Youtube. Over the last two years Yitzy and the choir have been constantly working on their sophomore album for the New York Boys Choir. The new album to be released in spring 2014, will feature amazing songs composed and arranged by Yitzy himself as well as include music by world renowned Israeli arranger/musician Shai Barak. NYBC 2 will also feature the acclaimed hit song Jew Joy which the choir has performed live over the last two years. However one does NOT have to wait till spring to get their new dose of NYBC. In honor of the fast approaching Chanukah, Yitzy Bald and the NYBC are releasing a dynamic new single entitled “M-I-R-A-C-L-E“. The single is being released with a one of a kind music video produced by On Time Video, which is sure to instantly become a household favorite. “M-I-R-A-C-L-E-“,composed by the multi-talented Yitzy Bald, was co-arranged by Yitzy together with the ultra-talented composer/arranger/producer Ruli Ezrach and features background vocals by the incomparable Yitzy Spinner plus additional vocals by Michael Elias.

JI Six13 - The Thanksgivukkah Anthem


JI and JMR Shalsheles Connections Now Available

he time has come for the next link in the chain that is the musical legacy of Shalsheles. Featuring songs which are both unique and dynamic, heartfelt and thrilling, all composed by the huge talent that is Yitzchok Rosenthal, Shalsheles returns to your music outlets with their newest gem, Shalsheles: Connections. If you were asked to pair your favorite JM artist with the Shalsheles genre, you would definitely not pick a lot of the artists who collaborated on this album. And that is just a small part of what makes this momentous album so special. Can you say Shalsheles and Israeli singing sensation Itzik Dadya? How about Shalsheles and Shlomo Katz? Well, whether you can or can’t, you all will now be able to experience the end result. Featuring refreshing collaborations with names like Shloime Gertner, the Maccabeats, Israel’s rising child prodigy Ilai Avidani, world renown singer and composer, Yishai Lapidot, Ari Goldwag, Dudi Kalish & the Yedidim Choir and of course A.K.A. Pella. Sure you will have a few stand alone tracks with the group you fell in love with and have grown up with, however on “Connections” each song is infused with creative stylings to match that particular guest so it just feels like it was tailor made. Arrangements on the album were created by Dudi Kalish, Twostone (a duo from Israel), Yoely Dickman, Aryeh Kunstler and Ruli Ezrachi.

[Aneinu] Name Change

BS"D Dear Aneinu Members, B"H "Tinok Ben Dina bas Chaya Sarah" had his bris and now has a name. Please change to "Elisha Boruch Tuvia ben Dina". May he and all cholim in Klal Yisroel have a refuah shlema. May we hear besoros tovos. Kol Tuv, Chaya Miriam

Sunday, November 24, 2013

YU TORAH Dreidel Drama By Mrs. Shira Smiles

Is Chanukah just a “minor” holiday and the dreidel a mere toy? More often than not, including secondary colors into a pattern or minor notes into music creates a richness and fullness that give greater meaning to the original work. Such is the case with Chanukah in Judaism, and with the menorah and the dreidel that are its symbols, for they help us appreciate the depth of Torah and the beauty of a Torah life. Surely celebrating for eight days, lighting candles each of those nights, and continuing to play with the same simple toy for over two millennia has more meaning than just partying and a passing fad of a plaything.(note to get the source sheet do not click on it rather save the file).

OU TORAH and NAALEH.COM Chanukah: Wonders of War By Shira Smiles

In this shiur (Torah class) on Chanukah, Mrs. Shira Smiles raises the question of what is so unique and special about the miracle of Chanukah? Additionally, why are we thanking G-d for the war in the prayer of Al Hanissim? This Torah class is available online in streaming video and for download in mp3 and ipod video formats. CLICK HERE FOR SOURCE SHEETS.

[Aneinu] Please Daven - Car Accident

a young woman has just been involved in a major car accident in NY. She has just been transferred to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. please say tehillim for Nechama bas Chaiana Rochel, that she should have a complete refuah b'zoch kol cholie yisroel

Friday, November 22, 2013

[Aneinu] Please Daven Now

Please daven for my mother in law Jeanette Deutsch - Tsherna bas Budya. thank you, Esti

[Aneinu] Please Daven - Surgery This Morning

Please daven for the daughter of former Chicagoan, Sasha Men. Her hebrew name is Sarah Faina bas Malka. She is 9 years old and will undergo serious surgery this morning and needs our tefillos.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

[Aneinu] Please Daven

Please continue to daven for Devorah Chana bas Zlata.

[Aneinu] Please Daven

Please daven for a refuah shlema for Chana bas Etel Breindel (not a Chicagoan) who had a bad fall and was seriously injured.

Add some light to your Chanukah celebration!

Special for Chanukah - a free copy of Splendor of Tefillin ($5.35 value) with each purchase of Gold or Silver!

The Sun Has Set: A Tribute to President John Fitzgerald Kennedy By Rabbi Norman Lam

Rabbi Norman Lamm gave this powerful sermon in 1963 after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and it's still relevant today.(YUTORAH)

BAIS HAVAAD ON THE PARSHA 5774 Vayishlach - Ba'al Tashchis; Proper Waste Management

In the beginning of this week's parsha we read the episode about how Yaakov crossed his entire family over a stream. He then remained there alone and fought with a man until dawn. The Gemara (Chullin 91a) explains that Yaakov remained alone in order to collect a few little jars of his. The Gemara teaches that from here we see that righteous people value all their hard earned possessions --even seemingly worthless one's such as a few small jars-- because they are meticulously careful not to steal anything from anyone. Similarly, we are all commanded not to waste anything (see Rambam, Melachim 6:10). The Chinuch (mitzvah 529) writes that this trait is especially found by the righteous. He explains that the righteous love peace and are happy with all the good they have. Therefore, they won't destroy even a mustard seed, and will use all their might to preserve anything from being destroyed.(AUDIO HERE) CLICK HERE FOR PRINT VERSION.

THE BAIS HAVAAD'S PARSHA PERSPECTIVES Parshas Vayishlach:Crossing the Line into Foul Territory By Rabbi Heshy Steinacher

There once was a poor struggling shoe salesman named Yankele who owned a small shoe store. One day, to his great dismay, a competitor moved in right next door. His new neighbor set up a huge factory outlet shoe store. On the front of the store, in giant letters, hung a sign that read, “CHEAPEST SHOES IN TOWN”. A few days later, Yankele’s blood pressure rose again. Another massive factory outlet shoe store opened up for business on the other side of Yankele’s shop. That store, too, brandished a gigantic sign. It read, “HIGHEST QUALITY SHOES IN TOWN”. Yankele was beside himself. He ran to the Rabbi. “How can I save my parnassa?

OU TORAH World of Action By Shira Smiles


NAALEH.COM CHASSIDIC SPARKS By Rabbi Reichman and more


NAALEH.COM and YU TORAH Timnas Trajectory Parshat Vayishlach 5774 By: Mrs. Shira Smiles

At the end of Parashas Vayishlach, Yaacov Avinu encountered Aisav on his way back to Eretz Yisrael and then they parted ways. The Chumash tells us that Aisav settled on Mt.Seir- Asiav is Edom. We are then given the lineage of Aisav, which includes two brief pesukim about Timna. First, we learn that Timna was a concubine of Elifaz, son of Aisav, and she gave birth to Amalek (the ultimate enemy of the Jewish people). Timna is mentioned in a second pasuk, which delineates the inhabitants of Seir: The sister of Lotan was Timna. (Lotan was was a chief of the Horites, in Seir). Click Here For by Sheindel Mordecai.


I have argued in previous years of Covenant and Conversation that the episode in which the Jewish people acquired its name – when Jacob wrestled with an unnamed adversary at night and received the name Israel – is essential to an understanding of what it is to be a Jew. I argue here that it is equally critical to understanding what it is to lead.

Fear or Distress? By RABBI SACKS

acob and Esau are about to meet again after a separation of twenty two years. It is a fraught encounter. Once, Esau had sworn to kill Jacob in revenge for what he saw as the theft of his blessing. Will he do so now – or has time healed the wound? Jacob sends messengers to let his brother know he is coming. They return, saying that Esau is coming to meet Jacob with a force of four hundred men. We then read: Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed. (32: 8) The question is obvious. Jacob is in the grip of strong emotions. But why the duplication of verbs?


The organizations that claim to represent American Jewry meet this week in their annual General Assembly gathering. Once every five years this meeting takes place in Jerusalem, while rotating around American cities the other four years of the cycle. Surveying the wreckage of much of current American Jewish society, there is now a call for a much more soulful approach to Judaism and Jewish life to help reverse current trends and demographic and social realities. For decades, official American Jewry has been trapped by its own public relations sloganeering. No one can be against a more soulful Jewish public. But what exactly does the word soulful mean? In what context is the word to be translated into deed and attitude? In short, what and where is the key to reaching and opening the shriveled soul of American Jewish society?


Many commentators over the ages have seen in the two confrontations between Yaakov and Eisav – first the struggle with Eisav’s angel and then the meeting with Eisav in the flesh – the two-front war that Judaism and the Jewish people have been forced to fight over millennia in order to simply survive. The struggle with Eisav’s angel, as described in the parsha, represents a spiritual and intellectual fight, a contest of ideas, beliefs and debate. The meeting with the physical Eisav in turn represents the struggle of the Jewish people to simply stay alive in a bigoted, cruel, and nearly fatal environment.

RAV KOOK on Parshat VaYishlach Part 2: The Prohibition of Gid Ha-Nasheh

Jacob was limping, but he survived the nocturnal struggle. Nervously awaiting a confrontation with his estranged brother Esau, Jacob had been attacked by a mysterious opponent. With the approach of dawn, the stranger dislocated Jacob's thigh. "Therefore the Israelites do not eat the displaced nerve ("gid ha-nasheh") on the hip joint to this very day, because he touched Jacob's thigh on the displaced nerve." (Gen. 32:33) What is the significance of this prohibition? Should we refrain from eating the sciatic nerve just because of a mysterious wrestling match that took place thousands of years ago? (Saphire From the Land Israel page 74 Adapted from Oztrot HaRe'iyah vol. II p. 507)

RAV KOOK on Parshat Vayishlach part 1: Jacob Arrived Whole

Having survived the trickery of uncle Laban and the enmity of his brother Esau, Jacob finally returned to his homeland. "Jacob arrived whole (shalem) to the city of Shechem in the land of Canaan" (Gen. 33:18). In what way was Jacob shalem? The Talmud explains that he was "whole in body, whole in money, whole in his Torah knowledge" (Shabbat 33b). According to the medieval commentator Rashi, these three areas are directly related to Jacob's previous ordeals. Physically — Jacob healed from the lameness the stranger had afflicted upon him in their mysterious struggle at Peniel. Financially — he did not lack money, despite the expensive gifts he had offered this brother Esau. And spiritually — he had not forgotten his Torah learning, despite the long years of intensive labor at Laban's house.


The Dirshu Mishnah Berurah contains elements that will be craved by talmidei chachamim and laymen alike: 1) Halacha lema'aseh rulings on new modern day shailos 2) Previously unpublished insights noted on the pages of the personal Mishna Berurahs of Gedolei Yisrael 3) Additions and cross references simalar to "Musaf Rashi" found in many gemaras 4) Piskei Chazon Ish 5)Explanations to the Mishnah Berurah where unclear AND THIS ONE HAS HILCHOS CHANUKA.



JI and JMR The Maccabeats “Burn” Hanukkah Video 2013

In the weeks and months following the explosion of their debut music video “Candlelight“, The Maccabeats received a remarkable variety of correspondence from fans all around the world. But one young man’s email stood out. This young man explained that, of the three thousand students in his rural community’s public school, he was the only Jew. And until he saw their video, he had never told anyone that he was Jewish. However, after seeing our video and seeing that there was nothing wrong with being proud of your religion and heritage in a public setting, all that changed. He wore his kipa to school for the first time, and was not afraid to be proud of his tradition and who he was. That young man’s story inspired this year’s Hanukkah video. An adaptation of “Burn” by British singer Ellie Goulding, the video tells the story of how one young man draws inspiration from his Hanukkah experience to stand up to his modern-day “Greek” bullies. In a way, his family’s observance fulfills pirsumei nisa (publicizing the Hanukkah miracles, a term the Talmud uses to describe the function of the Hanukkah candles), as our protagonist channels the flames of Hanukkah to feed the fire of his Jewish pride.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

JI and JMR Presenting: Shalsheles Connections

The time has come for the next link in the chain that is the musical legacy of Shalsheles. Featuring songs which are both unique and dynamic, heartfelt and thrilling composed all by the huge talent that is Yitzchok Rosenthal Shalsheles return to your music outlets with their newest gem Shalsheles: Connection. If you were asked to pair your favorite JM artist with the Shalsheles genera, you would defiantly not pick a lot of the artists who collaborte on this album. And that is just a small part of what makes this momentous album so special. Can you say Shalshsles and Israeli singing sensation Itzik Dadya? How about Shalsheles and Shlomo Katz? Well whether you can or can’t you will all now be able to experience the end result. Freaturing refreshing collaboration with names like Shloime Gertner, the Maccabeats, Israel rising child prodigy Ilai Avidani, world renown singer and composer Yishai lapidot, Ari Goldwag, Dudi Kalish & the Yedidim Choir and of course A.K.A. Pella. Sure you will have a few stand along tracks with the group you fell in love with and have grown with, however on “connection” song is infused with creative stylings to match that particular guest that it just feels like it was tailor made. Arrangements on the album were created by Dudi Kalish, Twostone (a duo from israel), Yoely Dickman, Aryeh Kunstler and Ruli Ezrachi. The album will be distributed by Lchaim music and iy”h arrive in stores by the weekend. To tide you over till then please enjoy the audio teaser below to wet your chops.

[Aneinu] Please Daven - Surgery Today

Please davven for Slava Baila bas Leah, a Chicago Mom who is having surgery today. Thank you!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

[Aneinu] Mitzvah Campaign for 3 yr old

Mitzvah Campaign Oraganized For the Refuah Shalaymah of Rachel Teresh (Sunday, November 17th, 2013) 1452490_448620861913179_85156807_aOn October 26th, three-year-old Rachel Teresh from Brooklyn, NY, was prescribed the wrong medication by her doctor to treat an infection.A few days later, she was rushed to the hospital, and is fighting to stay alive against a deadly disease called Stevens Johnson Syndrome. It has burned most of her body from the inside out. One cannot fathom what this little angel’s parents have been going through since this all began. When the doctors placed their daughter in an induced coma, during countless surgeries, while waiting for a miracle, the one thing they have been doing was praying. Yesterday, her mother reached out to her extended family of Jewish brothers and sisters with a heartfelt plea: “Please do as many mitzvos as you can for our daughter,” she asked. “Any form of charity to others, help someone else out. Being that today is Thursday, perhaps all the women out there could bake Challah in her merit.”A facebook page was created to coordinate and share the mitzvos there are being done in the girl’s merit and honor. The Hebrew name to keep in mind when doing your Mitzva is “Rachel Chaya Bas Rivkah.” Unfortunately, most of us are numb to these types of everyday occurrences –may they never come upon us– but whatever you’re doing, try to imagine a little soul lying in a hospital bed Cornell Hospital. Her parents begging, pleading with G-d to leave their daughter with them. An endless stream of tears soak up the hospital sheets. If everyone reading this article could take on an extra mitzva, even if it’s just a one-time deal, in merit of arousing G-d’s mercy upon this little girl and her family, imagine the light we would see shine into her hospital room. With G-d’s help, this Shabbos, the doctors are planning on waking Rachel up from a two-week long induced coma to see how she responds. Please, do all that you can, and keep her in your thoughts and prayers. Your Good deed for Rachel will certainly strengthen the family’s case in Heaven. G-d listens!

JI Thanksgivukkah - " Scream and shout " by Buba Myses PARODY


Wednesday, November 13, 2013


This past summer, the band KINDERLACH released their third solo album entitled Kinderlach 3: Make It Happen with a unique one of a kind live show the likes of which has never before seen in Israel today. A number of artists from across the country and the globe came together to participate in the project for this album release live event. The group performed a number of duets with renowned composer Yossi Green who came from New York for the show as well as others like Lipa Shmeltzer, Ohad Moskowitz, Yishai Lapidot, Ben Snuf, Yonatan Sheinfeld and Itzik Dadya with artists who came to honor Zvika Pick , Idan Yaniv , Regev Hod and the Ben Shabat twins. The highlight of the evening was when the band’s manager, David FADIDA, took the opportunity to aknowledge the families of Kinderlach with the Appreciation Ceremony “Generations and Star who have graduated and left the band. The musical production and arrangements for the eveing was produced by the talented duo Eli Klein and Yitzy Berry under the leadership of Gershon Freishtat, in the styling of David FADIDA and Juliet Aiglnik. The entire event was filmed and filmed in HD and now in time for Chanukah will be presented to you in a new DVD for the entire world to experience for themselves.

The Legacy of Maran Hacham Ovadia Yosef Stories, Anecdotes and Inspiration IS AT KESHER STAM

GET THIS ON SALE 20% OFF The sun has disappeared beyond the horizon and the sky has darkened... But the flame of Maran’s legacy still shines brightly. Hacham Ovadia Yosef a”h meant so many things to so many people. He was the universal leader of Sephardic Jewry, yet he remained humble enough to connect to the “man on the street.” He was known for his extraordinary knowledge and love of Torah, the study of which filled him with endless pleasure. His concern for every Jew and his boundless ahavat Yisrael showed in everything he did… He succeeded in his noble mission of “lehachzir atarah l’yoshnah” with the goal of restoring Sephardic pride and historic fame, in Israel and throughout the world. He reached out to unaffiliated Jews of all types, yet he battled unflinchingly against those who sought to alter or destroy authentic Judaism. He was the ultimate halachic authority and the unquestioned scholar on Sephardic Jewish law. In his position as Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel, he served as an ambassador of Torah Judaism to the world at large. An accurate portrayal of the legacy of Maran a”h would fill volumes. In this book, noted authors Yehuda Azoulay and Rabbi Haim Shimon Ravia (Melech B’yofyo) have collected hundreds of stories and anecdotes that illustrate many of the ideals that Hacham Ovadia represented. Just as “a picture is worth a thousand words,” so too, a good story can be worth a hundred eulogies. This is a book that will inspire young and old, and belongs in every Jewish home. LOOK FOR THE FORTHCOMING EXTENSIVE BIOGRAPHY “MARAN: THE LIFE & SCHOLARSHIP OF HACHAM OVADIA YOSEF” BY YEHUDA AZOULAY (ISRAELBOOKSHOP)


Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach (1925–1994) is considered the most influential composer of Jewish religious music of the 20th century and a progenitor of the modern neo-Hasidic renaissance. To date, there has been no systematic study of his life and very little scholarly analysis of his teachings, innovations, and music. This book examines Shlomo’s life and career via the prism of the historical and cultural developments of his time, including the Holocaust, the Six-Day War, the hippie phenomenon, the New Age movement, and other events that were channeling the course of Jewish life. It also attempts to understand the roots of the Carlebach phenomenon and its wide-range appeal. Above all, this book provides a new framework to evaluate and appreciate the unique form of heartfelt Judaism, joyful optimism, and soulful rejuvenation that Reb Shlomo inspired.(URIM)

Derashot Ledorot: Genesis A Commentary for the Ages By: Norman Lamm

Derashot Ledorot: Genesis, A Commentary for the Ages is a selection of essays on the book of Genesis based on sermons given by Rabbi Norman Lamm during the years 1952 and 1976, while he served as a synagogue rabbi. These essays, culled from the files of the Lamm Archives of Yeshiva University, feature reflections on the weekly parasha, brilliantly illustrating Rabbi Lamm’s masterful pedagogy, deep intellectual rigor, and staunch commitment to the word of God. Today, almost half a century later, these essays remain as relevant and inspiring as ever. With foreword written by Meir Y. Soloveichik.(FROM KOREN) CLICK HERE TO BUY ON AMAZON. CLICK HERE FOR NACHUM SEGAL BY THE BOOK INTERVIEW FOR DERASHOT LEDOROT SHEMOS COMING SOON.

BAIS HAVAAD ON THE PARSHA 5774 Parshas Vayeitzei- Ma'aser and It's Reward

The Rambam (Hilchos Melachim, 9:1) writes that Avraham Avinu was commanded to perform the mitzvah of Bris Miloh, whereas Yitzchak Avinu instituted the practice of Ma'aser[U1] , tithes. The Ra'avad questions these words of the Rambam, pointing to the fact that it appears that Avraham, and not Yitzchak, was the first to separate tithes, as it says in Parshas Lech Lecha, "And he [Avraham] gave him [Malki Zedek] a tenth of everything" (Bereishis, 14:20). Kesef Mishneh answers that Avraham did not give a tenth of everything he owned to Malki Zedek, but rather, he gave only from the spoils of the war that had just taken place. As such, it wasn't Ma'aser, it was simply a gift to honor Malik Zedek. It was Yitzchak who separated a tenth of all the produce that he grew, which is, indeed, the mitzvah of maaser. (The Raavad presumably understands the verse like Rashi, who seems to say that the phrase "a tenth of everything" implies that Avraham actually gave Malki Zedek a tenth of all that he possessed, and not only of the spoils of war. Until now, Avraham had not yet tithed his possessions, possibly because this was the first time that he met Malki Zedek, as implied in Medrash Tehillim, 37). The Radvaz, however, answers the Rambam in a different way. He notes that the mitzvah of Ma'aser is limited to tithing produce that grows, specifically grain, wine and oil, and this is what Yitzchak instituted. Avraham, however, gave a tenth of the spoils of war, which were not grain or produce items. This is known as Ma'aser Kesafim, tithing one's financial earnings and profits. The Chasam Sofer adds that many authorities hold that Maaser Kesafim is not mandated by the Torah, but rather, it is a rabbinical enactment. As such, the Rambam did not mention it here as he was discussing only mitzvos that are mandated by the Torah itself. There is another Medrash, however, quoted by Daas Zekenim, that teaches that Yaakov was in fact the one who instituted Ma'aser Kesafim. This is because we find in this week's Parsha, Vayeitzei, that Yaakov vowed that if Hashem would provide for his basic needs and return him safely to his parents' home, he would tithe one tenth of his possessions for Hashem. According to this approach, Avraham gave a tithe from the spoils of war, Yitzchak instituted tithing agricultural produce, and Yaakov instituted tithing all of one's earnings.(audio here) PRINT VERSION CLICK HERE.

THE BAIS HAVAAD'S PARSHA PERSPECTIVES Parshas Vayeitzei:All for the Boss By Rabbi Yaakov Ringel

Yaakov Avinu, having endured twenty years of ill-treatment and trickery at the hands of his uncle and father-in-law, Lavan, finally feels that the time has come to air his grievances. In contrasting Lavan’s behavior with his own, Yaakov declares to Lavan, “These twenty years that I have been with you, your ewes and she-goats never miscarried, nor did I eat rams of your flock. That which was mangled I never brought to you- I myself bore the loss, from me you would exact it, whether it was stolen by day or by night. This is how I was: By day scorching heat consumed me, and frost by night; my sleep drifted from my eyes….” (Breishis 31:38-40) In examining Yaakov’s behavior, as described in the above passage, one might conclude that this is yet another example of our forefathers acting in a manner way beyond the normal requirements of halacha. After all, there are many examples in these parshayos of the Avos acting on an almost super-human level.

Light in Dark Times By Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

What is it that made Jacob—not Abraham or Isaac or Moses—the true father of the Jewish people? We are the “congregation of Jacob,” “the children of Israel.” Jacob/Israel is the man whose name we bear. Yet Jacob did not begin the Jewish journey; Abraham did. Jacob faced no trial like that of Isaac at the binding. He did not lead the people out of Egypt, or bring them the Torah. To be sure, all his children stayed within the faith, unlike Abraham or Isaac. But that simply pushes the question back one level. Why did he succeed where Abraham and Isaac failed?

Laban the Anti-Semite By Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

“Go and learn what Laban the Aramean sought to do to our father Jacob. A Pharaoh made his decree only about the males whereas Laban sought to destroy everything.” This passage from the Haggadah on Passover—evidently based on this week’s Torah portion—is extraordinarily difficult to understand.


Our father Yaakov leaves his home, he who is accustomed to study, tranquility, and to “dwelling in tents,” and immediately finds himself alone and endangered in a hostile world. A rock is his pillow and he must erect barriers at night to protect himself from wild animals (both four and two footed) as he sleeps on the ground. Though he is reassured by Heaven and by his grand dream and vision it is clear to him that his future is still uncertain and fraught with dangers, peril and challenges. When he finally arrives close to his destination he encounters the neighbors and daughters of Lavan who are unable to water their flocks because of the great rock that seals the opening to the well of water. The Torah then describes for us in great detail how Yaakov greets the people and the family of Lavan and in a selfless gesture of help and compassion to others - who he has just met - singlehandedly removes the rock from the mouth of the well. It is interesting to note that the Torah lavishes a great deal of space and detail to this incident at the well while the Torah tells us nothing about the fourteen years of Yaakov’s life that passed between his leaving home and arriving at the house of Lavan. Rashi, quoting Midrash, tells us that Yaakov spent these fourteen years in spiritual study and personal growth at the yeshiva academy of Shem and Ever. So, if this is in fact the case, why does the Torah not tell us of this great feat of spiritual challenge and self-improvement – fourteen years of sleepless study - while it does seem to go into mystifying detail regarding the incident at the well of water?


he prophet bemoans that Jerusalem lacks people who are interested and inquire after her welfare. In a general sense that is the case regarding the State of Israel and Jerusalem today. There is a lot of interest in the world today regarding the Palestinians and their cause, of ending the existence of the Jewish state, one way or another.