From a Sacred City to a Capital City (and back again?)

I was born two years prior to the Six-Day War when Jerusalem was still a divided city, with barbed wire and concrete walls separating the two sections. Jerusalem totally changed by the time I grew up. It became a city without borders, an exciting and fascinating place, whose spaces were accessible to everyone. One could experience the city on a personal, one to one basis. My urban encounter spanned the entire city…

Rosh Hashanah: Creation of the World and Creation of Mankind

Of the midrashim that describe the creation of the world, one stands out that is short and puzzling. Breishit Raba 3:7 refers to God as the “Creator and Destroyer of Worlds.” This implies that our world is not the first that God created; there were earlier ones He created and destroyed. There is no answer given to the obvious question of why. Different explanations, sometimes contradictory, are offered elsewhere in Jewish philosophy and mysticism. The common premise underlying most of these is that creation and destruction are not dependent entirely on God’s Will.

The Song of Songs and Tu B’Av Love Festivities

Of the festivals and special days that we mark during the year, the 15th of Av has, in recent years, become known as the Holiday of Love. This Hebrew date belongs to lovers. Many a bride and groom seek to hold their wedding on this date, and married couples celebrate it with romance. What is the source of Tu B’av as a holiday of love, and what is its connection to the Song of Songs?

The “House of Jacob” at Sinai and in Our Day

“Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob and declare to the children of Israel (Exodus 19:3).” This verse precedes the description of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. The sages, in their commentary on the verse, explain that the “house of Jacob” refers to the women, while the phrase “children of Israel” refers to the men. Thus they emphasize that the Torah was given to both women and men, to those present at Mount Sinai, as well as to all the future generations of men and women.

Memorial Day for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers

Brothers and sisters of sorrow and pain! With a bowed head and in trembling before the Almighty, we gathered together Sunday evening, April 25 th , to recall and remember our sons and daughters, soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, who fell in the line of duty, defending Israel in her wars, and to recall and remember our brothers and sisters murdered by evil-doers for being Jews loyal to the land of their Forefathers…