When is a Coat More Than Just a Coat? Dr. Tamar Kadari on Parshat Vayeishev


Jacob is blessed with many children but is it too much of a good thing?  Using an example of the midrashic technique of notarikon – rearranging or deriving meaning from the individual letters of a word – Tamar Kadari, Senior Lecturer in Midrash, teaches how Joseph’s famous (technicolor dream) coat ended up becoming a source of division in his family.

Does Love Always Have a Happy Ending? Eitan Cooper on Abraham and Isaac in Parshat Vayera


In this week’s Torah portion, Vayera, it is many years later. Abraham and Sarah live in Hebron, about 40 miles South of Jerusalem, when he is called with the same words “Lech Lecha”, but this time he is told exactly where he is going and why – to the Land of Moriah, the same spot where the Temple and Dome of the Rock would later be built, to sacrifice his son Isaac. The journey that began years earlier for Abraham’s benefit is ominously transformed, and the extra, emphatic word, “Lecha” has a different meaning. Abraham is told to look into himself in order to summon the strength for this final test.  

Blessing and Atonement: Blessings, Honoring Parents, Atonement and Closeness


If we stop a moment to think back and ask ourselves how our Jewish identity has been formed by our individual experience, what has influenced us to keep the tradition of our ancestors, and in rare cases to join the Jewish people in order to become part of its national and religious life – in most cases, we probably will recall childhood memories of our parents, who guided us to continue in their way of life. We each have our own childhood memory, distant or recent.

When Should Baby Girls Be Named?


This article began as a Hebrew responsum written on Rosh Hodesh Marheshvan 5763. I then lectured on the topic at the Sixth International Conference on Jewish Names at Bar Ilan University on June 11, 2003. The complete article appeared in Hebrew in Studies in Memory of Prof. Zev Falk , Jerusalem, 2005, pp. 27-38 which can be ordered from Magnes Press at www.magnespress.co.il . This English summary contains a few selected notes; lengthy footnotes can be found in the Hebrew article.