The Joy of Judaism

“Bring great joy to these loving companions as you gave joy to your creations in the Garden of Eden in times gone by”. (From the Sheva Berachot) Why are a bride and groom compared, while under the Chupa, to Adam and Eve in Paradise? The opening words of this sixth blessing of the Sheva Berachot […]

The commencement of today’s Sidra does not appear to make much sense.  We open with the words, “These are the generations of Noah”.  After other similar subject headings in the Torah, the names of descendants follow immediately.  But, not here.  Instead, the Torah goes on to tell us “Noah was a righteous man; he was […]

After instructing Abraham and Sarah to embark on their momentous pilgrimage (Lech Lecha) from Haran, Hashem promised seven significant blessings: I will make you into a great nation;   I will bless you; I will make your name great; you shall be a blessing; I will bless those who bless you; I will curse those who […]

In today’s Sidra we read how Hashem appeared to Abraham after his Brit. To this day we recall “the covenant of Abraham our father” at a Brit ceremony. The mohel, in his blessing, says “…al hamilah” (upon the performance of circumcision), while the father says “…lehachniso bivrito shel Avraham Avinu” (to bring the baby into […]

The details of Eliezer’s search for a suitable wife for Isaac are presented in Bereishit 24, one of the longest chapters in the Bible, with 67 verses. The length of this passage suggests that sometimes the search for a suitable spouse can be a long and difficult task. Eliezer’s well-side challenge was a test of […]

In Parshat Toldot we read how Esau came in from the field to find Jacob preparing a pot of lentils. The Midrash tells us that Abraham had just died and Jacob had made the stew with the mourners in mind. Rashi explains that just as lentils are closed, so, too, a mourner finds it difficult […]

“And they were for him like but a few days on account of his love for her” (Bereishit 29:18). This is one of the most romantic reflections in the Torah! Jacob was to marry Rachel in return for seven years of labour. In his eyes, they became “like but a few days” on account of […]

Parshat Vayishlach records the expectation that the children of Jacob had that the men of Shechem would all have a Brit Milah in order to become part of our Nation. There is a fascinating Mishnah (Masechet Succah 28a), which highlights for us the spirit in which a baby should be prepared for his Brit. Our […]

Fidelity and modesty produce long term joy for many  Parshat Vayeshev presents the epic drama of Potiphar’s wife’s attempt to seduce Joseph.  The passage intriguingly mentions the word vayanos (and he fled) on no less than four occasions, highlighting Joseph’s steadfastness in refusing her advances (Bereishit 39). Psalm 114, well-known to us from Hallel, describes […]

Both on Chanukah and Purim we take up playful items in our hands.  On Chanukah it is a dreidel, while on Purim we use a gragger. What is the difference between the two?  With a dreidel you spin at the top in order to cause the bottom to rotate.  With a gragger, you wave it […]

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