Letter from Israel

by in General, Vayishlach .

Almost exactly 24 years ago, a friend was driving my father z”l to the Los Angeles airport as he used to do regularly at the end of my father’s weekly trips. This was to be their last ride together. My father suffered a sudden heart attack only a day later and passed away. This ride was significant in other ways. My father made a comment in the car that was unusual for him and quite out of context. He told my friend that we would lose Israel for a very brief time before Mashiach came. I couldn’t understand or even relate to this comment at the time. Although 1991 was a turbulent year in the..

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"The Wisdom of Seduction" - To provide the naive with slyness (Vayishlach 5775)

by in Vayishlach .

לתת לפתאים ערמה (משלי א׳ ד׳)   To provide the naive with slyness Vayishlach 5775 © Rabbi David Lapin, 2014 What the Midrash Means Series - 1:8 ____________________________ Context On his journey home, Yaacov gets news that his twin brother Eisav has set out to meet him with a large and aggressive army. Yaacov fears that despite G-d’s promise of protection in the previous parsha, he might not have lived up to G-d’s expectations while he was living with Lavan, and the promise may therefore not be valid any more. In addition to praying for his and his large family’s safety, ..

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Parshat Vayishlach 5769: That, is Family!

by in Vayishlach .

      This essay was written on my Father Avi Mori Reb Ahraham Chaim ben R. Dov  Ztz’l’s 17th Yahrzheit, 12th Kislev, le’ilui nishmosso venishmas Imi Morassi Marras Maiiia bas R.Dovid Haleivi. It is dedicated to their blessed memory. What is Family? The blood relationship between members of a family defines whofamily is but not what family is.  Two sons of the same parents are brothers, two daughters are sisters; two people descended from the same grandparents but not the same parents are cousins. But what does it mean to be a..

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Parshat Vayishlach 5766: On Journeys And Angels

by in Vayishlach .

    The Three Steps to Successful Traveling I travel a lot, as I am sure many of you do. The geographical journeys have been the easiest ones. This applies to the transcontinental ones too, such as my current journey from California, through Europe, South Africa and Australia before returning to California. The harder journeys have been the intellectual, emotional and spiritual ones, and their destinations by far the most exciting and rewarding. On these journeys you are your own pilot; yet often you do not choose your destination. Life is your vehicle; but you cannot cont..

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Parshiot Toldot, Vayeitzei, Vayishlach 5770: The Unique Character of Israel

by in Toldot, Vayetze, Vayishlach .

Nature vs. Nurture….or neither?   Who is this man Ya'acov, later renamed Israel a name we see in almost every newspaper and newscast almost every day? His story begins with a mother perplexed by the almost schizophrenic nature of her fetus that is equally stimulated by the energy of divine sanctity and the negative force of idolatry.  According to some, she knew she had twins, in which case she must have thought of the possibility that each child is stimulated by a different force, one by kedusha, the other by avodah zara (idolatry). Why is she so perpl..

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