Vayeitzei 5763-2002

"The Transformation of Jacob" by Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald This week's Torah portion, parashat Vayeitzei, continues the fascinating story of the patriarchal family of Isaac and the saga of…

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Toledot 5772-2011

“Isaac Blesses His Sons” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Toledot, we learn how Isaac’s intentions to bless Esau are thwarted by the deceptive actions of…

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Abraham’s Other Sons

Quick quiz: Who were Abraham’s sons? Most people probably answered Isaac, and, of course, they are correct. Others might have said Ishmael, and they are also right. Few people, however,…

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Wayward Sons

While the Biblical canon has many stories of redemption and miracles, it also records narratives that demonstrate the true struggles of real people.  Real people know of the commonly…

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Respect of the Sons

In the twenty-first century, rebelling against one’s family is all-too-often presented as a right of passage, a natural part of growing up and as a means of declaring one’s independence.…

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Moses’ Sons

The inherent desire to have one’s legacy last into the future is, most likely, the root of the laws of primogeniture (the special inheritance of the firstborn son). And while the laws…

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Hannah and Her Sons

The story of Hannah and her seven sons is a story of the Jewish resistance to Antiochus' attempts to Hellenize the Jewish people around 166 B.C.E. When Antiochus demanded that Hannah's…

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Hannah and Her Sons

The story of Hannah and her seven sons is a story of the Jewish resistance to Antiochus' attempts to Hellenize the Jewish people around 166 B.C.E.When Antiochus demanded that Hannah's…

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Hannah and Her Sons

The story of Hannah and her seven sons is the story of the Jewish resistance to Antiochus' attempts to Hellenize the Jewish people around 166 B.C.E. When Antiochus demanded that Hannah's…

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Hannah and Her Sons

The story of Hannah and her seven sons is the story of the Jewish resistance to Antiochus' attempts to Hellenize the Jewish people around 166 B.C.E. When Antiochus demanded that Hannah's…

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Hannah and Her Sons

The story of Hannah and her seven sons is the story of the Jewish resistance to Antiochus’ attempts to Hellenize the Jewish people around 175 B.C.E. When Antiochus demanded that Hannah’s…

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Naphtali, Son of Jacob

After four years of marriage and desperate to have a child, Rachel gave her handmaid, Bilhah, to her husband Jacob to be an additional wife and to bear children in her name. Any children…

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Naphtali, Son of Jacob

After four years of marriage and desperate to have a child, Rachel gave her handmaid, Bilhah, to her husband Jacob to be an additional wife and to bear children in her name. Any children…

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Vayechi 5776-2015

“Jacob Maintains a Bitter Grudge Against Simeon and Levi” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Vayechi, Jacob blesses his twelve sons prior to his death. Even…

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Judah, Son of Jacob

When Judah, the fourth son of Leah and Jacob, was born, Leah said, “This time let me gratefully praise God” (based on the Hebrew infinitive, l’hodot, “to praise”). Judah first…

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Judah, Son of Jacob

When Judah, the fourth son of Leah and Jacob, was born, Leah said, “This time let me gratefully praise God” (based on the Hebrew infinitive, l’hodot, “to praise”). Judah first…

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Judah, Son of Jacob

When Judah, the fourth son of Leah and Jacob, was born, Leah said, “This time let me gratefully praise God” (based on the Hebrew infinitive, l’hodot, “to praise”). Judah first…

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Written for Their Sons

Imagine traveling forward 500 years in time and discovering multitudes of people studying something you had written for your child. Imagine walking into a bookstore and finding multiple…

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Written for Their Sons

Imagine traveling forward 500 years in time and discovering multitudes of people studying something you had written for your child. Imagine walking into a bookstore and finding multiple…

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Issachar, Son of Jacob

Before his death, Jacob gathered his sons to him and gave them each a blessing that specifically reflected their personalities and their futures. To Issachar, Leah’s fifth son, Jacob…

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Levi, Son of Jacob

When Levi was born, less than a year after Simeon, Leah was still struggling to win the affections of Jacob. She named her third son Levi, saying, “This time my husband will become…

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Reuben, Son of Jacob

Our forefather Jacob’s departing words to his firstborn son were: “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my strength and my initial vigor, foremost in rank and foremost in power. Water-like…

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Gad, the Son of Jacob

The patriarch Jacob loved his wife Rachel, but it was his wife Leah who initially made him a father (since Rachel was unable to conceive for many years). When Rachel presented her…

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Vayeitzei 5774-2013

"Jacob Separates from Laban" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This coming week’s parasha, parashat Vayeitzei, recounts the trials and experiences of Jacob during the twenty years that he…

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Asher, Son of Jacob

Asher was the second son born to Zilpah, Jacob's wife, the former handmaid of Leah. The ninth son in the household (after Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Dan, Naphtali and Gad), he…

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Dinah, The Daughter of Jacob

Dinah, the seventh and youngest child of Leah and Jacob, was born the same year as her half-brother Joseph. In fact, the Talmud (Brachot 60a) notes that Leah specifically prayed that…

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Dinah, The Daughter of Jacob

Dinah, the seventh and youngest child of Leah and Jacob, was born the same year as her half-brother Joseph. In fact, the Talmud (Brachot 60a) notes that Leah specifically prayed that the…

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Reuben, Son of Jacob

Our forefather Jacob’s departing words to his firstborn son were: “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my strength and my initial vigor, foremost in rank and foremost in power. Water-like…

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Dan, Son of Jacob

Rachel had Jacob’s heart, Leah had his children. For four long years, Rachel watched her sister give birth to son after son until she could bear it no longer. Frustrated but determined,…

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Reuben, Son of Jacob

Our forefather Jacob’s departing words to his firstborn son were: “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my strength and my initial vigor, foremost in rank and foremost in power. Water-like…

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