Cohen, Katz, Kagen

Meet a man named Cohen and it is fair to assume that he is a descendant of the priestly tribe, going all the way back to Aharon the High Priest. We all know that there are distinctly…

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Simeon, the Son of Jacob

Leah named her second son Simeon* (ben Jacob), saying “Because God has heard that I am unloved, He has given me this one also.” Simeon, a zealous youth, often reacted quickly and…

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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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Joseph, Son of Jacob

The story of Jacob’s eleventh son is a tale of epic proportion. The firstborn of Rachel, Joseph was his father’s favorite child, and Jacob never hesitated to display his feelings of…

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Simeon, the Son of Jacob

Leah named her second son Simeon (ben Jacob), saying “Because God has heard that I am unloved, He has given me this one also.” Simeon, a “hot-blooded youth,” often reacted quickly and…

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Joseph, Son of Jacob

The story of Jacob’s eleventh son is a tale of epic proportion. The firstborn of Rachel, Joseph was his father’s favorite child, and Jacob never hesitated to display his feelings of…

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Benjamin, The Son of Jacob

The youngest of twelve brothers and one sister, Benjamin, the son of Jacob, appears in the Biblical narrative to be a passive personality whose life is seemingly dictated by the fate of…

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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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Vayishlach 5776-2015

“Jacob Tarries in Succot” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Vayishlach, Jacob sends messengers ahead of him to Esau, his brother, to the land of Seir to…

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Vayeitzei 5770-2009

"Punishment Awaits the Evildoers" by Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald In this week's parasha, parashat Vayeitzei, we read of the deception of Jacob by his father-in-law, Laban. Jacob, of course,…

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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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Zebulun, Son of Jacob

Throughout her life, Leah suffered from the terrible insecurity of knowing that her husband loved her sister Rachel more than he loved her. Each time she bore a child, the statement she…

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Vayishlach 5769-2008

"What's in a Name?" by Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald Parashat Vayishlach seems to be a virtual endurance test for poor Jacob. In this parasha, Jacob at last encounters his brother Esau who has…

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Speech of Jacob Henry

Though I will not conceal the surprise I felt, that the gentleman should have thought proper yesterday to have moved my expulsion from this house, on the alleged grounds that I…

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Vayeitzei 5769-2008

"Leah, the Fourth Matriarch" by Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald In parashat Vayeitzei, Jacob leaves Beersheba, fleeing from his brother Esau who threatened to murder him. Upon his arrival at the…

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