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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Kee Teitzei 5777-2017

“Lessons from the Wayward Son” by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Kee Teitzei, we learn of the law of the “Ben soh’rayr oo’moh’reh,”  בֵּן סוֹרֵר וּמוֹרֶה ,…

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Kee Teitzei 5769-2009

"Ben Sorer U'Moreh--The Rebellious Son" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week's parasha, parashat Kee Teitzei, we read of the unusual case of the "Ben Sorer U'moreh," the disobedient…

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Her Son Hur, His Grandson, and His Actions!

On the 15th of Tammuz, we observe the yahrzeit (anniversary of the day of death) of Hur, a relatively unsung hero from Biblical times, who was the first Jew to die al Kiddush Hashem,…

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Isaac, Son of Abraham

Born to aged parents (Sarah was 90, Abraham was 100), Isaac was Abraham’s sole heir. This meant more than inheriting his wealth, it meant becoming the leading advocate of monotheism.…

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Kee Teitzei 5763-2003

"The Torah's Radical Approach to Child Rearing" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this coming week's parasha, parashat Kee Teizei, we learn of a seemingly horrific Torah law, the statute of…

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Shelach 5762-2002

"What's in a Name?" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this coming week's Torah portion, parashat Shelach, the Torah tells of the twelve men who were sent to scout the land of Canaan, and…

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To Jew and Jew and Jew

Judaism is both a religion and a nationality. The Talmud teaches us (Shavuot 39a) “Kol Yisrael areivim zeh bazeh,” that all Jews are responsible (literally “guarantors”) for one another.…

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Wish both Jews and Non-Jews a Happy and Successful Jewish New Year

On Rosh Hashana we celebrate the creation of the first human being. While only Jews celebrate Rosh Hashana, it is an important anniversary for all humankind.

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Pinchas 5768-2008

"The Zealotry of Pinchas as Seen Through the Midrash" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald Last week's parasha, parashat Balak, closed with the story of Pinchas' zealotry. As we read in that…

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Vayishlach 5768-2007

"The Birth of Benjamin, The Death of Rachel" by Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald In this week's parasha, parashat Vayishlach, we read of an occasion that should have been a most joyous event in…

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