Devarim 5780-2020

Eichah, The Annual Search for Meaning and Introspection”
(updated and revised from Parashat Devarim 5761-2001)

In order for the Fast of the 9th of Av to be meaningful, it is necessary to focus on the fast’s proper message. Eichah and Ah’yeka are two of the prominent themes of Tisha b’Av. G-d asks the Jews: “Where are you? What have you done with your lives? How could this tragedy have possibly happened?” We, of course, need to ask, how can we improve ourselves?

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Devarim-Tisha B’Av 5767-2007

"Zion Shall be Redeemed through Justice"

The prophet Isaiah states that Zion will be redeemed through justice. It is no accident therefore that the Torah portion read before Tisha Ba'Av, the fast of the 9th of Av, opens with an exhortation about honesty in judgment. The establishment of the Sanhedrin, the High Court of Jewish law, is meant to serve as a paradigm of justice, leading to the rebuilding of Jerusalem, soon in our days.

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0 Comments11 Minutes

Devarim-Tisha B’Av 5766-2006

"Isaiah's Message to Contemporary Jews"

The powerful message found in the first chapter of Isaiah is entirely appropriate for the Tisha B'Av period. The prophet exhorts the Jewish people to take the performance of their ritual mitzvot more seriously, to invest deeper meaning in their religious observance, and to enrich these spiritual practices with greater sincerity and passion.

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Va’etchanan 5763-2003

"Why the Sh'ma?"

The Sh'ma prayer is the central prayer that speaks of the acceptance of the dominion of G-d upon us. Two major questions come immediately to mind. Why do our rabbis speak of this text, calling it the acceptance of the "yoke of heaven," a phrase that is rather intimidating and seemingly overbearing? Another major question that is bothersome is the nature of the first line of the Shema. Why are we told to "love" the L-rd, with all our hearts, soul, and might? Shouldn't we be told to "believe" in the L-rd, our G-d, with all our heart, souls, and might?

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Devarim-Tisha B’Av 5762-2002

"Judging our People Favorably"

The powerful words of Isaiah in this week's Haftorah resound today with surprising relevance, as if they were pronounced only yesterday. Despite Isaiah's harsh assessment of the people, we, like the prophet of old, need to look upon the people of Israel and judge them favorably. After all, contemporary Jews face similar challenges to those of the ancients and need to be judged favorably as well.

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0 Comments7 Minutes

Devarim-Tisha B’Av 5761-2001

"Eichah, The Annual Search for Meaning and Introspection"

In order for the Fast of the 9th of Av to be meaningful, it is necessary for us to focus on the proper message. Eichah and Ah'yeka are two of the prominent themes of Tisha Ba'Av. G-d asks the Jews: Where are you? What have you done with your lives? How can this tragedy have possibly happened? How can we improve ourselves?

Read More


0 Comments6 Minutes