Vayishlach 5769-2008

"What's in a Name?"

First an angel informs Jacob that his name has been changed to Yisrael, then the Al-mighty Himself formally announces the name change. Why is Abraham's name change permanent, while Jacob's is not?

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Vayeishev 5767-2006

"What's in a Name?"

Parashat Vayeishev contains the extraordinary story of Joseph and his brethren. At perhaps the most dramatic moment, the story suddenly pauses. A new saga of Judah's falling-out with his family is told. This saga is communicated not only by the words of the text, but also by a careful analysis of the names of Judah's sons, which have much to reveal to us.

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Shelach 5762-2002

"What's in a Name?"

Unexpectedly, the Torah spells out the names of each of the twelve leaders who were sent to represent their tribes and scout out the land of Israel. However, when we compare the names of these individuals with the names of the princes who were selected in Numbers Chapter 1 to help Moses count the tribes, we see something rather startling. The names of the princes are far more complex, and contain many more symbolisms. They are substantial names for substantial people. The names of the scouts on the other hand are very short. The names of the princes have many references to G-d. The names of the scouts have few references to G-d. What is the message that the names communicate?

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