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What Is The Secret Of His Immortality?

All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality? So wrote Mark Twain concerning the Jews. At the dawn of our history the gentile prophet Balaam offers a most profound insight. He is brought to the hills overlooking the Jewish camp in order to inflict damage by being critical of it. Instead he finds himself being hugely complimentary. As he gazes down on the Jewish people he realizes that ordinary prose will not suffice to describe them. He asks the same question which historians and poets have asked for millennia: What is the secret of its immortality? Instead he resorts to using a parable: “From its origin, I see it r

Why Do People Become Angry?

Our sages castigate one who becomes angry in a most severe way. In the words of the mystics, “Whoever gets angry is as if he worshiped idols”. In this week’s Torah portion we read about the famous episode where Moses hit the rock instead of just speaking to it as they were instructed by G-d. Indeed it was because of this incident that G-d prohibits them to enter the land of Israel. Maimonides explains the severity of the punishment was because Moses become angry. Psychologists explain that at the heart of anger lies a profound sense of a perceived or real injustice that is perpetrated against us. It is not the pain inflicted upon us that makes us upset. It is the fact that what has happe

Discovering Clarity in a World of Confusion and Uncertainty

How safe do you feel in the current climate? Are you afraid of the future? What type of world do you think our children will inhabit? There’s no doubt that a cloud of uncertainty is descending upon us. Disruption, be it in the world of technology, politics or economics seems to be the new trend. Think of the profound psychological impact this is having on young people today. What are we, as responsible parents doing to help our children respond to these most challenging times ahead. A wise man once shared with me what his mentor had advised him as a young lawyer. He said “Never take on a case unless you have clear sight of the end game”. He explained, because no legal case ever goes


No recorded events in history have a single version. This is true especially of the protagonists. Each character sees the events from a particular vantage point resulting sometimes in very different narratives. The story of the spies in this week’s Torah reading is no different. There are two versions as to whose initiative it was to send the spies. In our Parshah it is clear that it was by divine command. As the verse states “G‑d spoke to Moses, saying: Send you men, that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel”. Whereas when Moses recounts these events 40 years later he makes it clear that it was in fact the Jewish People who initiated this.


Is it right to impose your values on your children? To what extent are parents responsible for the way their children behave? What if parents and children don’t see eye to eye? These questions are profoundly complex and emotionally charged. After all parents love their children more then anything else and as a result their intentions are almost always inspired by wanting what they think is in their children’s best interest. However there is one key ingredient which in many cases is overlooked. We find an allusion to this in our weekly Torah portion. In relaying G‑d’s command to kindle the Menorah the verse uses the words “When you raise up the lamps.” Rashi explains that this means the



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