Parasha Insights


Life is full of loneliness, misery, and suffering, and it's all over much too soon. —Woody Allen

In one of the most dramatic and mysterious biblical tales, the Torah in this week’s portion Vayishlach presents an unforgettable moment when: "Jacob remained alone and a man/angel wrestled with him until the break of dawn.”

"When he perceived that he could not defeat him," "he struck the socket of his [Jacob's] hip." Jacob, however, prevailed, and as a result of his victory, all of Jacobs's descendants were given the new name of Israel. Israel means to struggle or contend with, "For you have struggled with the divine and with man and you have triumphed.”

Our imagination is captured i… Read More »

How Do You Know What does G-d want?

An older man had serious hearing problems for many years. He went to the doctor and the doctor was able to have him fitted for a set of hearing aids that allowed the man to hear 100%.

The old man went back in a month to the doctor and the doctor said, “Your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again.”

The man replied, “Oh, I haven’t told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to their conversations. I’ve changed my Will six times!”

In this week’s portion, the twelve tribes of Israel are born. After birth, each of the children is given a name by his mother, coupled with the meaning of the name.

I will focus today on one very interesting name given to… Read More »


Mark Twain quipped: “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.


The opening words of this week’s portion, Toldot, are strangely enigmatic:


And these are the chronicles of Isaac the son of Abraham; Abraham fathered Isaac.


Many dwell on the repetitious phrasing of this verse: if “the son of Abraham,” what is added by informing us that “Abraham fathered Isaac”?


The question becomes more striking, when we compare this verse to the Torah’s description, just a few verses earlier, of Abraham and his other son, Ishmael.

Read More »
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