Parasha Insights


Before heading into battle, Master Sgt. Elkana Vizel, 35, penned a letter for his loved ones. At his funeral this week, his widow read the letter.

The father of four young children, Rabbi Elkana Vizel was among 21 reservists killed last Monday night in Northern Gaza.

Despite sustaining injuries in Operation Protective Edge and having the choice to stay out of combat service, Elkana opted to enlist in the reserves, dedicating himself to defending his people. In his heartfelt letter to his loved ones, he expressed unwavering conviction in his decision to return to the front lines. Here is what he wrote:

If you are reading these words, something must have happened to me. If I was kidnapped, I demand that no deal be made for the release of a… Read More »


Why is it that of all the religious groups in Israel, Chabad seems to be the most accepted by the non-religious?

The Rebbe is revered by all Jews, and Chabadniks seem to reach everywhere. What is unique about them?

There was a very sharp thinker who lived in 19th-century Poland called Rabbi Mendel of Kotzk. Among his profound witticisms was the following pearl.

If you are religious, you are wicked.

If you're intelligent, you're a heretic.

If you're kind, you're a fool.

But if you're all three, now that's a good person.

This pithy little riddle summarizes the highest ideals of Judaism and warns of the pitfalls that lurk on the path of those who try to discover the truth.

Being religious, being a thinker,… Read More »

Are you a prince or a peasant?

When President Dwight Eisenhower met with Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, the American president said: “It is very hard to be the president of 170 million people.” Ben-Gurion responded: “It’s harder to be the prime minister of 2 million prime ministers.”

It is one of the great questions about the most impactful Jewish teacher. Why did Providence have it that our first and greatest leader be raised among non-Jews, and even worse, in the home of their archenemy, Pharaoh? “It takes a village to raise a child,” the old saying goes. No man is an island. We all grow up within a community and are molded by our environment. Nurture, not only nature, craft our identities.

It certainly “takes… Read More »


An old German man was feeling guilty about something he had done, so he decided to go to Confession. He said, "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. I feel terrible because during World War II, I hid a Jew in my attic."  

The priest said, "But that's not a sin! I wouldn't feel bad about that if I were you." "But I made him agree to pay me 50 Marks for every week he stayed."

The priest said, "Well, I admit that it wasn't the noblest thing to do, charging the man to save his life, but you did save his life, after all, and that is a good thing. Don't worry about it too much; G-d forgives."

The man said, "Oh thank you, Father, that eases my mind. I have only one more question to ask … Read More »

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