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About the Author

Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen

Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen is a close student of Rabbi Yitzchak Berkovits and a senior member of the Jerusalem Kollel.  Rabbi Gefen’s has spent over 12 years of intensive Torah and Talmudic study at Aish HaTorah and the Jerusalem Kollel, and has a degree in history and politics from the University of Birmingham, UK. Rabbi Gefen has written numerous articles for Hamodia and other publications. His writing inspires people across the spectrum of Jewish observance to live with the vibrancy and beauty of Torah.

Rabbi Gefen has recently published his second book, A Light in Time, a compilation of essays on the Jewish festivals and life cycle. Rabbi Gefen’s successful first book, The Guiding Light, a compilation of essays on the weekly Torah portion.

Visit Rabbi Gefen's site at http://rabbiygefen.blogspot.com/

The Haggadah: The Instruction Manual of Gratitude

The Haggadah: The Instruction Manual of Gratitude

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There are numerous lessons that can be derived from the Hagaddah. One of them is brought out by Rav Noach Orlowek. He points out that the Hagaddah ...


The Value of the Tabernacle

The Value of the Tabernacle

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"These are the reckonings of the Tabernacle, the Tabernacle of Testimony, which was reckoned at Moses' bidding. The labor of the Levites was ...


Purim: Keeping Hope

Purim: Keeping Hope

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The Gemara tells us that the terrible decree to destroy the Jewish people was a punishment for their partaking of the banquet of Achashveirosh.(1) ...


Tu B'Shvat: Appreciating God's World

Tu B'Shvat: Appreciating God's World

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The first Mishna in the tractate Rosh Hashana informs us of various 'new years'. These are times of the year that are considered the beginning of ...


Pharaoh's Daughter: The Rebel

Pharaoh's Daughter: The Rebel

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One of the heroic figures who briefly appears in the Torah is Batya, the daughter of Pharaoh. Her only mention in the Torah is with regard to the ...


The Connection Between Shechem, Joseph, Zimri and Korach

The Connection Between Shechem, Joseph, Zimri and...

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Bereishis, 49:5-6: "Simeon and Levi are comrades; their weaponry is a stolen craft. Into their conspiracy may my soul not enter. With their ...


Judah – Taking Responsibility

Judah – Taking Responsibility

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The Torah Portion begins with the momentous confrontation between Judah and Joseph. Judah demonstrates his greatness by taking total responsibility ...


Spiritual Kindness

Spiritual Kindness

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Bereishis, 41:55: "When all the land of Egypt hungered, the people cried out to Pharaoh for bread. So Pharaoh said to all of Egypt, "Go to ...


Tamar and Potiphar's Wife: Making Good Intentions Last

Tamar and Potiphar's Wife: Making Good Intentions...

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In Vayeshev, the Torah juxtaposes two seemingly unconnected stories. The first is the incident between Judah and Tamar: (1) The Torah tells us that ...


Timna and Amalek:  The Rejects

Timna and Amalek: The Rejects

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The nation of Amalek is well-known as the epitome of evil and enmity towards the Jewish people. The Torah tells us that the Amalekites attacked us ...


Jacob - The Man of Truth

Jacob - The Man of Truth

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Jacob is known as being the pillar of Emet, truth, as it states in the Book of Micah, "give truth to Jacob." (1) We see this in this ...


The Source of Blessing

The Source of Blessing

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When famine strikes the Land of Israel, Isaac plans to go to Egypt. However, God instructs him to remain in Israel and go to the land of the ...


Ephron - Acting on Impulse

Ephron - Acting on Impulse

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In Chayei Sarah we are briefly introduced to the character known as Ephron. His sole 'merit' in being mentioned in the Torah is that he owned the ...


Yishmael: The Wrong Type of Chesed

Yishmael: The Wrong Type of Chesed

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A significant character in these Torah Portions is Ishmael, Abraham's eldest son. Understanding his personality can give us a deep understanding ...


Responding to Difficulty

Responding to Difficulty

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One of the supporting characters in the Torah portions of Lech Lecha and Vayeira is Hagar, Abraham's second wife: The persona of Hagar is somewhat ...


Never Give Up on Any Jew

Never Give Up on Any Jew

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Towards the end of Haazinu, Moses exhorts the people: “…Apply your hearts to all the words that I testify against you today, with which ...


All Jews Are Bound Up With Each Other

All Jews Are Bound Up With Each Other

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Devarim, 29:28: The hidden things are for Hashem, our God, but the revealed things are for us and for our children forever, to carry out all the ...


The Torah of the Levites

The Torah of the Levites

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Devarim, 29:1-3: Moshe summoned all of Israel and said to them, "You have seen everything that HaShem did before your eyes in the land of ...


The Coldness of Amalek

The Coldness of Amalek

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Devarim, 25:17: Remember what Amalek did to you on the way, when you were leaving Egypt. That he happened upon you on the way, and he killed among ...


The Value of Life

The Value of Life

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Devarim, 21:1: If a corpse will be found on the Land that Hashem your God, gives you to possess it, fallen in the field, it was not known who smote ...


Making the Effort

Making the Effort

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Devarim, 13:7-10: If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is like your ...


Using the Good Inclination for the Good

Using the Good Inclination for the Good

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Devarim, 6:5: "You shall love HaShem, your God, with all our heart, with all your soul, and with all your resources." Rashi, 6:5, sv. ...


Perfecting Our Perspective

Perfecting Our Perspective

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Bamidbar, 22:16-18: They came to Bilaam and said him, "So said Balak son of Tsipoor, 'Please do not refuse from coming to me. I will greatly ...


The Importance of Forgiveness

The Importance of Forgiveness

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Bamidbar, 21:4-7: They journeyed from Mount Hor by way of the Sea of Reeds to go around the land of Edom, and the spirit of the people grew short ...


The Sin of Korach's Assembly

The Sin of Korach's Assembly

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Bamidbar, 16:5-7: He [Moses] spoke to Korach and to his entire assembly, saying, 'In the morning, HaShem will make known who is His own and who is ...


Calev - A Different Spirit

Calev - A Different Spirit

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Of the 12 spies sent to explore the land of Israel, only Joshua and Calev remained loyal to the instructions that Moses gave them. The remaining ten ...


Raising Our Trust

Raising Our Trust

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Vayikra, 26:3: If you will follow My decrees and observe my Commandments and perform them. Vayikra, 26:12-13: I will walk among you, I will be God ...


The Added Importance of Keeping Kosher

The Added Importance of Keeping Kosher

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Vayikra, 11:44-45: "For I am HaShem your God - you shall sanctify yourselves and you will be holy, for I am holy; and you shall not contaminate ...


Parshas Zachor

Parshas Zachor

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Throughout history, many nations have tried to destroy the Jewish people. However, we are commanded to permanently remember the attack of only one ...


Effort vs. Results

Effort vs. Results

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Vayikra, 2:1: "When a soul (nefesh) offers a meal-offering to HaShem, his offering shall be of fine flour; he shall pour oil upon it and place ...


The Positive Aspect of the Churban

The Positive Aspect of the Churban

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Shemos, 38:22: These are the reckonings of the Mishkan, the Mishkan of Testimony, which were reckoned at Moshe's bidding... Rashi, Shemos, 38:22: ...


Atonement for the Sale of Joesph

Atonement for the Sale of Joesph

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"This shall they give - everyone who passes through the census - a half shekel of the sacred shekel, the shekel is 20 geras, half a shekel as a ...


Fulfilling Our Potential

Fulfilling Our Potential

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How to bring out your hidden talents.


Going Beyond the Boundaries

Going Beyond the Boundaries

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Shemos, 32:6: They arose early the next day and offered up elevation offerings and brought peace offerings. The people sat to eat and drink, and ...


Making the Effort

Making the Effort

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Shemos, 25:31: "You shall make a Menorah of pure gold, hammered out shall the Menorah be made…" Rashi, 25:31: sv. Shall the Menorah ...


Sanctifying God's Name

Sanctifying God's Name

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Shemot, 18:1: "Yitro, the priest of Midian, the father-in-law of Moses, heard everything that God did to Moses and to Israel, His people - that ...


Praying Out of Habit

Praying Out of Habit

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Shemos, 14:10-11: "Pharaoh approached; the Children of Israel raised their eyes and behold - Egypt was journeying after them, and they were ...


Pharaoh and Abraham

Pharaoh and Abraham

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Shemos, 12:29-30: "And it was at midnight that God smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh sitting on his ...


The True Test of Greatness

The True Test of Greatness

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Shemot, 6:26-27 "This was Aaron and Moses to whom God said: 'Take the Children of Israel out of Egypt according to their legions. They were the ...


On Leadership: Women as Leaders

On Leadership: Women as Leaders

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This week’s parsha could be entitled “The birth of a leader.” We see Moses, adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter, growing up as a ...


Joseph’s Reunion with Benjamin

Joseph’s Reunion with Benjamin

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Bereishit, 45:14: “Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck.” Rashi, 45:14: sv. ...


Joseph - The Fourth 'Patriarch'

Joseph - The Fourth 'Patriarch'

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Of all the sons of Jacob, the Torah gives by far the most attention to Joseph. It is very apparent that his contribution to the future of the Jewish ...


Two Ways of Subduing Evil

Two Ways of Subduing Evil

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Bereishit, 32:23: And he got up that night and took his two wives, and his two handmaids, and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the ...


Appreciating the Righteous Man

Appreciating the Righteous Man

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Bereishis, 28:10: "And Jacob departed from Beer Sheva and went to Haran." Rashi, 28:10: sv. And Jacob departed: It only needed to say ...


The Value of Toiling

The Value of Toiling

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Bereishit, 25:22: "And the children crushed within her..." Rashi, Bereishit, 25:22, sv.: And [the children] crushed: When she would pass ...


The Battle of Body and Soul

The Battle of Body and Soul

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After enduring the incredible test of the Akeida (Binding of Isaac) and the death of his wife, Abraham is forced to enter into lengthy negotiations ...


Understanding Lot

Understanding Lot

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What really drove this conflicted character?


Above the Stars

Above the Stars

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Bereishis, 15:5: "And He [God] took him outside and said, 'gaze, now, toward the Heavens and count the stars if you are able to count them!' ...


The Importance of Gratitude

The Importance of Gratitude

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Bereishis, 11:5-6: "God descended to see the city and tower which the sons of Adam built; and God said, Behold, one people, and there is one ...


Going Up to the Heavens

Going Up to the Heavens

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After a lengthy admonition regarding the consequences of not following the Torah, Moses assures the people that despite the seeming difficulty in ...