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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/

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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In the midst of its account of the building of the Tabernacle (Mishkan) the Torah states that, "Every man whose heart inspired him ...


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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One of the most enigmatic characters in the Torah is Abraham’s nephew, Lot. There are a number of instances in the Torah which indicate that ...


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 ...


Commandments and Customs

Commandments and Customs

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Before the lengthy rebuke that characterizes much of the Torah Portion, the Torah promises great rewards for the Jewish people if they follow God's ...


How to Give to Others

How to Give to Others

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In this week's Torah portion is the source of the mitzvah to give charity. The Torah tells us that we should give a person "enough for his lack ...


The Benefits of Challenges

The Benefits of Challenges

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"And you should know in your heart that just as a father punishes his son, God punishes you." (1) In this short sentence the Torah is ...


The Ultimate Mitzvah

The Ultimate Mitzvah

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"And you shall teach them thoroughly to your children and speak of them while you sit in your home, while you walk on your way, when you retire ...


Giving Rebuke

Giving Rebuke

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The Torah Portion of Devarim contains Moses' rebuke (1) to the Jewish people. It begins with Moshe mentioning a number of place names that do not ...


Developing Sensitivity Through the Mitzvot

Developing Sensitivity Through the Mitzvot

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Speak to the Children of Israel and say to them: When you cross the Jordan to the land of Canaan, you shall designate cities for yourselves, cities ...


Understanding Each Person's Uniqueness

Understanding Each Person's Uniqueness

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Bamidbar, 27:15-16: Moses spoke to God saying, May HaShem, God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the assembly... Bamibar, 27:18: ...


The Spiritual in the Physical

The Spiritual in the Physical

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Bilam and Balak are two of the most well-known enemies of the Jewish people. A full Torah Portion is devoted to their efforts to harm the Jewish ...


Miriam - The Life Giver

Miriam - The Life Giver

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In Chukat the Torah tells us about the death of the righteous Miriam. Immediately after her death, we are told that suddenly there was no water for ...


Disputes

Disputes

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The Mishna in Pirkei Avot describes the dispute (machloket) that Korach instigated against Moses as one that was 'sheloh leshem shamayim' - not for ...


Climbing Our Ladders

Climbing Our Ladders

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Bamidbar, 13:30: “Kaleb silenced the people toward Moses and said: ‘We shall surely go up and conquer it, for we can surely do ...


Understanding Complaints

Understanding Complaints

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"The people were like those who seek complaints in the ears of God, and God heard and His wrath flared..." (1) As the Jewish people were ...


The Power of Vision

The Power of Vision

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When a man will separate himself:…"Why was the section of the Nazir put next to the section of the Sotah? It comes to tell you that ...


Judah and Issachar

Judah and Issachar

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The Torah Portion devotes considerable time to describing the formations of the tribes. They were arranged in groups of three. The commentaries ...


Hurtful Words

Hurtful Words

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On two occasions in Behar the Torah instructs us not to afflict our fellow Jew. In the first instance, the Torah states: "When you sell an item ...


Insights In Rashi - The Joy Of Mitzvot

Insights In Rashi - The Joy Of Mitzvot

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Vayikra, 21:1: HaShem said to Moses: Say to the Priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them: Each of them shall not contaminate himself to a [dead] ...


Love Your Neighbor

Love Your Neighbor

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"Do not take revenge; do not bear a grudge; love your neighbor like yourself." (1) The mitzvah of 'love your neighbor like yourself' is ...


Insights In Rashi  - The Two Birds

Insights In Rashi - The Two Birds

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Vayikra, 14:2-4: This shall be the law of the metsora on the day of his purification: He shall be brought to the Kohen. The Kohen shall go to the ...


The Benefit of Relationships

The Benefit of Relationships

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Shemini gives the account of the tragic deaths of Aaron’s two eldest sons, Nadav and Avihu. At the climax of the inauguration of the Mishkan ...


Passover: Defining a Nation

Passover: Defining a Nation

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The birth of a Nation.


The Greatness of Man's Soul

The Greatness of Man's Soul

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The Torah Portion begins with the Mitzva of terumat hadeshen, whereby the Kohen must remove the ashes from the previous day's offering. Rabbeinu ...


Sacrifices and Fear of God

Sacrifices and Fear of God

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Vayikra enumerates many sacrifices (korbanot), including those that must be given for inadvertent sins (shogeg). Why must a person give a korban for ...


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