Yehonasan Gefen
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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/

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 ...


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's bidding. The labor of the Levites was ...


One Deed Reflects On Another

One Deed Reflects On Another

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The Torah describes how the people eagerly came to donate their prized possessions towards the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). "The men ...


"Carrying Sinners"

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After the terrible sin of the Golden Calf (Chet Ha'egel) Moses pleads greatly for God to forgive the Jewish people. After granting His forgiveness, ...


Pure Beginnings

Pure Beginnings

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The Torah Portion begins with God's instructions to Moses with regard to the people who would make the vestments that Aaron, the Kohen Gadol (High ...


Pure Intent

Pure Intent

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The Torah Portion describes the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and the various vessels that were to serve in it, such as the Aron HaKodesh (Ark), the Menorah ...


Insights in Rashi - Moshe and Yehoshua

Insights in Rashi - Moshe and Yehoshua

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And Moshe stood up with Yehoshua, his servant, and Moshe ascended to the Mountain of God. (Shemot 24:13) And Moshe stood up with Yehoshua: "I ...


Shabbat and Honoring One's Parents

Shabbat and Honoring One's Parents

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The highlight of this week's Torah Portion is the Ten Commandments. The fourth mitzvah is to remember the Shabbat,(1) and the fifth is honoring ...


Taking Responsibility

Taking Responsibility

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The splitting of the See of Reeds (known as kriat Yam Suf) is one of the seminal events in Jewish history. The Rabbis and the commentaries derive ...


Long-Term Consequences

Long-Term Consequences

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The Torah Portion sees the culmination of the ten plagues which devastated Egypt. The Rabbis tell us that during the Plague of Darkness, the Jewish ...


Learning Responsibility From the Frogs

Learning Responsibility From the Frogs

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After the first plague of blood, Moses warned Pharaoh that if he continue to refuse Moses' request to let the Jewish people leave Egypt, then there ...


Miriam - The Life Giver

Miriam - The Life Giver

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In her merit the miraculous supply of water sustained the wandering Jews.


Surpassing Our Potential

Surpassing Our Potential

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In Vayechi, Jacob elevated his two grandsons, Ephraim and Menashe, to the status of Shevatim (tribes). In the course of the process he bestowed on ...


Reunions

Reunions

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Vayigash is characterized by a number of dramatic reunions between Joseph and his family. It is instructive to analyze the actions and attitudes of ...


Yosef's Greatness

Yosef's Greatness

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The Torah portion begins with the account of Joseph's dramatic elevation from servitude in the Egyptian dungeons to the position of Viceroy over all ...


Making Good Intentions Last

Making Good Intentions Last

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This week's Torah portion juxtaposes two seemingly unconnected stories - the story of Judah and Tamar with the story of Joseph going down to ...


Reuben - A Model of Repentance

Reuben - A Model of Repentance

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Jacob's eldest son Reuben seems like an unfortunate figure in the Torah. As the first-born son, his tribe was destined to be the tribe of the ...


Laban - Ignoring the Messages

Laban - Ignoring the Messages

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Efforts to amass riches through deceit does not increase prosperity.


Isaac - The Middle Stage in Serving God

Isaac - The Middle Stage in Serving God

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The Torah devotes a great deal of time to discussing the lives of Abraham and Jacob, detailing numerous events pertaining to them. In contrast, ...


Eliezer - Breaking the Curse of Canaan

Eliezer - Breaking the Curse of Canaan

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Eliezer, the servant of Abraham, is the most featured character in this week's Torah portion. He descended from the cursed nation of Ham and Canaan, ...


Reacting to Success and Failure

Reacting to Success and Failure

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It is readily apparent how the Torah portions involving Abraham reflect his greatness in belief in God and kindness. However, on deeper examination ...


Fleeing From Disputes

Fleeing From Disputes

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After Abraham and his entourage returned from their ordeal in Egypt, a dispute developed between Abraham's shepherds and those of his nephew, Lot. ...


Nimrod - Self Worship

Nimrod - Self Worship

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One of the most nefarious characters who appears in the Torah and Rabbinic literature is Nimrod, the sworn enemy of Abraham and the man who led the ...


The First Rashi

The First Rashi

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"Rebbe Yitzchak said, '[God] need only have begun the Torah from 'This month shall be to you" which is the first Commandment which Israel was ...


The Numerous Mitzvot

The Numerous Mitzvot

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The very final portion in the Torah contains the first verse that we teach our children; “Torah tziva lanu Moshe, morasha, kehillat ...


Writing Our Own Sefer Torah

Writing Our Own Sefer Torah

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"And now write this song for yourselves, and teach it to the Children of Israel..." (1) The Rabbis teach us that the song referred to in ...


The Choice of LIfe Over Death

The Choice of LIfe Over Death

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"See I have placed before you life and good, and death and evil(1) ... I have placed life and death before you, blessing and curse; and you ...


The True Source of Joy

The True Source of Joy

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A great deal of this week's Torah portion outlines the devastating punishments that would befall the Jewish people if they do not follow the Torah. ...


The Power of Habit

The Power of Habit

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"An Ammonite and Moabite shall not enter the congregation of God …. Because of the fact that they did not greet you with bread and water ...


Judging Favorably vs. Being Naive

Judging Favorably vs. Being Naive

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The Torah tells us "You should go with innocence before Hashem, your God." (1) Rashi explains that a person should accept the lot that God ...


Mourning: The Body and the Soul

Mourning: The Body and the Soul

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This week's Torah portion outlines certain acts of mourning that were practiced by the nations in those times. Some would make cuts in their body, ...


Fear of God

Fear of God

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"You shall fear HaShem, Your God." (1) The mitzvah to fear God is one of the most fundamental mitzvot in the Torah and is one of the ...


Going Beyond the Letter of the Law

Going Beyond the Letter of the Law

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"And you will do that which is right and good in the eyes of God so that He will do good to you and you will come and inherit the land which ...


Honesty In Money Matters

Honesty In Money Matters

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"Do not be afraid of any man because the judgment is to God." (1) The Torah instructs judges that they should not be intimidated by ...


Accepting Rebuke

Accepting Rebuke

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When the Gerrer Rebbe, the Sfat Emet was a boy, he was looked after by his grandfather, the great Chiddushei Harim, the first Gerrer Rebbe. On one ...


Why God Chose Joshua

Why God Chose Joshua

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The mitzvah to learn Torah includes teaching it as well.


Money and Honor

Money and Honor

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The character, Bilaam is considered to be the archetype of a person with bad character traits. The Mishna in Pirkei Avot describes him as having an ...


Activity Versus Accomplishment

Activity Versus Accomplishment

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The Torah Portion ends with a history of how the Jewish people came to conquer the city of Cheshbon from the Emorites. It had previously been part ...


The Danger of Mockery

The Danger of Mockery

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When one reads the account of the rebellion of Korach he is struck by his seemingly foolish attempt to challenge Moses. Yet it is clear that at the ...


Spying After Our Hearts

Spying After Our Hearts

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"And they will be tzitzit for you, and you shall see it and you shall remember all the commandments of HaShem, and perform them; and you shall ...


Understanding the Sins in the Desert

Understanding the Sins in the Desert

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We are not angels.


The Importance of the Individual

The Importance of the Individual

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Towards the end of the Portion, the Torah describes at great length the offerings of the Nesi'im (Princes) on the day that the Tabernacle was ...


The Two Stages of Divine Service

The Two Stages of Divine Service

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In the Torah's account of the Tribe of Levi it reviews the tragic deaths of Aaron's righteous sons, Nadav and Avihu. On this occasion it adds a ...


Living With Our Learning

Living With Our Learning

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Bechukotai begins with the Torah telling us the conditions under which God will provide the Jewish people with peace and sustenance. "If you ...


Giving With Dignity

Giving With Dignity

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In a number of places in the Torah, we are instructed to give charity to the poor. One of those exhortations is in Parshas Behar: "If your ...


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