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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/

Striking the Right Balance

Striking the Right Balance

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The Torah states regarding the walls of the Tabernacle: "The center crossbar shall go through the middle of the beams, from one end to the ...


Complete Kindness

Complete Kindness

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In the Portion of Mishpatim the Torah instructs us with regard to lending money to our fellow in need. The Torah states: "When you lend money ...


Rav Noach Weinberg zt

Rav Noach Weinberg zt"l

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Appreciating his genuine trust in God.


Freeing Ourselves

Freeing Ourselves

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This week's Torah portion begins with a description of how the Jewish people finally left Egypt and the yoke of Pharaoh. As they faced the Sea of ...


The Third Stage of Redemption

The Third Stage of Redemption

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The Torah Portion describes the final three Plagues and the events that led up to the Jewish people finally leaving Egypt. The Midrash tells us that ...


The Plague of Frogs

The Plague of Frogs

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The second of the ten plagues was frogs. Rashi cites a Rabbinic source that describes how this plague manifested itself; at first one single frog ...


Responding To Divine Providence

Responding To Divine Providence

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After enslaving the Jewish people, Pharaoh was informed by his astrologers that a baby boy was destined to be born who would redeem the Jewish ...


The Root of Sin

The Root of Sin

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"Reuven, you are my first-born, my strength and my initial vigor, foremost in rank and foremost in power. Water-like impetuosity - you cannot ...


Joseph - Second In Command

Joseph - Second In Command

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The Torah Portion begins with Joseph revealing himself to his brothers. He informs them that they need not feel guilty for what they had one because ...


Joseph's Strength

Joseph's Strength

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The Torah Portion, Mikeitz continues the account of Joseph's remarkable tenure in Egypt; it relates to how he endured terrible suffering, and yet ...


Joseph's Dreams

Joseph's Dreams

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The measure of true greatness.


Using the Yetzer Hara for the Good

Using the Yetzer Hara for the Good

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Upon his return to the land of Israel, Jacob sends a peace-making message to his hostile brother, Esau. He begins the message saying, "I lived ...


Waiting

Waiting

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Soon after coming to work for Lavan, Jacob agreed to work for seven years in exchange for Rachel's hand in marriage. The Torah tells us that this ...


Using Strength In the Right Way

Using Strength In the Right Way

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"And Isaac loved Esau for game was in his mouth, but Rebecca loved Jacob."(1) One of the most difficult aspects of Toldos is Isaac's ...


Relying on Miracles

Relying on Miracles

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After arranging the burial of his wife, Sarah, Abraham sends his faithful servant, Eliezer, to search for a suitable wife for his son, Isaac. ...


Kindness Versus Independence

Kindness Versus Independence

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One of the most famous episodes in the Torah Portion is that of the destruction of Sodom. The city of Sodom is unrivalled in its reputation for ...


Circumcision: The Individual's Covenant With God

Circumcision: The Individual's Covenant With God

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The Portion(1) ends with the command for Abraham to perform bris mila (circumcision). The Sefer Hachinuch notes a unique aspect of this mitzvah. ...


Depth and Superficiality

Depth and Superficiality

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The Torah Portion ends with a very short account of the early life of Abraham. It outlines his family, including his brother, Haran, and how he met ...


The Potential for Greatness and Lowliness

The Potential for Greatness and Lowliness

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Parshat Bereishit describes the Creation of the first man, Adam. Adam represents the totality of the human race and since every human being in ...


Vezos HaBracha – Moses' Greatest Deed

Vezos HaBracha – Moses' Greatest Deed

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The Torah concludes with a stirring eulogy for Moses, ending with praise for, “the strong hand and awesome power that Moshe performed before ...


Our Approach to Learning Torah

Our Approach to Learning Torah

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"When I call out the Name of HaShem, ascribe greatness to our God."(1) The Rabbis learn out from this verse the obligation of Birchas ...


Taking Responsibility For Ourselves

Taking Responsibility For Ourselves

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"This mitzvah that I command you today - it is not hidden from you and it is not distant. It is not in heaven, [for you] to say, 'who can ...


Establishing Torah

Establishing Torah

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When the Jewish people entered the land, they were to assemble at two mountains for a new acceptance of the Torah, but the command to do so is found ...


Making the Most of Our Strengths

Making the Most of Our Strengths

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“An Ammonite and Moabite shall not enter the congregation of God, even their tenth generation shall not enter the congregation of God, to ...


Our Influence On Others

Our Influence On Others

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"Who is the man who is fearful and faint-hearted? Let him go and return to his house, and let him not melt the heart of his fellows to be like ...


Giving With a Smile

Giving With a Smile

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The Torah portion discusses the mitzvah of charity and promises a special blessing to one who fulfills this mitzvah with joy: "You will surely ...


Clinging to the Wise Man

Clinging to the Wise Man

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In this week's Portion, the Torah commands the people to go in the ways of God and to "cling to Him." (1) The Sifri,(2) quoted by Rashi, ...


The Two Tablets

The Two Tablets

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The Torah Portion contains a repetition of the Ten Commandments, with a few minor changes. The Mabit(1) makes a remarkable observation about the two ...


The Connection Between Calmness and Trust in God

The Connection Between Calmness and Trust in God

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The Torah Portion begins with Moses rebuking the Jewish people for the various sins that they committed in the desert. One of the first sins that he ...


The Torah's Definition of Chesed

The Torah's Definition of Chesed

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Towards the end of the Torah portion, the Torah speaks at length about the cities of refuge; areas that are set aside for unintentional murderers. ...


The Value of Life

The Value of Life

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One of the main incidents in this week's Torah portion is the war between the Jewish people and the Midianites. In the midst of the battle, the Jews ...


Shimon and Levi

Shimon and Levi

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The Torah portion begins with God rewarding Pinchas greatly for his act of zealousness in killing Zimri and Cozbi who were committing a grave sin. ...


Living For God

Living For God

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The Sages tell us that Bilaam had incredible powers of prophecy which in some ways were even greater than those of Moses. Yet, at the same time, he ...


The 'Reasons' For the Commandments

The 'Reasons' For the Commandments

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The Torah portion begins "this is the statute (chok) of the Torah" and proceeds to discuss the laws of the red heifer (Parah Adumah), a ...


Making Peace

Making Peace

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The Torah portion of Korach describes the most famous dispute in the Torah, in which Korach and his cohorts challenged the leadership of Moses. ...


Praying Against the Evil Inclination

Praying Against the Evil Inclination

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The incident of the spies is one of the most well-known stories in the Torah and there is much discussion as to how such great men could commit such ...


Humility - The Key to Greatness

Humility - The Key to Greatness

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In the end of the Torah portion God describes Moses as the most humble man upon the face of the Earth. According to the Torah's definition of ...


The Freedom of Torah

The Freedom of Torah

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The Torah portion discusses the mitzvah of 'Nezirus', whereby a person takes a vow to abstain from wine, avoid coming into contact with a dead body, ...


The

The "Sons" of Moses

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In its account of the genealogy of the tribes of Israel, the Torah outlines the offspring of Moses and Aaron. The Torah includes Aaron’s sons ...


The Greatness of Innovation

The Greatness of Innovation

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In the midst of the devastating rebuke, God comforts us, saying: "And I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and even my covenant with Isaac, ...


Preventative Action

Preventative Action

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"If your brother becomes impoverished and his means falter in your proximity, you shall strengthen him - the convert and the resident - so that ...


Understanding the Omer

Understanding the Omer

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The Torah Portion outlines the mitzvot involved with the Omer offering. On the second day of Pesach we are commanded to bring an offering of barley ...


Understanding the True Meaning of 'Chesed'

Understanding the True Meaning of 'Chesed'

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In the latter part of the Parsha the Torah enumerates the various forbidden relationships and their punishments. Towards the end of this list the ...


Negative Surroundings

Negative Surroundings

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Before detailing the list of forbidden relationships the Torah instructs us: "Do not perform the practices of the land of Egypt in which you ...


A New Start

A New Start

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We can always put our past behind us.


Purifying Our Speech

Purifying Our Speech

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The Torah Portion of Tazria discusses at length the spiritual malaise of tzoraas whereby a person is afflicted with white blotches on his skin. He ...


Who Comes First

Who Comes First

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Among the list of non-kosher birds in Parshas Shemini is the interestingly named 'Chasida'. Rashi quotes the Talmud in Chullin that explains that ...


The Temptations of Money

The Temptations of Money

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"And God said to Moses, saying; Command (tzav) Aaron and his sons, to say; this is the Law of the burnt offering..." (1) The Parsha ...


Gift Offerings

Gift Offerings

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The Book of Vayikra focuses to a significant degree on the various sacrifices (korbanos) (1) that were to be given in the Tabernacle (Mishkan), and ...


Spiritual Effort

Spiritual Effort

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After the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) was completed, the workmen could not erect it because of its massive weight. Since Moses had not had ...


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