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/

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 ...


Our Portion in Olam Haba

Our Portion in Olam Haba

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The Torah Portion ends with the distressing story of the son of an Egyptian man and Jewish woman who committed the grave sin of blasphemy and as a ...


Do Not Hate Your Brother In Your Heart

Do Not Hate Your Brother In Your Heart

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The Torah Portion of Kedoshim is replete with mitzvot that teach about interpersonal relationships. Towards the end of this section, the Torah ...


Going Forward

Going Forward

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In the midst of the Portion's outline of various mitzvot, the Torah exhorts us with regard to our observance of the Torah in a general sense: ...


Brit Mila: Why the Eighth Day

Brit Mila: Why the Eighth Day

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Tazria discusses one of the most well-known and observed Mitzvot; that of brit mila (circumcision).(1) It stresses that the mila must take place on ...


Understanding the Tzaraat on the Houses

Understanding the Tzaraat on the Houses

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The Torah Portion Metzora outlines the various forms of the affliction of tzaraat.(1) Having completed discussion of the tzaraat on the body, the ...


Acquiring a Friend

Acquiring a Friend

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The Torah Portion begins with the joyful celebrations of the Inauguration of the Mishkan (tabernacle), however this joyous occasion becomes a time ...


The Symbolism of the Sacrifices

The Symbolism of the Sacrifices

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In this week's Portion, the Torah introduces us to two of the most important kinds of offerings: The Olah (elevation) offering(1) and the Shelamim ...


The 'Right' Kind of Jealousy

The 'Right' Kind of Jealousy

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During its outline of the various korbanot (sacrifices), the Torah forbids bringing offerings of leaven and honey.(1) It then immediately tells us ...


Fulfilling Our Potential

Fulfilling Our Potential

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Greatness comes to those who undertake the responsibility to complete the task.


Clearing the Confusion

Clearing the Confusion

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The sin of the Golden Calf is one of the most difficult to comprehend episodes in the Torah. The commentaries discuss at length how the Jewish ...


The Roots of Gossip

The Roots of Gossip

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Why do we enjoy speaking badly about other people?


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 ...