"Wash you, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek justice, relieve the oppressed, judge the orphan, plead for the widow. Come let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isaiah, chapter 1, verses 16-18)
Angel for Shabbat
And you shall keep and fulfill [the laws of the Torah]; for that is your wisdom and your understanding before the eyes of the nations that will hear all these statutes and will say: 'what a wise and understanding nation is this people.' (Devarim 4:6)
"Any weapon whetted against you shall not succeed, and any tongue that contends with you in judgment, you shall condemn; this is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their due reward from Me, says the Lord." Isaiah 54:17
When I came to synagogue on Tuesday morning August 11, I was told at the door by our superintendant that there was going to be an anti-Jewish rally right across the street. I had not been notified about this in advance, and was puzzled why a "rally" was being staged against us.
The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years. During this period, the old generation who had been slaves in Egypt died out, and a new generation grew up. The wilderness was the training ground for developing a confident and free Israelite nation.
"When a man or a woman shall commit any sin, to commit a trespass against the Lord..." (Bemidbar 5:6)
When Aaron the high priest is commanded to light the Menorah, the Torah uses the word "beha'aloteha"--when you kindle. The literal meaning of the word is: when you raise up (the lights). A homiletical meaning may be: when you light the Menorah, you yourself will be raised, you will feel better about yourself--stronger and happier. Aaron is being told that by kindling the lights of the Menorah, he not only brings light to the sanctuary and inspiration to the public: he actually improves himself.
"...and all the congregation drew near and stood before the Lord. And Moses said: This is the thing which the Lord commanded you to do, that there may appear unto you the glory of the Lord." (Vayikra 9:5-6)
Moses instructed the priests and the entire people of Israel concerning the procedures of dedicating the Mishkan, the sanctuary of the Lord. If they followed the commandments, they would experience the glory of the Lord. They would feel God's presence and would reach great spiritual heights.
As we prepare to celebrate Yom Ha-Atsmaut next Tuesday night and Wednesday, we rejoice at the wonderful successes of the State of Israel. Our joy, though, is dampened by the ongoing perfidious slanders and threats lodged against Israel and the Jewish People from so many different quarters. It is vital that we stay focused on the remarkable renaissance of the Jews as manifested in the re-establishment of a sovereign Jewish State after so many centuries of exile. We thank the Almighty for having granted us the privilege of living at this special time in Jewish history.