Secrets of the Unifying Covenants
Everybody would like to emulate God and to have the ability to influence Divine Providence. The keys to both these lofty aspirations are hidden in this week's Torah portion. In this audio lecture, Rabbi Ginsburgh delves into the two covenants between God and Abraham — and his descendants. When we apply the inner meaning of these covenants in our lives, we can merit to bring God true joy and pleasure in His creation.Read More…
Listen to Audio (length: 27:24min)
Fitting In As a Jew
This is exactly what the Almighty says to every Jew before sending him or her to their place in the world. Every Jew is an emissary of the Almighty, a beacon of Godliness in the world. Every Jew should be aware that he or she is like Abraham being sent to a strange land by Divine sanction—to the only place in the world that they can truly find their soul-root and reveal it to the world. But, now we come to our initial question. How does one remain true to one’s source and root in Godliness and yet still grow as part of the community that one lives in? Click here to read the full article.
Tikun Olam Requires that You Make the First Move
In order to succeed in our mission of clarifying the world—a very difficult struggle for which the shoulder is the symbol, we have to wake up early in the morning; as the sages say: “The motivated strive to perform mitzvot early.” Waking up early, that is being proactive and taking the initiative is necessary, for just as the best defense is an offense, so when dealing with an unrectified reality, if we do not move first, it will move on us, tainting our motives and clouding our judgment. Finally, the task of tikun olam, of refining the world with knowledge of God, is a burden of leadership for every single Jew. It means that every Jew has been entrusted with ministering its success. Click here to read the full article.
The Power to Bless Others As A Sign of Success
Though it might be easily missed, this is one of the most important points that the Torah makes in its lengthy description of Abraham’s relationship with Eliezer. The Torah is telling us that Abraham’s ability to transform Eliezer, the father of all the Canaanites, indicates his was more general success in influencing, refining, and ultimately completely transforming the essence of the Canaanite culture and values. Eliezer’s moment of complete transformation was reached when he went as Abraham’s trusted servant to find Isaac a suitable wife, Rivkah. During his dialogue with Rivkah’s family, he was addressed with the words: “Come, the blessed of God.” At that moment his transformation from a state of being cursed [by his grandfather] to a state of being blessed by God was complete and obvious to everyone around him. It was proof that Abraham had the ability to indeed rectify the Canaanites. Click here to read the full article.
Abraham and the Wisdom of the Book of Formation
God created the world with the holy language, Hebrew. Sefer Yetizrah (The Book of Formation), the very first Kabbalistic text, describes this process and mentions that gates—two letter combinations of Hebrew letters—are a central ingredient in the construction of the universe. Because Hebrew has 22 letters, there are 462 or “231 front and back,” possibilities for combining two different letters. One of the most beautiful permutations of the word “Israel,” ישראל , is יש רלא , which literally means “there exist 231,” alluding to these 231 gates. Traditionally, the wisdom of Sefer Yetzirah is attributed to Abraham. The book itself was put into its final form in the Second Temple period, a task attributed to Rabbi Akiva, the revealer of Kabbalistic wisdom in that period and the Rebbe of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. Click here to read the full article.
What It Means to be a "Hebrew"
“Avram the Hebrew was told.” Rabbi Yehudah, Rabbi Nechemyah, and the sages [disagree]. Rabbi Yehudah says: the entire world is on one side and he is on the other side [the word for “side” in Hebrew is מעבר , which stems from the same root עבר ]. Rabbi Nechemyah says: Because he is of the descendants of Ever [the son of Shem, the son of Noah]. The sages say: he is from the other side of the river and that he speaks in the Hebrew tongue. Click here to read the full article.