The Celestial and Earthly Jerusalem

by Rav Herzl Hefter Rabbi Yohanan said: the Holy One Blessed Be He said, “I shall not dwell in the Celestial Jerusalem (Yerushalayim shel ma’alah) until I dwell in the Earthly Jerusalem (Yerushalyim shel matah) ”There is a well-known dispute between Maimonides and...

The Exodus from Egypt: The Never-Ending Story

By Batya Hefter Stories in the Torah are powerful because they resonate within us on multiple levels. On the face of it, the redemption from Egypt is a narrative of national emancipation from slavery. However, if we look carefully, we will learn that the story is...

Pesach: Seize the Moment

By: Batya Hefter At the crux of Pesach is ‘haste’, as the children of Israel flee Egypt in haste.  Strikingly, Lot and his family flee the doomed Sdom in similar haste.   The story of Lot includes the intriguing detail that “he [Lot] baked for them [the angels]...

Reflections on Purim

By: Batya Hefter When Mordechai hears the edict to annihilate the Jews, he rends his clothes as a mourner, dons sackcloth, and cries out bitterly from the depths of his being. Rav Zadok teaches that this is the experience of hester panim; Mordechai has lost all hope...

Yom Kippur – God Desires the Heart

By: Batya Hefter “God desires the Heart’; so teaches the Talmud. Where are our hearts, the seat of our desires and yearnings on this day?   Since Rosh Chodesh Elul we have been the saying pasuk in mizmor leDavid, לך אמר לבי, בקשו פני, את פניך אבקש.   On the face of...