Walking in God’s ways Rabbanit Ravit Kalech is a Fifth Year Fellow in the Susi Bradfield Women’s Institute of Halakhic Leadership (WIHL) In the sequence of blessings in our parsha, Moshe says the following to the People: “The Lord will establish thee for a holy people unto Himself, as He has sworn unto thee; if …

Read more

Rav Avishai Milner

The Prohibition on Charging Interest as a Key Factor in a Robust Society Rabbi Avishai Milner is the Rosh Yeshiva of the Neveh Shmuel Yeshiva High School, Named in Memory of Samuel Pinchas Ehrman Let us imagine a very common scenario: An affluent person wishes to lend money to his needy friend.  It is only …

Read more

Pnina Omer

Our Responsibility to Pursue Justice Pnina Omer is the Director of Yad La’isha: The Monica Dennis Goldberg Legal Aid Center and Hotline for Agunot The portion of Shoftim opens with the words “Judges and officers shall you appoint for you in all your gates… and they shall judge the people with righteous judgement.”  The section …

Read more

Rabbi Yakov Nagen

What Does God Have to Do with Social Justice? Rabbi Dr. Yakov Nagen is the director of the Beit Midrash for Judaism and Humanity and the Blickle Institute for Interfaith Dialogue   The Torah addresses both interpersonal relations and the individual’s relationship with God. There are those who think the human, social realm is more important, …

Read more

Fertility of Mankind and Fruitfulness of Soil Rabbanit Amira Raanan teaches Halakha and Responsa Literature at the Robert M. Beren Machanaim Hesder Yeshiva The portion of Ekev begins: “And it shall come to pass, because you harken to these laws, and keep, and do them, that the Lord your God shall keep with you the …

Read more

The Secret to Jewish Continuity Rabbi David Brofsky is a Ra’M at Midreshet Lindenbaum In this week’s parasha, Parshat Va’etchanan, the Torah relates Moshe Rabbeinu’s final words to the Jewish people, before they enter the land of Israel. Moshe instructs the people to follow the commandments of the Torah: “And now, O Israel, give heed …

Read more

“Parsha and Purpose” – Devarim 5782 
Rabbi Kenneth Brander’s weekly insights into the parsha 

 “When the Earthly Jerusalem Mirrors its Heavenly Partner

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. 

When the Earthly Jerusalem Mirrors its Heavenly Partner

Real estate prices in Jerusalem have risen 10% in the past year. The joke in this country is the national bird in Israel should be the crane, because wherever you walk in Jerusalem, wherever you travel in Israel, there is building going on, thank God. And cranes mark the skyline.

Jerusalem is alive and well! Yet we still have the responsibility to fast on Tisha B’Av. Why is this?

Moreover, the prayer we recite at Mincha on Tisha B’Av states:

“נחם ה’ אלוקינו על אבלי ציון ואבלי ירושלים”

“God, comfort the mourners of Zion and the mourners of Jerusalem”, because the city is destroyed, despised and desolate.

While Rabbi Goren modified the prayer slightly to reflect the changed reality of the city, what is the authentic focus in our day and age on Tisha B’Av?

We often speak about two Jerusalems: the heavenly Jerusalem (“Yerushalayim shel Ma’alah”) and the earthly Jerusalem (“Yerushalayim shel Matah”). [Taanit 5a]

The prophet Isaiah explains in the haftarah that we read this week, Shabbat Chazon, how Jerusalem, how Israel, will be redeemed:

“למדו היטב דרשו משפט אשרו חמוץ שפטו יתום ריבו אלמנה”

We have to learn to do good. We have to devote ourselves to justice. We have to aid the wronged. We have to uphold the rights of the orphan and defend the cause of the widow. [Isaiah 1:17]

In order to be redeemed, Jerusalem must be an authentic city filled with justice. [Isaiah 1:21]

“קריה נאמנה מלאתי משפט”

It must be redeemed through justice. [Isaiah 1:27]

“ציון במשפט תפדה”

And while, Baruch Hashem, the stones of Jerusalem are being rebuilt – and we must be joyous and grateful for that; after all, it’s an unprecedented experience – Jerusalem is still the poorest city in Israel.

We still have agunot throughout our land. Jerusalem is still the place where Jews feel, in the name of God, they can attack the other.

We’re still waiting for the earthly Jerusalem to mirror the image seen in the heavenly Jerusalem.

And please God, we will get to that point, but until then, we have the fast day of Tisha B’Av.

Tisha B’Av exists to galvanize us, to be able to make the difference. So we celebrate the greatness of the redemptive period that we’re in, but we recognize that we’re just not there yet.

The earthly Jerusalem, the earthly land of Israel, is still riddled with injustice.

It’s our responsibility not just to rebuild the stones, but to rebuild the ethical and moral pillars that the land must represent, in order for it to be redeemed.

Shabbat Shalom, and have an easy but meaningful fast.


Shabbat Shalom: Parshat Devarim (Deuteronomy 1:1 – 3:22) By Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Efrat, Israel – “How (eichah) am I able to bear your contentiousness, your burdens and your quarrels?!” (Deuteronomy 1:12) Just prior to the conclusion of the 1978 Camp David Accords, U.S. President Jimmy Carter submitted a letter for Prime Minister Menachem Begin that …

Read more

“And these are the words which Moshe spoke” – Moshe’s spiritual legacy to the People of Israel Rabbanit Renana Birnbaum is the director of Ohr Torah Stone’s Conversion Institute for Spanish Speakers The portion of Devarim opens the fifth and final book of the Torah, the Written Law, and focuses largely on Moshe’s departure from …

Read more

Rabbanit Dena Freundlich Rock

Parshat Ha’azinu = The Torah? Rabbanit Dena (Freundlich) Rock is a core member of the faculty at Midreshet Lindenbaum in Jerusalem, where she teaches Talmud and Halakha, and coordinates the midrasha’s Matmidot Scholars Program. Parshat Ha’azinu is unique in that virtually the entire parsha is a song. Even in an actual Sefer Torah, the verses …

Read more

 Parshat Ki Tavo – Maaser and Truma: Declaring our Avodat Hashem Devora Chait-Roth learned at Midreshet Lindenbaum for the year 2015-2016. She is in her second year of a computer science PhD at NYU, and co-directed a women’s summer beit midrash program called Bnot Sinai. The way a person spends their money often tells a …

Read more

Marina Rivline

 Parshat Ki Tetze: “If brethren dwell together…”: Limiting Permitted Prohibitions Originally from France, Marina Rivline was a student in Midreshet Lindenbaum‘s Overseas Program from 2015-2017, officially making aliya in 2016. Marina performed Sherut Leumi in the Israel Police Forces and is currently finishing a degree in Law and International Relations at the Hebrew University. Parashat …

Read more