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Rabbi Marc J. Rosenstein


Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey, after you left Egypt - how, undeterred by fear of God, he surprised you on the march, when you were famished and weary, and cut down all the stragglers in your rear. Therefore, when the Lord your God grants you safety from all your enemies around you, in the land that the Lord your God is giving you as a hereditary portion, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven. Do not forget!

-Deuteronomy 25:17-19

One of the beauties and the challenges of the Israeli calendar is the juxtaposition of Yom HaZikaron (...

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For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with streams and springs and fountains issuing from plain and hill; a land of wheat and barley, of vines, figs, and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey.

-Deuteronomy 8:7-8

As the fleeting lushness of the Galilee spring was just about to fade into the dusty brown of summer, we grabbed the opportunity of a perfect day wedged between a choking chamsin (a dry, hot, sandy wind) and what turned out to be a few days of a surprise reprise of winter, to spend a few hours hiking along Kziv stream. Kziv flows...

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If, after you have entered the land that the Lord your God has assigned to you, and taken possession of it and settled in it, you decide, "I will set a king over me, as do all the nations about me," you shall be free to set a king over yourself…

-Deuteronomy 17:14-15

In honor of Yom HaAtzmaut, which we observed last week, here is my suggestion for how to envision a state that is both fully Jewish and fully democratic:

If a "nation" is an ethno-cultural group, with a culture that it values and wishes to preserve and transmit (language, calendar, literature, customs...

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…I will free you from the labors of the Egyptians and deliver you from their bondage. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and through extraordinary chastisements. And I will take you to be My people… I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob… (Exodus 6:6)

On the day after the Passover offering, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the country, unleavened bread and parched grain. On that same day, when they ate of the produce of the land, the manna ceased… (Joshua 5:11-12)

The traditional answer to the question as to...

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[In the dispute over the impurity of Achnai's oven, Rabbi Eliezer ruled that the oven was pure; all the other rabbis ruled the opposite.] Rabbi Eliezer said: "If the law is according to my view, let it be proven from heaven!" And a heavenly voice called out, "What is your quarrel with Rabbi Eliezer? The law is always according to his view." Rabbi Judah arose and said, "'It is not in the heaven...' -- we do not pay attention to a heavenly voice, for You already wrote in Your Torah, '...follow a majority."'

-Babylonian Talmud Bava Metzia 59

So here it is just a few days...

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