Beit Midrash

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26 Lessons
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    Additional Lessons

    What About Rabbis Who Say It's Ok to Give Away Land?

    Rav Zalman Baruch Melamed answers the question: How should one relate to great Torah scholars who rule that parts of the Land of Israel may be given over to autonomous gentile rule?

    Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed | Shvat 26 5782
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    6 min
    The Torah Perspective

    The Land of Israel is Miraculous, Just Open Your Eyes

    A Moment of Wisdom

    A Moment of Wisdom

    Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu | Adar 3 5781
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    48 min
    Holieness of the Land

    Strengthening Our Motivation for Aliya: Why (!) is Eretz Yisrael so Important?!

    All Jews know that Eretz Yisrael is important, but the question is: Why?! It's not enough just to quote chazal who praise her importance, but how can we strengthen our motivation to want (!) to make Aliya? This class deals with 5 explanations what Chazal exactly mean when they say that "Living in Israel is equated with all the other mitzvot combined". In addition to the greater quantity enabling many more mitzvot (Torah Tmima), and their real quality (Ramban), the Rivash points out that this mitzva is on a higher level than others bc it's for all of Israel & for all generations, & "doubles" our Judaism. The Chatam Sofer adds it raises one's life to a "planet" of kedusha even in his food, work & rocks, and Rav Kook adds an additional innovative idea.

    Rabbi Ari Shvat
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    38 min
    The Essence of Sukkot

    Taste the Tree Like the Fruit- Sukkot as a Microcosm of Eretz Yisrael

    Rav Kook points out that just as most of the tree is roots, trunk, branches and leaves, despite the fact that the goal is the fruit, similarly most of life is preparations (e.g. eating, dress, work, cooking, raising children), and often one doesn't even achieve his goal. Does that mean that he wasted his life?! The basic question is, if most of life is "tree", and I want to have meaning in life, I have no choice but to find a way to have "taste" in the tree, not just in the fruit. This was the original plan in Eden, and is meant to be the ideal lifestyle, as expressed in the Etrog where the tree tastes like her fruit. Eretz Yisrael is likened to Sukkot, where even the secular/mundane/"tree" has meaning/taste/holiness, and it's all a mitzva.

    Rabbi Ari Shvat | Tishrei 23 5781
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    37 min
    The Value of the Nation of Israel

    The Kedusha of Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael

    What is the definition of "Kedusha" in general, and in particular, how should we understand the holiness of the Jewish Nation and the Land of Israel? Is kedusha (translated: holiness) essentially inherent, or is it acquired through Torah and mitzvot? Rav Kook's harmonic approach, based upon Tanachic and rabbinic sources, helps us make sense of these most basic issues.

    Rabbi Ari Shvat | Iyar 16 5780
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    1:03
    Holieness of the Land

    Why Does Eretz Yisrael Mean So Much to Us?!

    Residing in the land of Israel is equated to the rest of the Mitzvot put together. Firstly, the quantity the quality of the Mitzvot is much higher. secondly, the Mitzva has an impact on the whole generation, and for the later generations. The third reason is that it causes your whole life to be significant. The fourth, We simply love the land regardless of what it looks like. In addition, today they are more than nine reasons why the land of Israel has been upgraded.

    Rabbi Ari Shvat | Iyar 12 5780
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    Parashat Hashavua

    More on Bonfires, Zionism, Torah, and Army

    We saw last time that Israel has those who celebrate with fire the light of Torah and others who sit around bonfires to emulate non-religious pioneers. We looked to unify the two, which we will get to this week.

    Rabbi Yossef Carmel | Iyar 18 5779
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    Parashat Hashavua

    On Bonfires, Zionism, Torah Learning, and IDF Service

    Shemitta, with which our parasha opens, is one of the land-based mitzvot, which give expression to the sanctity of the Land of Israel in comparison to other lands. Rav Kook (Shabbat Ha’aretz, intro. to ch. 15) cited the Radbaz’s question: If the pre-Shemitta sale of the land to non-Jews eliminates the Land’s sanctity in regard to Shemitta, how can one fulfill the mitzva of living in the Land? Rav Kook answered that the Land’s sanctity is not a result of the possibility to fulfill the mitzvot related to it. Rather, the kedusha of the Land and the mitzva to live in it exist even when laws such as Shemitta do not apply. The gemara (Chagiga 5a) posits that exile of the Nation of Israel from its Land caused the greatest undoing of the Torah. Just as with the greatness of Torah, the basic level exists independently of the ability to fulfill the mitzvot commanded in it, so too the Land of Israel maintains its core value even if certain of its mitzvot are not in force.

    Rabbi Yossef Carmel | Iyar 11 5779
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    Shlach Lecha

    The attitude towards the Land of Israel

    The attitude of Jews towards the Land of Israel has always been a litmus-paper type of test of Jewish commitment and even faith throughout the ages. Living in the Land of Israel or at least visiting it regularly is currently the centerpiece of Jewish life, its faith and its future.

    Rabbi Berel Wein
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    The Torah Perspective

    A tale of two brothers

    The key to helping American Jews counter assimilation and alienation from Judaism is having them feel more Jewish – in establishing a strong sense of Jewish self-identity within themselves and their families. One undeniable fact about at least visiting and hopefully eventually living in the Land of Israel is that it certainly makes one feel more Jewish

    Rabbi Berel Wein | Adar 5773
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    The Torah Perspective

    “Economic Difficulty”- the Most Common Excuse for Not Making Aliya

    Part I

    In many cases, Aliya to Israel involves lowering the standard of living. How much does one need to lower their standard of living in order to fulfill the commandment of living in Israel?

    Rabbi Ari Shvat | Shvat 5773
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    The Torah Perspective

    The Importance of the State of Israel in the Writings of Rabbi A.I. Kook

    part I

    Why did G-d create Am Yisrael as a nation and not just a religion? Why, in addition to the mitzvot between individual Jews, and between man and G-d, does the Torah call for a framework of a national land, army, political system, and even coin?

    Rabbi Ari Shvat | Shvat 5773
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    The Torah Perspective

    The Importance of the State of Israel in the Writings of Rabbi A.I. Kook

    part II

    In the previous part, we asked Why did G-d create an Jewish nation in its own land and not just a religion? We brought two reasons from Rav Kook's writings: an established nation can influence the rest of the nations and So that all should know, that not only outstanding individual can live in the light of G-d, but even entire nations can. In this part, we will see three more ideas to answer our question.

    Rabbi Ari Shvat | Shvat 5773
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    The Torah Perspective

    “Economic Difficulty”- the Most Common Excuse for Not Making Aliya

    Part II

    In the previous part, we asked how much does one need to lower their standard of living in order to make Aliya. We saw that one should spend up to a fith of his money on Mitzvot and asked if lowering of standard of life is considered a loss of a fifth?

    Rabbi Ari Shvat | Shvat 5773
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    The Torah Perspective

    “Economic Difficulty”- the Most Common Excuse for Not Making Aliya

    Part III

    In the previous part,we asked how much does one need to lower their standard of living in order to make Aliya. We asked how much should one spend on Mitzvot and saw a disagreement between the Poskim. We ended saying that Important Mitzvot oblige more expenditure.

    Rabbi Ari Shvat | Shvat 5773
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    Shlach Lecha

    Jews And The Land Of Israel

    Rabbi Berel Wein | 5769
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    The Torah Perspective

    Secular Zionism in the Eyes of Rav Kook.

    How can we understand the rebellion against religion over the past century? What does the world gain spiritually from this rebellion which was foreseen in the mishna 1,800 years ago as part of the period preceding the mashiach? Only after we understand the rebellion can we glean the benefit and relate to our brothers properly.

    Rabbi Ari Shvat | 5769
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    The Torah Perspective

    Centrality of Eretz Yisrael in Judaism

    Why should a Jew make aliya to the Land of Israel? Can't one be a good Jew living in America? This article deals with sources to answer this most basic of questions and will hopefully answer why our Rabbis proclaimed: "Living in the Land of Israel is equated with the rest of the mitzvot combined!"

    Rabbi Ari Shvat | 5769
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    The Torah Perspective

    The Land's Sanctity from the Perspective of the Exile

    Only in the Babylonian exile did our manner of relating to the Land of Israel change. Only there did our desire for the land - our longing, hopes, and special behavior - receive expression by the sages, and hence by the nation itself.

    Rabbi Ze'ev Sultanowitz | 5765
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    Achrei Mot

    Holiness of Eretz Yisrael

    Parashat Acharei Mot

    Parashat Acharei Mot

    Rabbi Meyer Fendel | 5765
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