Home Seniors Programs Special Needs Mommy and Me Join a Study Group Bat Mitzvah Program for Women of All Ages One on One Learning Giving
Opportunities
Parsha Points About Us Contact Us

Re'eh
Is a vegetarian diet ideal? Print E-mail
Wednesday, 16 August 2017

When God created the world, He did not permit Adam and Eve to eat meat:

And God said, Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all earth and every tree in which is the fruit of a tree…to you it shall be for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every fowl of the air…I have given every green herb for food. (Breisheet 1:29-30)

In 1:28 God gave the blessing to be fruitful and multiply and “have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that crawls upon the earth.”

Humans were told to have dominion over the animals but not to slaughter them or eat them.

After the flood and the immoral behavior that led up to it, the focus was on man refraining from killing other people and respecting human life. Man was no longer on the high moral level that would require him to forego the slaying of animals.

According to Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook, the “heter” (dispensation) to eat meat is only temporary. When the time is ripe, the latent aspiration for justice for the animal kingdom will come out into the open.

In the desert, the only red meat that was permitted was meat that was part of a sacrifice in the Mishkan (Tabernacle). Once they arrived in the Land of Israel they were permitted to eat meat as long as it was slaughtered properly.

Rav Kook points out that the path of following the laws of kosher slaughter will eventually lead us back to abstaining from eating meat.

Nehama Leibowitz deduces that once we fulfill Yishayahu’s prophecy (which is well know from the famous Israeli folk song) of “Lo yisa goy el goy cherev, lo yilmedu od milchama”, “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn the arts of war anymore”, once humans stop killing each other, then we can expand man’s compassion to the animal kingdom.

In the mean time, for those who do eat meat, it should be slaughtered and eaten in a respectful manner. There are a lot of disturbing phenomena in the Jewish community concerning meat and the treatment of animals: Some slaughterhouses are Halachically kosher but the animals are not treated properly.  It is unacceptable to have chickens cooped up all day in horrible conditions waiting for Kapparot to be performed on them. Overindulging on meat at “all you can eat” buffets may be kosher, but not in the spirit of the law. A solution must be found for the amount of meat that gets wasted at weddings. Ostentatious siyum parties (which celebrate the completion of a tractate of the Talmud) at restaurants during the nine days leading up to Tisha B’Av make a mockery of the idea of refraining from meat and wine as a symbol of mourning for the destruction of Jerusalem.

We have not reached the point where we are on a high enough spiritual level for the entire Jewish community to be required to return to vegetarianism. However, even those who do eat meat must show respect for all creatures.

 
Aliya is on the rise Print E-mail
Monday, 05 September 2016

In Parshat Re’eh (Dvarim 11:31) we read the famous words “For you shall pass across the Jordan to come to inherit the land that HaShem, your God is giving you, you will inherit it and will dwell in it.”

Rashi quoting Sifrei comments that the miracles of the Jordan river (it miraculously split like the Red Sea so that B’nai Yisrael could pass through) will be a symbol for you that you will enter the land and take possession of it.

Just as God miraculously brought us to the Land of Israel, so too will He take care of us while we are there.

As the new school year begins, we look back on a summer where 6000 olim (new immigrants) arrived in Israel from countries including Russia, France, The USA, Brazil and Belarus.

Many of these olim are children who will now have to adjust to a new language a new culture and a new school system.

Twelve years ago we were in their shoes when Dov, age 4 1/2 started kindergarten in Jerusalem just two days after making aliya.

Dov, now fluent in both Hebrew and English is starting 12th grade at Himmelfarb high school. Last night, the school announced that they accepted many new olim from different countries and they will be opening up special ulpan classes for those students to help them catch up and acclimate.

As long as the new olim are made to feel at home they will keep coming.

Packing up your entire life and moving to a different part of the world is not easy. However, when one is made to feel welcome when they arrive the absorption is made much easier.

May we do what we can to help those who would like to make aliya as well as those who have already arrived in Israel.

 
How We Can Try To Emulate God Print E-mail
Thursday, 13 August 2015

In Parshat Re’eh, Devarim 13:5 we are told: “You shall walk after HaShem your God, fear Him, keep His commandments, obey His voice, serve Him and cleave to him.”

 

Rashi comments: Embrace His ways, engage in kindness, bury the dead and visit the sick just as God did.

 

In the Talmud, Sotah, 14a, Rabbi Chama bar Chanina said: What is the meaning of “You shall walk after HaShem your God”? Is it possible for a human being to follow the Divine Presence? It already says in the Torah (Dvarim 4:24), “For HaShem your God is a consuming fire.” Rather, the mitzvah to follow God means we should follow (emulate) the attributes of the Holy One Blessed is He. Just as He clothes the naked, as it says (Breisheet 3:21) “And HaShem God made for Adam and his wife skin garments and He clothed them”, you too should clothe the naked. The Holy One Blessed is He visited the sick, as it is written (Breisheet 18:1) “HaShem appeared to him (Avraham) in Elonei Mamre” (on the third day after his circumcision) you too should visit the sick. The Holy One Blessed is He, comforted mourners, as it is written (Breisheet 25:11): “And it was after the death of Avraham that God blessed Yitzchak his son” (by reciting the mourner’s blessing), you too shall comfort mourners. The Holy One Blessed is He buried the dead, as it is written (Dvarim 34:6) “He buried him (Moshe) in the valley”, you too shall bury your dead.

 

How is God being emulated in Israel today?

 

Just as God clothed the naked, we all have the responsibility to make sure that everyone has clothing that they are comfortable with. The way that this is accomplished is through second hand clothing stores where the clothing is all donated and the prices are very reasonable. Shoppers who may not have a lot of money can choose what they like, pay a small fee and feel dignified during the entire process as opposed to having to look for handouts. Some other bonuses that come along with these stores: people who have too much clothing can feel good about themselves by giving away clothing that they no longer need, the proceeds of the stores go to charity and the stores are trendy enough that those who can afford to shop elsewhere will shop there as well. One example is HaBoydem, a store in Talpiot, Jerusalem that helps those who suffer from mental illness return to the workforce.

 

Just as God visited the sick, we must make sure that those who are sick know that we care about them. Last year, when the war ended, we delivered packages to the soldiers who were still in the hospital. One soldier that we visited was Jordan Low, a lone soldier from Baltimore, MD who fought in the army with Golani. Jordan suffered injuries from smoke inhalation after two rockets struck the building in Northern Gaza that he was in. When we went to see him in the intensive care unit, he said that he wanted to return to the army as soon as possible. Now, a year later it was announced in the Yediot Acharonot newspaper that Jordan Low has fully recovered and will be returning to Golani (even though he technically could have been discharged early from the army).

 

Unfortunately, sometimes funerals have to take place for those who have no family to mourn for them. This especially happens to Holocaust survivors who have no living family members. As soon as somebody hears that a Holocaust survivor with no family is being buried, they post the information on social media and total strangers show up to pay their last respects to someone that they didn’t even know.

 

These are just some examples of the wonderful ways that Israelis try to emulate God.

 

Each of us needs to make a conscious effort to not only fear God, observe the mitzvot and pray, but to focus as well on engaging in acts of loving kindness.

 
Are We Living in Messianic Times? Print E-mail
Friday, 22 August 2014

This week’s Haftarah from Yishayahu 54-55 is a lyrical prophecy of what will happen in Messianic times. The words of the prophecy especially ring true today.

 

Yishayahu 54:15-17 states: “Behold! They may well gather together, but not by Me: whoever aggressively opposes you will fall for your sake. Behold! I have created the smith who blows on charcoal flame and withdraws a tool for his labor and I have created the destroyer to ruin. Any weapon sharpened against you will not succeed and any tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall condemn; this is the heritage of the servant of God and their righteousness is from Me, the words of HaShem.”

 

According to Olam HaTanach’s commentary, since God created the smith who creates weapons, He is also responsible for making sure that none of these weapons succeed in destroying Israel. As well, any language that is negative concerning Israel will not be recognized in court.

 

How familiar does this sound?

 

In Israel, day in and day out we see our enemies preparing all sorts of weapons to try to destroy Israel. After a missile has been launched from Gaza we even get a report on the news about if it was a “homemade” rocket or if it was a fancier model purchased from abroad.

 

It is clear that God continues to protect Israel as many of the missiles end up landing in Gaza itself, in open areas in Israel or are intercepted by the Iron Dome.

 

We have also seen our enemies from all over the world speak out against Israel, taking the side of Hamas. Slowly but surely, many are starting to see the real story, especially now that most of the international journalists have left Gaza and can now speak the truth.

 

Reading this Haftarah and seeing what is going on in the world today makes us feel like slowly but surely the prophecies are coming true and we are moving in the direction towards the coming of the Mashiach. However, the redemption is a very slow process. Although we may be on the way, we have not yet arrived.

 

 
Untiy Will Protect Us Print E-mail
Friday, 02 August 2013

In Parshat Re’eh, Devarim 12:10 we read: “When you cross the Jordan and settle in the Land that God is apportioning to you, and He has granted you peace from all your enemies around and you shall live secure.”

 

According to Glilei Zahav, if we, the Jewish people can get along with one another from within our own camp instead of forming separate camps that are looking to attack one another, then we will have nothing to fear from all of the enemies around us.

 

It has been taught by Chazal: If the Jewish people could all get along and form one solid group, no other nation would be able to try to control them.

 

Unfortunately, we are at a point where the Jewish people in Israel are very much divided.

 

Every day we read another story about Jews in Israel who are not getting along.

 

We are not reading about the Jews who do get along.

 

For the past two weeks, Israel has had the privilege of hosting the 19th Maccabiah games. Nine thousand Jews from around the world came together to represent their countries and show their commitment to Israel.

 

Meeting the athletes and their families, one only sees love for the Jewish people and the Land of Israel.

 

Although they were competing against each other, the players made an effort to make friends with players from all of the different countries and learn about their similarities and differences.

 

Standing for Hatikva together with so many different Jews from around the world who love Israel so much showed me that there is hope for unity.

 

At the end of the day, it was the Israelis who went home with the most medals and nobody complained.

 

We can  all learn a lesson from the Maccabiah participants and try to make more of an effort to strengthen what unites us rather than what divides us.

 

 
Don’t Know What You Got Till It’s Gone! Print E-mail
Thursday, 16 August 2012

In Parshat Re’eh (Devarim 12:29) we read the following words: “When God will have eliminated the nations whom you are coming there to inherit, from before you; and you will inherit them and dwell in their Land.”

 

Rabbi Shaul Yedidya Elazar of Modzitch tells a story based on this pasuk:

 

Rabbi Eliezer ben Shamua and Rabbi Yochanan HaSandlar were going to Chutz LaAretz (leaving Israel) in order to study Torah. When they got to Tyre, they started thinking about the Land of Israel and they began to cry. They ripped their clothing, read the words from our pasuk “and you will inherit them and dwell in their Land” and they decided to turn around and go back to Israel. Their rationale was the teaching of the Sifri that settling the Land of Israel is equal to all of the mitzvoth (commandments) in the Torah.

 

In Masechet Pesachim 50b Rav Yehuda said in the name of Rav: A person should always engage in the study of Torah and the performance of Mitzvot even though it is not Lishma (for its own sake) because from learning Torah and performing a mitzvah not for its own sake he will eventually come to learn Torah or perform a mitzvah for its own sake.

 

Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Yochanan realized that it would be better to stay in the Land of Israel since by performing the Mitzva of settling the Land they would eventually feel the holiness of the Land and all of its good attributes.

 

Different people live in Israel for different reasons and whether they realize it or not, they are all performing the Mitzvah of settling the Land of Israel.

 

Some people are like Avraham, who left his homeland to make aliya. Others are like Yitzchak who were born in Israel and lived in Israel their entire lives with no interest in leaving. The third group is like Yaakov who was born in Israel but because of the circumstances he had to leave, yet he always yearned to come back.

 

People that make aliya by choice usually appreciate that they are here (unless they had no idea what they were getting themselves into!). Others, who are born in Israel may take living here for granted and they may only appreciate the Land once they go to Chutz LaAretz.

 

As the the lyrics in the song by Cinderalla say: “Don’t Know What You Got Till It’s Gone” 

 
The Land of Israel, a Gift Given Through Suffering Print E-mail
Monday, 29 August 2011

Dedicated in Memory of Matt Fenster z”l

 

The Midrash Sifrei on the Book of Devarim states that it is a Mitzvah to settle the Land of Israel and to dwell there as it says in Devarim 12:29 (Parshat Re’eh) “and you shall drive them away and live in their Land”.

 

The full pasuk states: “When Hashem your God will cut down the nations (yachrit… et hagoyim) whom you are coming to inherit from before you (lareshet otam mipanecha) and you shall drive them away and live in their Land”.

 

Rav Saadia Gaon points out that when it says “their land” it is referring to the place that the enemies are living in. The Land of Israel is our Land that was promised to Avraham and once we conquer the Land it is eternally ours.

 

Rosh asks why it says that God will drive away our enemies followed by the words that Israel will drive them away.

 

We know that God is the one who will drive out our enemies but He wants to give the people credit as they will be physically fighting for the Land as well.

 

The Gemara in Brachot 5a quotes a Braita which states: Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai said: The Holy One, Blessed be He, gave three good gifts to Israel and He gave all of them only through suffering. They are: Torah, the Land of Israel and Olam Haba (the World to come).

 

Are we still acquiring the Land of Israel through suffering even today?

 

B.Z Meyer, in the book To Dwell in the Palace-Perspectives on Eretz Yisrael says that although Israel is no longer the wasteland that it had been in the past such as in the days of Rabbi Yehuda Halevi, there is suffering that one would probably not have in many of the countries where the immigrants come from such as bureaucratic headaches and employment crises.

 

This past week, the suffering has escalated above the regular trials and tribulations of living in Israel with rockets being shot into Israel from Gaza, even during a so called cease fire. With God’s help and the Israeli army’s “Kippat Habarzel” (Iron Dome) many of the rockets have been intercepted and the damage has been kept to a minimum.

 

May we go back to the suffering of overpriced backpacks and cottage cheese and may the only kippot that we have to know about be knitted verses velvet.

 

  

 
The Privilege To Eat Kosher Meat Print E-mail
Friday, 06 August 2010

In Parsha Re’eh, Devarim 12:20-21, B’nai Yisrael are given permission to eat unconsecrated meat-animals that are slaughtered for their meat even if they are not being brought as Korbanot (offerings): “When God will enlarge your border, as He has promised you, and you shall say, ‘I would eat meat,’ for you have a desire to eat meat, to your heart’s entire desire may you eat meat. If the place that God will choose to place His name will be far from you, you may kill from your herd and from your flock, which God has given you, in the way I have commanded you and you shall eat in your cities according to your heart’s entire desire.”

 

Rashi points out that when B’nai Yisrael were in the desert, the Mishkan (Tabernacle) was with them all of the time so they were able to bring Shlamim offerings every day if they wanted to. Now some people will live too far from the Mishkan and eventually too far from the Bet HaMikdash (Temple).

 

Ramban adds that once B’nai Yisrael are spread out throughout the Land of Israel then they can all eat meat, as long as it is slaughtered correctly, without any connection to a Korban.

 

Rashi continues that although we don’t see the laws of Shechita (ritual slaughter) in the Torah, we learn in Masechet Chulin 28a that the fact that the Torah says “commanded you” refers to the oral laws of Shechita which were passed down to Moshe on Mt. Sinai.

 

These laws of Shechita have been passed down in an unbroken chain from Mt. Sinai until today. The laws are defined in the Talmud, Masechet Chulin and in the Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 1-28.

 

Slaughtering the animal becomes a more elevated procedure as the Shochet (Ritual Slaughterer) recites the following blessing before slaughtering the animal: “Blessed are you…Who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us concerning Shechita.”

 

Nehama Leibowitz points out that “Rav Kook regarded all of the Biblical dietary laws- ritual slaughter, covering the blood etc. as designed to arouse man to the injustice committed against the animal kingdom, even to the extent of making him ashamed of his actions.”

 

In the words of Rav Kook: “The Divine instructions regulating the consumption of meat lead gradually to the desired spiritual goal. Only limited species of animals are permitted, those suited to man’s dietary requirements. Man must cover the blood, hide your shame! These actions will bear fruit and ultimately educate mankind…The very nature of the principles of ritual slaughter with their specific rules and regulations designed to reduce pain, create the atmosphere that you are not dealing with a helpless unprotected object …but with a living being.”

 

We see from here that although B’nai Yisrael are permitted to slaughter animals and eat meat, it must be done in an ethical and moral way.

    
 
The Bamot and the Destruction of Idol Worship Print E-mail
Friday, 14 August 2009

In Parshat Re’eh, right before B’nai Yisrael were about to enter the Land of Israel they were told (Devarim 12:8-10) “You shall not do everything that we do here today- every man what is proper in his eyes- for you will not yet have come to the resting place (hamenucha- Rashi: Shilo) or to the heritage (hanachala- Rashi: the Beit HaMikdash) that HaShem your God gives you. You shall cross the Jordan and settle in the Land that HaShem, your God, causes you to inherit and He will give you rest from all your enemies, all around and you will dwell securely”.

 

Rashi quoting Sifre and Tractate Zevachim 117b points out that when B’nai Yisrael would first arrive in the Land of Israel, for the first 14 years of conquest and appointment, until the Tabernacle was set up in Shilo, B’nai Yisrael were required to bring sin (chatot) and guilt offerings (ashamot) in Gilgal (a national alter was set up there). Optional promissory (nedarim) and contributory (nedavot) sacrifices were permitted to be brought either on a national alter (Gilgal) or on personal Bamah- alter.

 

Once the Mishkan was set up in Shilo (resting place), all sacrifices were to be exclusively brought there (private Bamot were no longer allowed). After the destruction of Shilo (the Tabernacle stood in Shilo for 369 years) the Tabernacle was transferred to Nov and then to Givon (that period lasted 57 years). During that time the minor bamot were again permitted. When the Beit HaMikdash (heritage) was built in Jerusalem, the Bamot became forbidden.

 

It was difficult for B’nai Yisrael to get used to not being able to bring sacrifices wherever they chose and unfortunately throughout the TaNaCh we see that it led to idol worship since B’nai Yisrael were exposed to the C’naanim bringing sacrifices to their gods wherever they wanted to. That is exactly why God warned B’nai Yisrael (Devarim 12:2-3): “You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations you are driving away worshipped their gods: on the high mountains and on the hills and under every leafy tree. You shall break apart their alters; you shall smash their pillars; and their sacred trees shall you burn in the fire; their carved images shall you cut down; and you shall obliterate their names from that place”.

 

Archeologists have found many idols that looked like they were deliberately smashed. However, B’nai Yisrael did not go far enough in trying to uproot all forms of idol worship from the Land of Israel and in the end many including King Solomon’s wives actually got sucked up in idol worship themselves.

 
 
All Israelis are “Settlers” Print E-mail
Wednesday, 27 August 2008

In Parshat Re’eh, we read over and over again about the mitzvah of “Yishuv Eretz Yisrael”, the commandment to live in the Land of Israel:

 

Devarim 11:31: “For you shall pass across the Jordan to come to inherit the Land that HaShem your God is giving you; you will inherit it and you will dwell in it (viyshavtem bah)”.

 

Devarim 12:10: “When you cross the Jordan and settle in the Land (viyshavtem bah) that HaShem your God is apportioning to you and He has granted you peace from all of your enemies around and you will live secure (viyshavtem betach)”.

 

Devarim 12:29: “When HaShem your God will have eliminated the nations whom you are coming there to inherit from before you; and you inherit them and dwell in their Land (viyashavtem biartzam)”.

 

In Sifri Re’eh we read the story about Rabbi Eliezer ben Shamua and Rabbi Yochanan HaSandlar who left Israel to study Torah. When they got to Tyre, they remembered the Land of Israel and began to cry. They tore their clothing and read the above quotes about settling the Land of Israel. They went back to Israel and proclaimed that the mitzvah of settling the Land of Israel is equal to all of the other mitzvoth put together.

 

We learn in the Gemara in Pesachim 50b: “Rabbi Yehuda said in the name of Rav: A person should always engage in the study of Torah and the performance of mitzvoth even though it is not for its own sake (lo lishma) because from learning Torah and performing a mitzvah not for its own sake, he will eventually come to learn Torah or perform a mitzvah for its own sake (ba lishma)”.

 

Rabbi Shaul Yedidya Elazar Mimodzitz explains that a person should live in the Land of Israel even if it is not “lishma” (for its own sake) since the more time that he spends in the Land of Israel and feels the holiness it will eventually become “lishma” for its own sake.

 

What we learn from here is that every Israeli whether they realize it or not is actually a “settler”, observing the mitzvah of settling the Land of Israel.    

 
Why is there Poverty in the World? Print E-mail
Tuesday, 07 August 2007

In Parshat Re’eh we find two seemingly contradictory psukim:

Devarim 15:4 “End poverty so that there will be no one destitute among you when God will surely bless you in the Land that God is giving you to inherit”.

Devarim 15:11 “The destitute will not cease to exist within the Land, therefore I am commanding you saying, ‘Open your hand generously to your brother, to your poor and to your destitute in your Land’”.

According to Ramban, poverty will only cease to exist if the mitzvoth are observed. Since there will be generations where some people will not be observing the mitzvoth, there will be some poor people and therefore God must emphasize the importance of giving those people Tzedakah.

Rabbi Yehuda ben Moyal who lived in Morocco in the 19th century and died in

Jerusalem wrote a book called Shevet Yehuda which dealt with the issue of poverty. Rabbi Ben Moyal noted that the wealthy are not wealthy beacuse they are better (have better values etc.) than the poor people. As we know very well, there are horrible wealthy people and wonderful poor people and visa versa. Even a Tzadik (righteous person) can be poor if that is the "mazal" that God determined when he was born.

According to Rabbi ben Moyal, the impoverished are not poor because they did not observe the mitzvot. A wealthy person who thinks that the poor person should just deal with the lot that God gave him and therefore will not give him any Tzedakah (charity) is not following the laws of tzedakah and is actually causing that person to become even poorer than God intended, even destitute.

Rabbi ben Moyal adds that a wealthy person is meant to give Tzedakah. If he doesn't, it is as if he is stealing from the poor. When he does give, he shouldn't act like he is so terrific, since it is his obligation. When he gives tzedakah he should do it with a full heart and say I am giving because it is my obligation. If everyone gave what they should then there would be no poverty- that is to say that the poor people would not become rich, but they would be able to get by.

God wants us to work it out amongst ourselves.

As Rosh Chodesh Elul approaches lets keep in mind the words from the High Holiday Prayer Service: “U’teshuva (repentance) u’tefillah (prayer) u’tzedakah (charity) ma’avirin et roa Ha’gzerah (can transform the bad decree)”.

 Let’s do what we can to eliminate poverty in Israel and throughout the world!

 
Never Give Up! Print E-mail
Thursday, 17 August 2006

Parshat Re'eh, Devarim 12:10-12 states: "When you cross the Jordan and settle in the land that God gave is apportioning to you, and has granted you peace from all of your enemies around, and you will live secure. Let it be that the place where God chooses to place his presence therein (The Beit HaMikdash in Jerusalem) there shall you bring your sacrifices.You are to rejoice in the presence of your God, you and your sons and your daughters.""

Thursday evening in Jerusalem we were able to fulfill part of this prophecy. With the cease fire earlier this week, a sense of peace and security in the land began to emerge.

On Thursday evening two hundred people, Israelis and tourists, men, women and children of all ages gathered in Jerusalem to sing and dance at a concert in solidarity with the residents of Northern Israel.

The band members of Simply Tsfat actually live in Tsfat as well as our opening act "Banjo Billy" and an artist who sold works from his gallery which had no customers over the past month. As we all know, Safed and many of the other Northern communities have been devastated by rocket fire and have in essence been "Closed for Business" for the past month with no income from tourists who would normally be all over this part of Israel during the summer.

The band brought an upbeat tempo and told stories of how they kept their spirits high even in the face of much danger. Some of the songs Simply Tsfat sang this evening were a real testament to this. Songs such as "Don't be Sad", "Never Give Up" and "Be Happy" echoed through the hall and we all danced and sang together as one people, one nation.

Torat Reva Yerushalayim would like to thank the generous sponsors who made this special uplifting evening possible!

Let's hope and pray that we will be granted true peace from all of our enemies and that we will live securely in our land.

 
Allusions to Jerusalem in the Torah Print E-mail
Thursday, 08 December 2005

Jerusalem is never mentioned in the Torah (the chumash), it is only alluded to. Many allusions to Jerusalem can be found in Parshat Re'eh, including Dvarim 12:5-6: "To the place that God shall choose from all of your tribes to put His name, there shall you seek Him at His dwelling and there shall you come: and there shall you bring your burnt offerings and your sacrifices."

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan points out three reasons that the Rambam, Maimonides gives for why Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Torah.

  1. If the nations of the world knew where God's holy place would be, they may have taken it over immediately.
  2. Those who were ruling Jerusalem at the time may have made it a spiritual center for idol worship.
  3. There may have been fighting within B'nai Yisrael. The tribes may have fought over why one tribe was chosen over another to have Jerusalem within it's borders.

God waited until there was a king in place who would hopefully be able to avert these problems.

Today, we are facing many of the same challenges. We are struggling for the right to hold on to Jerusalem. Jews are not free to pray on the Temple Mount and we are fighting amongst ourselves over who has monopoly over the Kotel (Western Wall).

We need political and religious leaders today that will stand up for Jerusalem as the undivided capitol of Israel, a place where all Jews are free to pray whenever, wherever and however they choose.