When one studies Talmud, it is easy to forget that Sages quoted on the same page may actually have lived hundreds of years and hundreds of miles apart. A question posed by a third-century scholar in Israel might be answered by a fifth-century scholar in Babylonia. As is to be expected, these two great centers of Torah study developed in slightly different ways; there was even healthy competition between the two.
Memo issued by Religious Services Ministry forbids practice of barring women from eulogizing loved ones, accompanying the dead to grave sites. The result of a concerted effort by Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat, the document stipulates that as long as the family agrees women can fully participate in funerals.
After forty years of wandering in the desert, the Jewish people were finally ready to enter the land of Israel. Their experience in the desert and the raising of a new generation would enable them to confidently enter the land. Yet the desert served not only as physical training ground for the Jewish people, but also as spiritual training for the future, much of which would be lived outside the land of Israel.
"If you really want to do me a kindness... act towards me with truth and kindness and do not bury me in Egypt" (47:29). So begins Yaakov's exhortation to Yosef as he realizes that the end is near. Though Yosef promised to carry out his father's request, Yaakov was not yet satisfied and demanded that Yosef take an oath that he would do as Yaakov asked.
Rav Soloveitchik was asked why our generation was the one to merit witnessing the creation of the State of Israel. After all, there were so many generations much more pious than ours, so much more worthy than us. The Rav answered, simply, that our generation needed it. Previous generations were able to flourish in their Judaism even without the benefit of a state. But after the horrors of the Holocaust, Jewish life simply could not continue, physically or spiritually, without a homeland.
Names play a significant role in Jewish thought. A cursory glance at the names given to the twelve tribes signifies the importance of each name. Noach, Moshe, and Yitzchak had their names chosen to commemorate events surrounding their births. And of course, the Torah records many instances where a name was changed, signifying a change in the status of the person. Of our three patriarchs, Abraham and Yaakov both had their names changed by G-d. Only Yitzchak remained Yitzchak his entire life.