“And there was a famine in the land, aside from the first famine that was in the days of Avraham...And G-d appeared to him [Yitzchak] and said: Do not go down to Egypt, dwell in the land that I will tell you” (Breisheet 26:1-2).
The time has come for new leadership. “I am no longer able to come and go, and G-d has told me you will not cross the Jordan” (Devarim 31:2). While the people complained plenty about Moshe's leadership, clearly they were very nervous about him leaving the scene. Moshe reassured the people that all will be fine with Yehoshua, and that he, too, will have Divine assistance in his mission.
“Do not desecrate My holy name. I must be sanctified among the Israelites" (Vayikra 22:31).
The holiday of Chanukah is a most beloved one. Lighting the candles is the only mitzvah that has, built into its performance, a three-tiered system: what we may call good, better and best. We begin with the basic mitzvah of one candle per household on each of the eight nights of Chanukah. We may opt for the more beautified version, mehadrin, where we light candles according to the number of people in the home on each night.
“G-d said to Avram, go away from your county, your birthplace and your father’s home, to the land that I will show you” (Breisheet 12:1). While it is self-evident that Avraham would take his wife with him, it is not at all obvious that his nephew Lot would or should accompany him. Perhaps it was precisely his family—parents, sibling, cousins, nieces and nephews— that he must leave behind in order to establish a great nation in a faraway land.
Sefer Breisheet begins with the grandeur of creation, detailing the many new life forms, and with great hope for the human race. This hope was to be short-lived, with story after story of man's pettiness and propensity for evil. By the end of the book, the theme is that of death, and the stage is set for the enslavement of the Jewish people.
“[Then journeyed] the flag of the camp of Dan m'aseif, the gatherer, of all the camps” (10:25). As the Jewish people prepared to march to the land of Israel—no one imagined it would take forty years until they would arrive—they formed a precise pattern with four groups of three tribes each, with the tribe of Levi and the mishkan in the middle of the camp.
In order to be effective, leaders must be sensitive to the feelings and concerns of the general populace. It is not only fact, but also perception that matters. Leaders must have higher ethical standards, and they must also be seen by the public in this light. Any perception (especially if it's true!) that they are above the law renders their moral leadership compromised.
“Reish Lakish said: It was well known beforehand to Him at whose word the world came into being that Haman would one day pay shekels for the destruction of Israel. Therefore, He anticipated his shekels with the [half] shekel of Israel. And so we have learned, on the first of Adar, we announce [the obligation of giving] shekalim” (Megillah 13b).
“And G-d said to Abram, ‘Go forth from your land, your birthplace and the land of your fathers’” (Breisheet 12:1). With nary a word, Abram picks himself up and, along with his wife and nephew, departs for an unknown land. Yet his stay there is short, as soon afterwards famine ensues and Abram descends to the land of Egypt.