Rabbi Jonathan Tawil

Vaera 5780

PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE!   The Gemara (Bava Metzia 85a) tells how R’ Chiya taught Torah to young children.   He would plant flax, spin thread from the flax, weave nets, trap animals, skin the animals, and make parchment from their hides, upon which the words of the Torah would be inscribed. Our Sages ask […]

Shemot 5780

Share the pain!     The Gemara Sotah (11a) tells us that Pharaoh had three advisers: Yitro, Iyov and Bilam. Pharaoh wished to decide how to deal with the Israelite “problem”. He sought the opinion of each of his three advisers.   Bilam was an evil man and relished the prospect of eradicating the Jewish […]

Vayechi 5780

Parasha insights   As we complete the first book of the Torah we are left with a subconscious message hinted throughout the Parasha. It all begins with the name of this week’s Parasha – Vayechi. In essence the Parasha relates Yaakov’s last years and final blessing to his children. After passing away and a national […]

Vayigash 5780

Shema Yisrael! Twenty two long years have passed and finally Yosef meets his father: “He [Yosef] fell on his [father’s] neck, and wept exceedingly” (46:29). Yosef poured out his heart in a sea of tears at the emotional release of seeing his father after so many years. Yaakov’s reaction, however, is not mentioned at all. […]

Vayeishev 5780

Just say No!   Imagine one of those typical days in London. The clouds are heavy, the wind is strong and the rain doesn’t stop falling. You come into work after having fought with the wind, your umbrella broken and your coat drenched. Just then the door opens and a colleague of yours walks in. […]

Vayislach 5780

Where was Dina? Yaakov was preparing for his encounter with Esav. He transferred the entire family across the river. Yet the Torah seems to miss out the mention of one person – Dina. Rashi (32:23) commenting on the transfer, states that Dina was hidden by Yaakov in a box. Yaakov didn’t want Esav to set […]

Vayeitzei 5780

Parasha Insights After seven years of working hard for Lavan in order to marry his daughter Rachel, and eager to build the next block in Am Yisrael, Yaakov awakens in the morning and is stunned to find out that he has been tricked and instead married Leah! Our Sages (Midrash Rabah, Bereishit) bring an interesting […]

Toldot 5780

Sons and Fathers   A Rabbi said to a precocious six-year-old boy, “So, you tell me that your mother says your prayers for you each night. That’s very commendable. What does she actually say?” The little boy replied, “Thank G-d he’s in bed!” Leading a life in the 21st century as a parent is never […]

Chayei Sarah 5780

PRAYER Praying isn’t as easy at it seems. Sometimes we pray for something for years and never seem to be answered, yet on other occasions we can see immediate success in our prayers. In this week’s parsha we learn of one of the greatest prayers in history; that of Eliezer. Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai said, […]

Vayera 5780

THANKS TO HASHEM Thanking G-d at every stage in your life is important. In the olden days the Mizbeach (altar) represented the place in which a person could offer up thanks to Hashem. At the end of this week’s Parsha, the Torah tells us that Avraham built a Mizbeach upon which to sacrifice his son, […]

Lech Lecha 5780

Lobster   The lobster is a soft mushy animal that lives inside a solid shell. That rigid shell doesn’t expand. So how does the lobster grow? As the lobster grows it feels under pressure of its shell. It goes under a rock to protect itself from predatory fish, casts off its shell and produces another […]

Noach 5780

Unity Late June 1976; passengers boarding Air France flight 139 discover it is now stopping in Athens en route to Paris. Some, like George and Rivka Karfunkel don’t want to board; Athens airport was renowned for its terrible security; indeed it was from this very airport a plane was hijacked in 1970. But their luggage […]