Author Archives: Michal Kohane

The Land of Milk & Yummy – Torah Portion of Ekev

Food and drink are so central in our lives that we hardly give it a second thought. What matters, we tell ourselves, is “doing good”, “being kind”, “tikkun olam” etc etc. And food? It’s just a tool; something we do … Continue reading

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Chicken Soup for Shabbat Nachamu…

As Tish’a Be’Av nears its end, the daily Talmud page brings an encounter of a group of sages from Israel and Babylon who tease each other over their different foods. It’s best to just look at it in the original … Continue reading

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Rereading a famous story: Shabbat before the 9th of Av, 2020

My quiet hometown Haifa recently made the news for renaming one of its streets Umm Kulthum, after one of Egypt’s greatest singers, songwriters, and film actresses, known as “The Voice of Egypt”, “Egypt’s Fourth Pyramid” and Kawkab al-Sharq, the “Star … Continue reading

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Journey or Arrival? Matot-Masei, Rabbi Akiva & Rachel (עברית + English)

Probably the best “Love Story” in the Talmud is that of Rabbi Akiva and Rachel, the daughter of the wealthy Kalba Savua, who asked the poor shepherd to marry her on condition that he would study Torah. The gentle and … Continue reading

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Five Daughters (Pinchas) and upcoming classes

Corona days 2020: an article somewhere states that for some, shul is like a coffee shop, and should have that high of a priority when considering what should be or stay open nowadays. That high? What does that say about … Continue reading

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Shabbat Balak – turning curses to blessings, then and now

Such a good Shabbat it is, when the Torah portions of the Diaspora and Eretz Yisrael come together. Such a good Shabbat when the daf, the daily page, is full of stories that feel like from my kids’ children’s books, … Continue reading

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Chukat: Vahev & Suphah – Love and Dispute – ?

Just like that, between last week and this one (actually between chapter 19 and 20) Almost 40 years have gone by. The People are inching towards the Promised Land, experiencing amazing feats, and among it all, a seemingly insignificant few … Continue reading

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Korach, his congregation & the Hope

כָּל מַחֲלֹקֶת שֶׁהִיא לְשֵׁם שָׁמַיִם, סוֹפָהּ לְהִתְקַיֵּם. וְשֶׁאֵינָהּ לְשֵׁם שָׁמַיִם, אֵין סוֹפָהּ לְהִתְקַיֵּם. אֵיזוֹ הִיא מַחֲלֹקֶת שֶׁהִיא לְשֵׁם שָׁמַיִם, זוֹ מַחֲלֹקֶת הִלֵּל וְשַׁמַּאי. וְשֶׁאֵינָהּ לְשֵׁם שָׁמַיִם, זוֹ מַחֲלֹקֶת קֹרַח וְכָל עֲדָתוֹ: Every dispute that is for the sake of Heaven, … Continue reading

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Have you looked to the sky today? הסתכלת לשמים היום? Tractate Shabbat 98-99

The Talmud as a painter; or photographer; seeing images and speaking in pictures… so often the discussion is legalistic and detailed, hard to follow and tedious, then suddenly, an a gentle portrait. We’re talking about carrying between one domain and … Continue reading

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Shabbat Naso-Be’ha’alotcha: more than nothing

He was 8 years old at the time; his dad a reputable businessman with several academic and professional degrees. They went out for ice-cream and games in the park, telling imaginary stories and enjoying music on the radio, both decently … Continue reading

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