Kenneth Cohen

Jewish Unity

The Haftarah for Shabbat Chol Hamoed, comes from Chapter thirty-seven of the Book of Yechezkel. It speaks of the valley of dry bones.

The prophet describes the miraculous event of seeing lifeless bones, once again arise and become human again. The prophecy can be understood to be speaking of the period of the resurrection of the dead, which is a basic foundation of Judaism.

But it can also refer to a period of time such as ours, where there are countless numbers of Jews that are totally ignorant of their Judaism. Their knowledge of what it means to be a Jew, is very weak. These people that are almost dead to Judaism, will one day be revived, and they will have a Jewish awakening.

It is interesting to note that the continuation of that chapter, speaks of a prerequisite for this miraculous period to take place.

The prophet has a vision of two pieces of wood. One piece of wood has the name, “Efraim” on it, while the other has the name, “Yehuda.”

There will come a time when the two pieces of wood will become one. This represents absolute Jewish Unity, when we truly become one nation.

Divisiveness brings harm to our people from the outside. When the Jews stood as one people at Mount Sinai, they created a wall of protection, where no force on earth could harm them. In these troubled times, we must find a way to create similar Jewish Unity. Not only will we achieve Divine protection, but we might bring back to life our own “valley of dry bones.”

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at