• Israeli journalist Sivan Rahav-Meir - One of the most influential and brightest media and biblical commentators | Photo: Wikimedia Commons by Amihai Bannett

Accessing the Treasure Within

Tal Hartuv - 24 January 2023

One of the most influential and brightest media and biblical commentators, is the Israeli journalist Sivan Rahav-Meir. Her writings on the weekly Torah portion reach thousands. Her voice is one that is respected throughout the country. Rahav-Meir was even voted the most popular female media and religious personality in Israel, which is no small achievement due to the leanings of Israel towards a culturally patriarchal society.

Sivan’s journey – from a secular home in a town just outside Tel Aviv, to becoming a leading voice of the Religious Zionist community is nothing short of remarkable. She did not grow up in a religious family. Instead, she was raised on the outskirts of secular Tel Aviv. At the tender age of six, she began writing for children’s magazines and recognized as a prodigy was soon sent to a school for gifted children.

“Sivan’s journey – is nothing short of remarkable”

As she worked her way through school, Rahav-Meir snatched up opportunities to interview Israeli giants such as Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres. Before she was even 18, she had earned a degree in Political Science and Management. It was during her studies at university when she was invited to a Shabbat meal that her life changed. She describes that first Shabbat as an almost magical experience. It was enough for her to decide that from now on, for the rest of her life, the once-secular Rahav-Meir, was going to keep Shabbat. It was her understanding that the responsibility to keep the Torah rests with everyone, including her, which brought about her personal commitment to live a fully religious Jewish life.

Yitzhak Rabin and Sivan Rahav-Meir in 1992 | Photo: Wikimedia Commons by Nachoom Assis

After completing the army in which she was posted at the army radio station, she was offered a job at Israel’s pre-eminent TV station. During her work for the channel, she concurrently wrote a column for Israel’s biggest tabloid. But for the hungry and driven Rahav-Meir this was not enough. She decided to start giving weekly Torah class to singles living in a neighbourhood of Jerusalem. The classes became so popular that soon they were broadcast live on Facebook and YouTube.

“Rahav-Meir simple message: “We must stop being spiritually poor and return to the treasure within.””

Somehow, she finds time to raise her five children. For Sivan, her family comes first. Up before sunrise to pray, she rarely succeeds in being in bed before after midnight. Her relentless drive is inspired by the unbroken generations of Jewish study and culture – a culture and tradition which has kept the Jewish people for thousands of years. Rahav-Meir has a simple message. “We must stop being spiritually poor”, she tells her thousands of students. “We must return to the treasure within.”

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