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2 Shevat 5778 -
? Thursday, January 18, 2018


Leading to Greatness

The exchange was brief and simple in its content, yet profound in its implications. One morning this past summer, I davened at a shul in Passaic, New Jersey. Passaic was our new home as of mid-July, following nearly a decade of school leadership in other communities. After tefillah, I opened a conversation with someone who had also just concluded his tenure as a principal out of state. He informed me he had left the field of education entirely and had moved to the tri-state area to go into business with a relative. In the course of our talk, he mentioned that another colleague, also young by comparative standards, was not returning to the school he had helped found out west.

The Rabbi Wore Battle Fatigues

During the Yom Kippur War and its immediate aftermath, Rav Amital would travel from base to base, visiting his students. His frequent visits brought him into close contact with senior IDF commanders, and soon after the war he was asked by the upper command echelons of the IDF to be the rabbinic liaison between the army and the hesder yeshivot. The military even allowed him unfettered entry, in uniform, into IDF camps.

Best of Times, Worst of Times

As the Torah teaches, poverty will never be eradicated, nor will our obligation to assist those in need.

War and Sukkos

They were lining up for gas masks in Israel. Apparently, at the very time of year we are supposed to be full of simcha, Hashem wants us to be aware of the possibility of danger. Indeed, during the Yom Tov of Sukkos, we read cataclysmic haftaras dealing with the ultimate war, the Milchemes Gog Umagog. Where does that war take place? In the Holy Land, of course, where the eyes of the world are always focused.

Fractured Man, Whole Man

A fisherman living near the banks of a river was making his way home one evening, exhausted from his long labors. As he trudged along the path, he dreamed of what his life might be like if he were suddenly rich. Just then, his foot brushed against a leather pouch. He picked it up only to discover it filled with small stones. Falling back into his reverie, he absent-mindedly began throwing the pebbles into the water.

Tapping Into Our Meritorious Past

Throughout our nation’s long history we have resided in countless countries and lived under numerous governmental regimes. For the most part, our existence in the diaspora has been difficult at best, intolerable at worst.

The Shofar’s Unifying Blasts

Achdus, unity, is a term that warms the heart. It is an ideal we all aspire to achieve but often find so elusive.

Strategies Of Jewish Survival

For two thousand years, Jews exiled from their homeland and lacking political sovereignty were easy targets for elitist rulers on the right and the pseudo-egalitarian mob on the left. When Emancipation came and Jews exited the ghettos, Jewish self-made pitfalls were no less horrific, as many embraced the trendy “isms” of secular society only to spiritually assimilate and disappear from history. Yet despite the persecutions, on the one hand, and the enticements of some host countries’ cultures, on the other, the Jewish nation lives.

My Generation: It’s All Right Or It’s All Wrong

Do you know what you are? I, for one, am not sure what to make of myself. Recently, while filling out a questionnaire on an Orthodox-content website, I was asked to identify myself by choosing one of several options – haredi, chassidish, Lubavitch, yeshivish, Sephardic, or Modern Orthodox.

The Incredibly Shrinking Rabbinate

With the constant drumbeat of articles about “Orthodox” female rabbis appearing in the media almost weekly – essentially the same articles making the same points to the same eager audience, all to make the phenomenon of such “rabbis” seem commonplace – it is important to take a step back and examine how we arrived at this destination.

Egypt Is Not The Problem

At the mikveh they were discussing Egypt. So many things seem to be unraveling. It’s not just Egypt but the entire Middle East. No, it’s not just the Middle East; it’s the entire world.

Divided Loyalty, Again?

Eighty years ago, in January 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany. Barely a month later Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated president of the United States. For the next twelve years, until their deaths eighteen days apart in April 1945, they personified the horrors of dictatorship and the blessings of democracy.

Gratitude Is Good For The Soul

A thousand years ago, the great Rabbi Sa’adia Gaon taught that our Torah is reasonable and that the human intellect, by itself, can discover the great truths taught in Scripture. Given enough time and brilliance, the human mind can, unaided, arrive at the precepts and concepts revealed by God at Sinai.

Bringing Hashem Back Into Our Midst: A Tisha B’Av Message

We are still in galus. Another year has gone by, a difficult year in many ways, but Mashiach has not yet arrived, the Beis HaMikdash has not yet been rebuilt and we are still languishing in exile.

Holy Garments: Reflections on the IDF Uniform

A Jerusalem chassidic rabbi banned uniformed IDF soldiers from his group’s study halls, synagogues and yeshivas.

Jeremiah: The Fate of a Prophet

The prophet Jeremiah lived in the dark, tumultuous period that led to the destruction of the first Temple in 586 BCE. He lived a painful journey from hopeful youth who dreamed of the reunification of the kingdoms to rejected prophet who tried desperately to eradicate the corruption and social injustice rampant in society.

‘And A Little Child Shall Lead Them’

If the eyes are the window to the soul, then children’s eyes are the window to the Almighty Himself.

Seeking Unity In The Ranks Of Israel

In every society there is always an internal struggle between individual liberty and collective responsibility. It exists here in the United States, in the form of mandated jury service, for example, and it is at the forefront in Israel where the raging debate regarding mandatory conscription for military service touches on all aspects of societal existence, including religion, economics, and notions of equality.

The World According To Ralph Peters

Ralph Peters is a jack of many trades and master of them all. He is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, a writer of both fiction and non-fiction (his newest novel, “Hell or Richmond,” set during the Civil War, has just been released) and a military analyst. A columnist for the New York Post since 2002, Peters has written for USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and numerous other publications. He also serves as a Fox News strategic analyst. The Jewish Press spoke with Peters on a variety of issues.

Why Human Rights Reporting On Israel Lacks Credibility

A just-released Israeli commission report vehemently disputes the France 2 video made in 2000 of a Palestinian father and his son crouching for shelter from bullets allegedly fired by Israeli soldiers. This is a media controversy but it parallels the decades-long dispute between Israel and the human rights organizations that have issued reports on violent clashes in the West Bank, Gaza, and Lebanon. Simply, the reporting process on these confrontations has broken down.

Who’s Watching The Store? Self-Regulation In Kashrut

To eat is to live – to keep our physical bodies alive. For without the body, there is nothing. No experience. No memory. No joy and no hardship. But man, unlike animals, eats to live and to enjoy. So how should a Jew respond when he is challenged as to why he imposes upon himself not just ceremonies dedicated to the enjoyment of eating but even more to the limiting of what he can eat?

The Egg: A Yom Yov Metaphor

What is the relationship between Pesach and Shavuos? Rabbi Naftali Jaeger, rosh yeshiva of Sh’or Yoshuv, relates in the name of the Ishbitzer Rebbe a striking metaphor:

What Old Folks Can Teach Us

Several weeks ago my wife, Chavi, and I attended the sad funeral of Mrs. Martha Melohn a”h. Besides being a dear friend of Chavi’s, Mrs. Melohn was the matriarch of a very well-known philanthropic family. This is not the place for a full-fledged eulogy of this remarkable woman, but I begin this article with reflections on a conversation I had with her just several months before her unfortunate demise.

The Religious Zionism Of Rav Soloveitchik

There are two key questions to consider when examining Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik’s relationship with Religious Zionism. The first is why the Rav was so firmly anti-Zionist when he arrived in America. The second is how the impact of the Holocaust and birth of Israel caused the Rav to fundamentally change his perspective.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt

FDR’s Jewish Problem – And Its Japanese Link

A pattern of private remarks about Jews made by Roosevelt may explain why 190,000 immigration spots were left unfilled despite the plight of European Jury.

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