It really hit home when you pointed out that on Yom Kippur G-d forgives us with a smile and loving embrace.
On the exalted Purim day, my husband collects money for needy families, as is the custom of many good-hearted Jews. Last Purim before sundown, he entered the home of his last stop, a home filled with many people. Upon receiving some generous donations, he reached for his pocket to keep these contributions safely together with the rest of the money he had gathered. To his great chagrin and shock, he put his hand into an empty pocket.
There are lots of back seat drivers at the Seder. Your kezayit (portion) of matzah is not big enough, they chide. Red wine only; shmurah matzot or nothing; don’t start the Seder before nightfall; must finish the meal before midnight; don’t drink wine between the four cups; the Seder plate set in the wrong order. This article is intended as a defensible guide for the brave volunteer who leads the Seder (the ba’al haseder).
In this week’s parshah, Hashem commands Avraham in the mitzvah of bris milah. The pasuk says that if one does not perform a bris he will be chayav kares. The Rambam writes in Hilchos Milah (1:2) that one who did not have a bris milah performed when he was a child must do so when he is an adult. He is mevatel a mitzvas assei every day that he delays doing so.
You thought that the Flood, the Mabul, was something that happened a long time ago. I did too—until I saw the Radak on a pasuk in this week’s haftarah. “For this to Me is like the waters of Noach. Just as I swore that the waters of Noach shall never again pass on to the earth, so too I swore never to be completely irate or fume at you.’ (Yeshaya 54:9)
The world was created soooo long ago that we can feel like it’s “old news.” But by just opening our eyes and seeing the amazing design of the natural world around us, we can feel like we have front-rows seats to creation. Hashem made the world and everything in it -- including us -- with a master plan. By tuning in to the awesome design in everything around us, we can feel connected to that plan and to Him.
Though history offers no hard and fast laws like we find in physics, it does provide us with some guidelines. One of the most important is that when it comes to making plans, “the enemy gets a vote” or as Winston Churchill put it: “However absorbed a commander may be in the elaboration of his own thoughts, it is necessary sometimes to take the enemy into consideration.”
It’s 12:30 on a Yom Tov, Monday morning. You are about to leave the synagogue for the third day in a row. As you look around, you notice, even as you try to ignore it, a certain wilting of the spirit. A belabored pace. How good you felt on Friday night, with the onset of Shabbat. An effortless serenity set in then.
Chaim had an old car that he would regularly rent to the fellows of his kollel for a nominal fee. Moshe asked if he could use the car for the afternoon to do a couple of shopping errands. "With pleasure," Chaim said. "However, before you take the car, I'd like you to read this statement of terms."
Question: We find coronets on top of certain letters in the Torah – namely shin, ayin, tet, nun, zayin, gimmel and tzaddi. What purpose, if any, do they serve? Menachem (Via E-Mail)
An Expression Unique in Shas “I Am Neither Wise…” (Pesachim 105b)
Hashem appeared to Noach and told him the world had turned to wicked ways and was to be destroyed by a deluge. Hashem commanded Noach to build a teivah, an ark, so that he and his family would be saved.
It is important to note that not all names may be designated. There is, for example, a tradition that Ashkenazic Jews do not name their children after a living person. Yet, neither the Bible nor the Talmud make any reference to this prohibition. Indeed, just the opposite. The Lubavitcher Rebbe (Sha’arei Halacha U’Minhag, Yoreh De’ah, Volume III, p.298) notes that from verses in Genesis (See Genesis 11:24-26) it is evident that Terach (father of Abraham) named his son Nachor during the lifetime of his father, Nachor.
The Rambam writes in Hilchos Melachim 9:1 that Adam HaRishon was commanded in six mitzvos, and Noach was commanded in a seventh. Adam was commanded to not do the following: worship avodah zarah, curse Hashem, kill, gilui arayos, and steal. He was also commanded to set up a court system. In addition to those commands, Noach was commanded not to eat from ever min hachai (a limb detached from a live animal).
When we give to others we are only returning that which He gave us.
Meital and Aharon, married for several years, were thrilled to discover that Meital was pregnant. But within a few hours of their son’s birth, it was painfully apparent that things were far from all right medically.
After davening on Hoshana Rabbah, Mr. Hadar fondly packed away his esrog. "Maybe I'll fill it with cloves and use it for spices at Havdalah," he thought. "Or maybe I'll make jelly out of it."
Over the last several years, a number of European countries have outlawed shechitah (Jewish ritual slaughter). The latest, disturbingly, is Poland where shechitah opponents portray it as being cruel. Is there anything that we in the Jewish community can do to counter this trend? Jay Alt (Via E-Mail)
Designating proper names for one’s children is not always easy. When my wife, Shoshana, gave birth to our first child in Chicago – a girl – she informed me that according to tradition, the wife is entitled to name the first child. I didn’t agree, but recognizing that this was her tradition and not wishing to cause any controversy or anguish, I readily submitted.
He Might Extinguish It ‘A Torch Is The Best Way Of Performing The Mitzvah’ (Pesachim 103b)
We really are a bunch of schnorrers.
Could we understand the history of Israel without its prehistory, the stories of Abraham and Sarah and their children?
Overtime proved to be as tense and white-knuckled as the fourth quarter. Halfway through, New London grabbed a defensive rebound and charging toward their basket when Monona’s forward poked away the ball and broke away. In a slick maneuver he managed to split the defense and went up virtually slamming it to give Monona Grove the lead.
The incessant loud knocking on the door startled me from my brief reverie. My husband had left to attend a chassanah in Yerushalayim just moments earlier, the kids were comfortably tucked into bed, and I was spending a quiet evening at home tackling sundry neglected tasks. The sudden pounding and muffled voices soon interrupted my plans for the lonely hours that beckoned. I hurried to answer the door while drying my hands on a kitchen towel haphazardly draped over my shoulder.