Rabbi Yitzchak Zilber zt’l was a legendary leader of Russian Jewry for over three decades. He remained resolutely firm in his faith and practiced Torah and mitzvos throughout his arduous years behind the Iron Curtain, even in the brutality of a Russian Labor Camp. His autobiography, To Remain a Jew is his incredible account of how he remained faithful to G-d even under the most trying circumstances. The following is just one anecdote recorded in the book:
The Case Of The Stumbling Block (Pesachim 37b-38a)
Question: The famous Iggeret of Rav Sherira Gaon references Yerushalmi Kilaim 9:3 and Kesubos 12:3 and states that Rabbi Judah the Prince descended from Hillel who, in turn, descended from the tribe of Binyamin – not Yehudah. The Iggeret also discusses how the Mishnah was written and how Rabbi Judah worked on it. Had Menachem read this Iggeret by Rav Sherira Gaon – who, incidentally, was a direct descendant of King David – I don’t think he would have asked his question. Yehuda T. (Via E-Mail)
One of the more unusual aspects of being a chief rabbi is that one comes to know people one otherwise might not.
Rabbi Dayan walked into class and greeted his students. "Good morning! We're nearing the very end of Bava Kama," he announced. "Today we begin the final topic, b'ezras Hashem."
It is wise not to react to everything you see or hear.
In this week’s parshah we derive the mitzvah of birchas hamazon from the pasuk of “v’achalta v’savata u’veirachta” (Devarim 8:10). This mitzvah is to recite three berachos mi’de’oraisa and one mi’de’rabbanan after one eats bread made from the five grains (wheat, spelt, oats, rye, and barley).
It took a few months, but I finally summoned up what little koach I had to go to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, zt”l, for “Sunday Dollars.” I wanted to take my new baby to the Rebbe. Although he was about three months old at the time, I had not been strong enough until now to attempt a trip to 770 Eastern Parkway.
In 1992 the Dallas Cowboys won Super Bowl XXVII. Among the members of the team was a young Jewish man named Alan Veingrad. Alan, now Shlomo, became frum several years later and found a much more significant calling: as an in-demand speaker he captivates Jewish and non-Jewish audiences around the world with lessons from his football days and from his teshuva journey.
Ah, Shabbos Nachamu! Finally the three weeks of mourning have finished, and the seven-week period of comforting, of nechama, has begun. We breathe a sigh of relief and life goes back to normal. But wait a minute – it doesn’t seem like anything has changed!
The biblical covenant has the same literary structure as ancient near eastern political treaties.
Examine your life and recite Psalm 100 – the Psalm of Thanksgiving. Yes, you have many things to be grateful for and rejoice in.
We popularly refer to the eight-day period, from the fifteenth through the twenty second of Nissan, as the festival of Pesach. The Torah, however, calls this period Chag HaMatzot, during which time we eat matzot and abstain from eating chametz.
In this week’s parshah and in Parshas Re’eh the Torah commands us not to add to the mitzvos or lessen them (bal tosif and bal tigra). For example, the Gemara in Sanhedrin 88b says that one may not have five parshios in his tefillin or five different species together with his lulav. The Ramban in Parshas Re’eh says that the pasuk in this week’s parshah is the main prohibition and the pasuk in Re’eh is referring to the korbanos.
Chametz On Shabbos Erev Pesach (Pesachim 32a)
Question: I have numerous questions about Kiddush Levanah. First, why is this prayer called Kiddush Levanah? Shouldn’t it be called Chiddush Levanah considering that the prayer concerns the renewal – not the sanctification – of the moon? Second, why do we greet each other with the words Shalom Aleichem at Kiddush Levanah and why do we repeat the greeting three times? Is it because we have not seen a new moon for a whole month? Third, why does Kiddush Levanah – and other prayers – contain verses (aside from the Shalom Aleichem greeting) that we are supposed to say three times? Please elaborate on this mitzvah. Ira Warshansky (Via E-Mail)
Tiferes Torah Synagogue needed a new Sefer Torah and embarked on a Sefer Torah campaign among its members.
A few short months ago I lost my one and only uncle. He was very special and a great void was felt. He left a wonderful wife, children, grandchildren and great- grandchildren – and, Baruch Hashem, even some great-great-grandchildren.
Why do we call this Shabbos, Shabbos Chazon? The word chazon is the first word of the haftarah and it means to see, to experience a vision. If that is the reason we have to ask what is so special about this word?
תשעה באב always falls between the parshiyot of Devarim and V’etchanan. This is very appropriate, because in the parsha of Devarim we read of חטא המרגלים, and the gratuitous crying which prompted the Almighty to say that He would one day give us good reason to cry; while the parsha of V’etchanan which contains within it the passage of כי תוליד בנים ובני בנים, which we read on תשעה באב - speaks of exile, teshuvah, and redemption.
Mr. Spitz was going through the mail. "Typical assortment," he grunted. "One third bills and financial documents, one third solicitations, and one third junk mail."
Shakespeare is expressing the medieval stereotype of Christian mercy (Portia) as against Jewish justice (Shylock).
I may be 80 but my memory is as good as it was when I 40.