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Jerusalem, Israel
3 Kislev 5778 -
? Tuesday, November 21, 2017


It’s Not Where You’re At

Less than a year after the giving of the Torah, Hashem told Moshe to again count the Jewish people. The Sforno points out that this counting was unique as it counted each person by name, whereas thirty-eight years later, when the Jews were about to enter the land of Israel and were counted again, there is no mention of counting by name.

Take It Or Leave It?

The winter was over, and the days began to get longer and warmer. The sun shone brightly in clear skies, grass and flowers were blooming, and the trees were producing layers of green foliage.

Perfect Harmony

It was a lovely summer night in the Holy Land. My husband and I, and a dozen or so of our colleagues, straggled into our hotel, exhausted but exhilarated after a long action-packed day of touring and activities. As we entered the lobby, we heard the unmistakable melodic strains of a piano being played in an adjacent room.

Torah As A Marriage Contract

On the face of it, the connections between the sedrah and haftarah of Bamidbar are slender. The first has to do with demography. Bamidbar begins with a census of the people. The haftarah begins with Hosea’s vision of a time when “the number of the children of Israel will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or numbered.” There was a time when the Israelites could be counted; the day will come when they will be countless. That is one contrast between the future and the past.

Independence And Dependence

Last week I wrote about the many disappointments in life. So often we dream of something, wish for something, pray for something – only to discover that when it happens, it is not quite the way we envisioned it. I illustrated this concept through a Hungarian story I recalled from my childhood about a little boy who more than anything else wanted a rocking horse, a coveted toy in Hungary.

Shabbos Mevorchim Sivan

It is with great excitement and expectancy that we bentch Rosh Chodesh Sivan — which comes out on Friday (May 10 on the English calendar).

The Long Shortcut

How can a person make sure that things will work out right? By doing what is right. When Hashem told the Jewish people to rest their fields and not plant any crops every seventh year, shmitta, it was a huge test of faith, as no crops meant no food! But Hashem also told them that if they did what’s right and listen to Him, they wouldn’t lose out because He’d miraculously give them enough crops in other years to more than make up for the year of rest. And that’s what happened.

Parshat Behar-Bechukosai

The story is told about Alfred Sloan, the CEO of General Motors, who in the middle of a meeting where everybody was in agreement, stopped the discussion and said: "I propose we postpone further discussion of this matter until our next meeting to give ourselves time to develop disagreement and perhaps gain some understanding of what this decision is about".

The Friday Night Simchat Bat

Question: Upon the birth of a son, common custom is to hold a Shalom Zachor on Friday evening for family and friends. But what about the birth of a girl? Some Modern Orthodox families hold a Simchat Bat on Friday night, but there doesn’t seem to be a source for this in Jewish literature. Are these Jews acting properly?

The Power Of A Tzibbur

The Torah is very explicit that if the Jewish nation follows the ways of Hashem, we will enjoy peace, prosperity, and success in all of our endeavors. We will plant and harvest abundant crops, our borders will be secure. Life will be good. Included in this is a guarantee that in battle with our enemies we will be astonishingly successful; small numbers of our weakest soldiers will chase down and annihilate far larger groups of the enemy.

Q & A: A Sefirah Dilemma (Part II)

Question: As the shamash in a small community shul with an aging population, I am faced with numerous challenges. The following is only one of them. During sefirah, different people daven for the amud for Ma’ariv. Once, a bar mitzvah was one of them. On another occasion, a very recent ger lead the service. Were these individuals allowed to lead the congregation in counting sefirah? I also wonder, in general, if everyone should be trusted to lead the counting. What if someone forgot to count on one of the previous nights but does not inform anyone of this? No Name (Via E-Mail)

Daf Yomi

A Sage View ‘It Needs A Partition To Divide It’ (Eruvin 47b-48a)

Public Passage

Pleasantville was a quiet suburban town with large properties and curving roads that wound around them. Mr. Feder lived just behind the local shul. Since the road wound around his property, people coming to shul on Shabbos would often take a shortcut through his property to walk to shul. The treaded area of earth marked the place where people made their way weekly. The through traffic did not bother Mr. Feder, as his house was on the other end of the property. He never made a fuss about it, but had never officially sanctioned this public shortcut.

‘Not The Horse I Wanted’

There is a Hungarian tale I’ve always found meaningful and yet sad. It is about a little boy who always wanted his own rocking horse. (In Hungry a rocking horse was a toy that belonged to only the privileged few.)

Who Owns The Ribbis?

In parshas Behar the Torah reiterates some of the halachos of ribbis, and teaches several new halachos as well. The pasuk says that one should not take ribbis from his fellow, he should fear God, “v’chei achicha imach – and your brother shall live with you.” The Gemara derives from the end of this pasuk that if one does charge ribbis and collects it, it must be returned.

The Ever-Amazing Reb Elimelech (Conclusion)

Reb Elimelech personally selected his burial spot, explaining that on that location he perceived the soul of the Baal Shem Tov. Reb Elimelech returned his pure soul to his Maker on 21 Adar, 1787 at the age of 70. Ever since, his burial plot has become a center for prayer and personal requests.

A Journey To Faith: I’m Not Alone Anymore

Growing up with Cerebral palsy, I was angry. I asked, “Why am I disabled? Why is the kid next door Reform and healthy and my family is so religious and I am disabled?” I thought He was supposed to love us, but it seemed He was punishing me.

Lag B’Omer Trivia

Some Lag BaOmer trivia you may not know.

Measure For Measure

Recently, I was elated to hear that my daughter had left Shaare Zedek hospital content that the surgery to remove a growth under her eyelid had been successful, Baruch Hashem. It is always difficult when a loved one must endure a painful experience while separated by land and sea, but when I heard about the hashgachah she had encountered I was comforted that the One Above was again watching over our family.

Parshas Emor: ‘Stuck In Place’

Although it was almost twenty years ago, I think that any of my classmates from second grade remember the time that, “Staum got stuck in his chair.”

Shabbos – A Day With Hashem: A Tale of Two ‘Omers’

Here in Eretz Yisroel, one of the most exciting days of the year is Lag Ba’omer. Massive bonfires blaze in almost every empty lot, and multitudes of people throng to Meron to daven and rejoice. The commentators tell us that the reason we celebrate is because the students of R’ Akiva stopped dying on this day.

Q & A: A Sefirah Dilemma (Part I)

Question: As the shamash in a small community shul with an aging population, I am faced with numerous challenges. The following is only one of them. During sefirah, different people daven for the amud for Ma’ariv. Once, a bar mitzvah was one of them. On another occasion, a very recent ger lead the service. Were these individuals allowed to lead the congregation in counting sefirah? I also wonder, in general, if everyone should be trusted to lead the counting. What if someone forgot to count on one of the previous nights but does not inform anyone of this? No Name (Via E-Mail)

Daf Yomi

Twin Cities ‘A City Is Given A Karpif’ (Eruvin 57a)

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