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Was Yaakov Obligated To Respect Yitzchak?

After Yaakov received the berachos from his father and was leaving the room, the pasuk says, “Vayeitzei Yaakov mei’eis penei aviv, Yitzchak – And Yaakov left the face of his father, Yitzchak.” Rav Meir Simcha of Davinsk wrote in his sefer on Chumash, Meshech Chachmah, that the reason why the pasuk used a strange wording – leaving his face – is because the Gemara in Yuma 53b says that when a talmid leaves the presence of a rebbe he should not turn his face to leave; rather, his face should remain in the direction of the rebbe. Rav Meir Simcha continues by citing the Gemara: Rava acted in this manner when leaving his rebbe, Rav Yosef. Therefore the pasuk is teaching us that Yaakov followed this same process.

Breakfast And Happiness (Part I)

After having written this column for so many years, and covering so many topics, I am (finally) bowing to the numerous requests to write about our blessed family. More specifically, I shall commit to paper everyone’s favorite routine: the scene at our breakfast table.

Two Sides Of The Same Coin

Chaim (not his real name) was walking down the street, feeling very discouraged. It seemed that lately, the news was filled with stories depicting the disparities, distrust and dislike between the different streams of Jews living in Israel. Much of it revolved around the different religious affiliations or non-affiliations that people adhered to. There were times when Chaim felt the situation was hopeless, with no way to bring people together as a cohesive group – despite their differences.

A Life-Saving Mitzvah

With Sukkos well behind us, we are back to our normal workday mode, our post- holiday routine. The sukkah, our temporary dwelling for eight days, has been dismantled and we have returned to our comfortable, permanent homes. Likewise, our Daled Minim have been discarded, having served their purpose. We’re done with those mitzvos (at least for this season).

Fruit At The End Of A Meal

Question: Is it necessary to recite a berachah before eating fruit at the end of a meal? I’ve seen different people do different things.

Taxi Standstill

At 5:00 sharp Zvi headed out of the office to the street. He raised his hand and hailed the next available cab. He provided the cabbie his address and was surprised to find that the cab driver was a religious Jew.

Middos: Central To All Avodas Hashem

The Torah tells us Eliezer’s system: “And it will be that the maiden to whom I will say, ‘Please give me to drink,’ and she will answer, ‘Please drink, and I will give your camels to drink as well.’ She will be the one You have proven to be the wife for Yitzchak” (Bereishis 24:14).

Why Do We Daven?

Rabi Yosi ben Rabi Chanina says that the avos where misaken the tefillos. The Gemara quotes a braisa that supports this view and cites pesukim from which we derive that Avraham was mesaken Shacharis, Yitzchak was mesaken Minchah, and Yaakov was mesaken Ma’ariv. Rabi Yehoshua ben Levi disagrees, saying that tefillah was instituted to correspond to the korbanos.

Daf Yomi

Pristine Exemplar ‘Let Him Fill His Mouth With Water’ (Shekalim 9a)

Q & A: They Live In The Land (Part III)

Question: I was recently discussing the sorry state of religion in Eretz Yisrael with some friends, noting that unfortunately a majority of the population consists of non-observant Jews. I expressed my view that this fact explains why Moshiach has not yet come. I avidly read your column and am anxious to learn your view of this matter. No Name Please (Via E-Mail)

Dashed Expectations And Single Daughters

I’m also a rebbetzin but as yet I do not have married children; it’s an experience I’m looking forward to and the reason I am writing to you now.

Beginning The Journey

The purchase of the Cave of Machpelah is evidently a highly significant event because it is recorded in great detail.

An Explosion Of Serendipity

Every Sukkos, at the end of a fun action-packed day at the park, we would gather our happy, albeit exhausted, children and prepare for the long ride home. Needless to say, the first item on the list was a visit to the restrooms. This became our yearly routine and the kids would comply without protest, often before being reminded.

Parshas Vayera: Under The Tree

The great scholar and ethicist, Rav Yisroel Lipkin of Salant zt”l, was once in the home of an assimilated Jew in Vienna. The man’s daughter was an accomplished pianist.

An Act That Echoes Through Time

Avraham Avinu was commanded with a supreme test, and one of the greatest challenges ever presented to man: “Take your son, your only son, the son that you love…”

Q & A: They Live In the Land (Part II)

Question: I was recently discussing the sorry state of religion in Eretz Yisrael with some friends, noting that unfortunately a majority of the population consists of non-observant Jews. I expressed my view that this fact explains why Moshiach has not yet come. I avidly read your column and am anxious to learn your view of this matter. No Name Please (Via E-Mail)

Daf Yomi

In Our Days ‘We Do Not Seize A Surety From Minor Children’ (Shekalim 3b)

How Important Are Ethics?

Question: In our daily prayers we state that Talmud Torah – the teaching of Torah – is equivalent to all the other mitzvot. What, however, comes under the category of “teaching Torah”? Does someone who teaches students how to behave ethically come under the category of a teacher of Torah?

Worthwhile Wear And Tear

Last week Am Yisrael suffered a tremendous loss with the passing of Maran HaRav Ovadia Yosef, zt"l. The greatest tribute we can give to such an outstanding talmid chacham is to repeat and share his Torah. The following article is based on a responsa of his in Yabia Omer (vol. II, C.M. #7). May this learning be l'iluy nishmaso.

Seder Night And Back Seat Drivers (Part II)

Continuing with our examination of Pesachim as per the Daf Yomi cycle, the Seder commences with Kiddush recited over the first cup of wine. Whereas Kiddush may be recited before nightfall on Shabbat, it must be recited after nightfall on Seder night. Unlike Shabbat and Yom Tov, on Seder night there is a requirement that each participant drink from his own cup.

Is Bris Milah A Mitzvas Assei She’hazman Gramma?

The Gemara in Kiddushin 29a derives from a pasuk in this week’s parshah that women are exempt from performing a bris milah on their sons. The pasuk says: “ka’asher tzivah oso Elokim” (Bereishis 21:4). The Gemara takes from the word “oso” (him) that women are exempt. The Rishonim there are disturbed by the following question: why is it necessary for this pasuk to be written in the Torah when it is a mitzvas assei she’hazman gramma (time-sensitive mitzvah), which women are exempt from performing?

Putting Ideals Into Action (II)

If you are a blessing to others, life takes on a different meaning.

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