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.
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.
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…”
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)
In Our Days ‘We Do Not Seize A Surety From Minor Children’ (Shekalim 3b)
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?
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.
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.
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?
If you are a blessing to others, life takes on a different meaning.
My home is furnished simply. One notes the customary family photos and bric-a-brac that makes a house a home, but certain items are my priceless treasures.
The current situation with Syria reminds me of an episode that occurred in January 1991 in Toronto. I had taken my son for swimming lessons while my wife stayed in the car, anxiously listening to the news about Israel. Those were very tense times, with Iraq threatening to attack Israel with chemical weapons, God forbid.
Kindness and hospitality came easily to Lot. As a nephew to Avraham, these qualities were part of his DNA; as a ben-bayis who was raised in Avraham's household bringing in guests was what came naturally.
The special days of Tishrei have come and gone. But hopefully, we managed to elevate our level of spirituality so that we now feel closer to Hashem, even if just a little bit. I think that now is the right time to approach an extremely mystical aspect of Shabbos.
Yisrael, Shlomi, and some other teenage friends swam regularly at the local pool, which had special men's hours. They all brought locks with them to secure the lockers, except Shlomi. He would simply put his clothes in the locker, with the wallet in his pants pocket, and shut the locker door.
When Avraham Avinu was informed that his nephew Lot was captured, he waged war against the combined armies of the four kings. Miraculously, he was victorious and freed Lot.
A Case Of Mistaken Identity ‘And Two Cooked Foods’ (Pesachim 114a)
Question: I was recently discussing the sorry state of religion in Eretz Yisrael with some friends, noting that unfortunately a majority of the population...
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