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The Power Of A Tzibbur

22 Iyyar 5773 – May 1, 2013
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

18 Iyyar 5773 – April 28, 2013
Some Lag BaOmer trivia you may not know.

Measure For Measure

17 Iyyar 5773 – April 26, 2013
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’

16 Iyyar 5773 – April 25, 2013
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)

15 Iyyar 5773 – April 24, 2013
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)

Chadash

This week I will be addressing a question from a previous column – with a new answer. The pasuk in this week’s parshah (Vayikra 23:14) says, “V’lechem v’kali v’karmel lo sochlu ad etzem hayom hazeh ad haviachem es korban elokeichem – And you shall not eat bread [etc.] on this very day until you bring the offering of your God.” This pasuk teaches us that all of the five grains (wheat, spelt, rye, oats, and barley) are forbidden from the time they are harvested until after the korban omer is brought.

The Torah’s System Of Self-Perfection

In one of the many commandments that teach us how to deal with animals, the Torah commands us not to kill a mother and its offspring on one day.

A Drill For A Saw

Betzalel was a "fix-it" man who enjoyed carpentry as a hobby. He did many home improvements himself, which he found both economical and enjoyable. He was now building a swing set for his children, happily sawing, drilling, hammering, and bolting the pieces.

A Break In Mourning During Sefirat Ha’Omer

Question: Why do we interrupt sefirah mourning on Lag B’Omer? When a person observes a personal mourning period (for the loss of a loved one), he never takes a “break” no matter what. Why should sefirah be different?

Eruvei Techumin, Ships, Planes And Mashiach

“On Shabbat, every person must remain in his residence,” said Moshe to the people, forbidding them to walk more than a certain distance beyond their desert encampment. This distance, which measures two thousand amot – about two thirds of a mile – is known as techum Shabbat. It is the same distance that stretched from the perimeters of the Levite cities to their outlying suburbs.

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