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New Tehillim Aims To Add Meaning To Rote Ritual

9 Elul 5773 – August 14, 2013
“Presentation is very important. Judaism is not necessarily appealing to a lot of people and you want to make it as attractive as possible,” said Rabbi Chaim Miller, founder of the Kol Menachem publishing house.

Rationality, Not Rational

3 Elul 5773 – August 9, 2013
“The generalities of the commandments necessarily have a cause and have been given because of a certain utility."

Parshas Shoftim: Shabbos Yerushalayim!

3 Elul 5773 – August 8, 2013
Does the title of this article sound familiar? Anyone over the age of 30 probably remembers a certain song by a certain boys choir with the “Shabbos Yerushalayim.” The song was released circa the late 1980’s, and you guessed it, it was sung by R’ Yerachmiel Begun’s Miami Boys Choir.

The Religion Of Evolution

The Jewish nation as a totality was given the mitzvah of appointing judges. These judges were commanded to mediate with righteousness according to the Torah’s laws. One of the rules of a judge is that he may not accept a bribe because a “bribe will blind the eyes of the wise.”

Lost Leining

It was summertime. Congregation Sha'ar Shamayim was relatively empty, as many of its members were away in camp or vacationing in bungalows.

Daf Yomi

Are We There Yet? ‘I Don’t Work On Yom Tov [Sheni]’ (Pesachim 52a)

Q & A: ‘The Scepter Shall Not Depart From Judah’ – Redux (Part III)

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)

A Worried Wife And Mother

Rebbetzin, I have seen families where cousins, aunts and uncles are not even invited to one another’s weddings.

Testing And Prophecy

On the face of it, the test is simple: if what the prophet predicts comes to pass, he is a true prophet; if not, not. Clearly, though, it was not that simple.

Cutting Down Fruit Trees

The Rambam is of the opinion that a safek is permitted min haTorah. The rabbanan forbade one to take a chance and do something that is a safek issur. Many Rishonim disagree with this ruling and say that a safek is forbidden min haTorah. The Rishonim ask on the Rambam’s opinion from many places in Shas.

Prime-Time Prayer

Prayer is always an avenue to God. But in the month of Elul, the last month of the Jewish year, and during the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, God lends a particularly sympathetic ear.

Spiritual DNA And The Observance Of Shabbos

I recently heard a Pirkei Avos shiur in which the speaker said that our spiritual DNA derives from our patriarchs and matriarchs. The great tests they withstood and for which they gained ever greater prominence was witnessed by the Jews who followed them, many of whom succeeded in overcoming great challenges as well. It seems that an individual’s great effort helps the spiritual strength kick in.

Shabbos Mevorchim Elul

27 Av 5773 – August 2, 2013
The summer season we pined for on those dreary, shivery winter days is all but coming to a close. What better way for reality to sink in than the call of the shofar that wrests us from our repose on the first of Elul, reminding us that we have serious work ahead. Luckily we get thirty days to pull ourselves together, so that we have a leg to stand on when we petition Hashem on the Yom HaDin to grant us mechila for our shortcomings of the past year.

Close For Comfort

26 Av 5773 – August 1, 2013
What does it mean to be close to somebody else? One way is to be physically near them, but another, more spiritual way is to try to learn from them and emulate their good qualities. When the Torah instructs us to make ourselves close to, or cleave to Hashem, it doesn’t mean by trying to get to heaven in a rocket ship! Rather it means to think about Hashem and emulate His qualities of kindness, patience, fairness, etc. That is the real measure of how close a person is to G-d.

Parshat Re’eh

Our rabbis teach that the first step of repentance is ackowledging our sins and errors. If we feel that our behavior is on the right track then by definition we will fail to identify our shortcomings. Sadly, then our repentance will never leave the start gate.

Q & A: ‘The Scepter Shall Not Depart From Judah’ – Redux (Part II)

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)

Daf Yomi

Spoiled Rotten? ‘A Loaf Went Moldy And…Unfit For Human Consumption’ (Pesachim 45b)

Writing Hashem’s Name

In this week’s parshah the Torah writes about the mitzvah to destroy avodah zarah. At the same time, the Torah says not to do avodah zarah to Hashem your God. As the pasuk says: “va’avaditam es shemam min hamakom hahu, lo sa’asun kein la’Hashem Elokeichem.”

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