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The Soul of the Stranger

11 Tammuz 5772 – July 1, 2012
From elected officials to people in the street, from the highly educated secular upper class to yeshiva students to the working poor, numerous Israelis seem to share a lexicon and intellectual framework which denigrates and dehumanizes Africans, belittles their suffering, and trivialized their plight.

The Torah Source For Covering One’s Hair

9 Tammuz 5772 – June 28, 2012
We recently layned Parshas Naso which contains the Biblical source for the obligation of a married woman to cover her hair. An eesha sotah is a woman whose husband suspects her of having acted immorally. The Torah commands the Kohein to take various steps to demonstrate that the sotah has deviated from the modest and loyal path of most married Jewish women (Rashi 5:15-27). Among the procedures, the pasuk clearly states: “ufora es rosh haisha…” and he shall uncover the hair of the head of the woman (5:18).

Every Day Is Graduation Day!

On the 43rd day of the Omer I asked a child how many days there were to go. He immediately answered that 37 days remained. In response to my inquiry about his calculations, he excitedly announced that there were 37 days left to the school year! While all of us--he included--were counting down to the monumental day of receiving the Torah, he was also counting the days until he would be absolved of learning the very same Torah in the formal school environment!

A Unique Iranian Custom

Question: It is known that some sephardim generally arrive at a simcha a few hours subsequent to the time noted on the invitation. Is there any logic behind this custom?

Chukas: Chastisement And Perfection

Hashem criticized His holy nation relentlessly, yet Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, observes that for 38 of Israel's 40 years in the desert, Hashem expressed no criticism at all. Herein is a lesson in Israel's greatness.

A Revolutionary Rabbinic Idea For Organ Donations

JERUSALEM – A leading Orthodox rabbi in Israel has a revolutionary proposal for the harvesting of organs from a clinically dead patient. At present, his proposal not only has no support from other rabbis, it is also against Israeli law – but he is not fazed.

Daf Yomi

Rebirth Of Sorts ‘Immersing Contaminated, Emerging Pure’ (Niddah 42a)

Rov Or Chazakah: Which Is Better?

The beginning of this week’s parshah discusses the halachos of a parah adumah (red heifer). The red cow is shechted and burnt, and its ashes are sprinkled on one who is tamei meis. The individual thereby becomes pure.

Q & A: Chazzan And Congregation (Part VI)

Question: I understand that at a minyan, the chazzan is required to repeat Shmoneh Esreh out loud so that people who may not know how to daven can fulfill their obligation to daven with the chazzan’s repetition. What, however, should the chazzan do when he reaches Kedushah and Modim? I hear some chazzanim say every word of Kedushah out loud and some only say the last part of the middle two phrases out loud. As far as the congregation is concerned, I hear some congregants say every word of Kedushah and some say only the last part. Finally, some chazzanim and congregants say Modim during chazaras hashatz out loud and some say it quietly. What is the source for these various practices? A Devoted Reader (Via E-Mail)

Sealed Envelope

Mr. Meyers scurried around the wedding hall, making sure everything was properly in place; his son was getting married. "Could you please watch this envelope?" he asked his close friend, Mr. Koenig.

Depending On A Wise Sister

It is a scene that still has the power to shock and disturb. The people complain. There is no water. It is an old complaint and a predictable one. That’s what happens in a desert. Moses should have been able to handle it in his stride. He has been through far tougher challenges in his time. Yet suddenly he explodes into vituperative anger:

‘My Joy In Judaism Has Disappeared’

Raised in a secular family, she followed the usual pattern of the last couple of generations, placing marriage on the back burner in favor of relationships.

Jewish Connections

Yom Yerushalayim, a national day of thanksgiving to Hashem for the liberation and reunification of the Holy City of Yerushalayim, is celebrated in Israel with many different meaningful programs. One of them is the annual bike ride from Hebron to Yerushalayim, celebrating the former’s liberation.

Parshas Korach: ‘Impulsive Wealth’

2 Tammuz 5772 – June 21, 2012
In 1978, Michael Aun won the Toastmaster’s International Speaking contest in Vancouver. He remarks that although he is well-known for winning the contest in 1978, he lost it in 1977 in Toronto, because he went seven seconds over his allotted time. In his words, “Do you know what you do after you lose a contest because of seven seconds? You go up to your hotel room and you cry. But after a while, you realize that you can go for it again. A year later I won it in Vancouver. I often say that we have to remember that you often have to go through Toronto in order to get to Vancouver.”

Korach: The Danger Of Quarreling

Aharon HaKohen is distinguished for his love of peace. Korach earned distinction for failing in this area; his name has become synonymous with dispute and divisiveness. Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, found in this story a striking lesson about the danger of argumentativeness and its application to every Jew.

Daf Yomi

The Great Switch ‘These Are The Sons Of Leah’ (Niddah 32)

Tzitzit, Tefillin, And Women

Question: Why don’t women wear tzitzit and tefillin?

Q & A: Chazzan And Congregation (Part V)

Question: I understand that at a minyan, the chazzan is required to repeat Shmoneh Esreh out loud so that people who may not know how to daven can fulfill their obligation to daven with the chazzan’s repetition. What, however, should the chazzan do when he reaches Kedushah and Modim? I hear some chazzanim say every word of Kedushah out loud and some only say the last part of the middle two phrases out loud. As far as the congregation is concerned, I hear some congregants say every word of Kedushah and some say only the last part. Finally, some chazzanim and congregants say Modim during chazaras hashatz out loud and some say it quietly. What is the source for these various practices? A Devoted Reader (Via E-Mail)

My Pleasant Dreams – 851 Of Them

Prior to the Knesset vote on the Regulation Law, which was defeated on June 6, I visited the protest tent where people were on a hunger strike and I realized we are again going through what we went through in the days before the destruction of Gush Katif.

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