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Daf Yomi

Kishka ‘Their Consumers Are Not Human!’ (Me’ilah 20b)

Q & A: Harsh Punishments (Part III)

11 Iyyar 5772 – May 2, 2012
Question: I find it very difficult to understand the punishment of death that was meted out to Rabbi Akiba’s students. If he was so great, we can assume that his students were of a superior caliber as well. If so, why did they deserve such a harsh punishment? Zelig Aronson Queens, NY

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: Holy People In The Holy Land

It is simply not the same to put on tefillin or keep kashrut or observe Shabbat in the Diaspora as in Israel. The Torah is the constitution of a holy people in the holy land. Only in Israel is the fulfillment of the commands a society-building exercise, shaping the contours of a culture as a whole. Only in Israel does the calendar track the rhythms of the Jewish year.

Rebuke: The Malpractice Of A Mitzvah

According to the Targum, it appears that if Reuven ate a ham sandwich and I didn’t rebuke him, I would be punished for his sin. This seems difficult to understand. Why should I be punished for his sin? At most, you might argue that if I was capable of rebuking him and didn’t, I would be responsible for the sin of not rebuking him. But how do I become responsible for the sin he perpetrated? He transgressed it; I didn’t.

The Image Of My Father

I have had much experience in bikur cholim – visiting the sick. Even at the age of six I would accompany my saintly father on his rounds to slave labor camps where young Jewish men were incarcerated by the Hungarians prior to the Nazi occupation.

Yehareg V’al Ya’avor

The following is one unique halacha that is associated with arayos (forbidden relationships): Concerning most aveiros, if one is put in a predicament where he must choose between saving his life and fulfilling a mitzvah he must choose to live and transgress the mitzvah. The Gemara says that arayos are one of the three mitzvos that are yehareg v’al ya’avor (one must allow himself to be killed so as not to transgress the mitzvah), along with murder and avodah zarah.

Lost And Found

My son lost his backpack when traveling back to his base. He had put it in the hold of the bus in which he was traveling. He would need to replace his wallet, tefillin, clothes, books, phone charger and all of his documentation. Of course the tefillin was the most important item of all. It was a bar mitzvah gift from his grandparents and specially written for him, and we all know how expensive tefillin are. But obviously the sentimental value was irreplaceable.

Daily Midot Program

9 Iyyar 5772 – April 30, 2012
Our Mission: When it comes to Chesed the Jewish people are at the front of the line. We’ve tackled Chesed and everyone is aware of the unbelievable work and generosity that we are involved in. Now it’s time to take on a new, more difficult challenge: Middot (character trait).

Loving Parking Tickets: Wearing The Right Glasses

5 Iyyar 5772 – April 26, 2012
Is it really possible for any self-respecting New Yorker to love parking tickets? I have seen those orange rectangular pieces of paper become the nemesis of society. As a result, those trying to earn a meager living giving out these tickets have become Public Enemy Number One. We view them as “out to get us,” deliberately attempting to make our lives miserable.

Daf Yomi

A Transfusion, An Element Of Life ‘Blood From A Sanctified Animal Is Forbidden’ (Me’ilah 12)

When Is A Single Witness Believed?

4 Iyyar 5772 – April 25, 2012
At the end of parshas Metzora the Torah discusses the halachos of when a woman becomes a niddah. The Torah says that a woman who becomes a niddah must count seven days from when she stops seeing blood, and then becomes tahor by immersing in a mikveh.

The Evils Of Evil Speech

It was the Septuagint, the early Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, that translated tzara’at, the condition whose identification and cleansing occupies much of Parshiyot Tazria and Metzora as lepra, giving rise to a long tradition identifying it with leprosy.

Q & A: Harsh Punishments (Part II)

Question: I find it very difficult to understand the punishment of death that was meted out to Rabbi Akiba’s students. If he was so great, we can assume that his students were of a superior caliber as well. If so, why did they deserve such a harsh punishment? Zelig Aronson Queens, NY

The Merit Of Living In Israel

Yaakov Avinu received word that his brother Eisav was coming to greet him. He understood fully well that this was not to be a warm family reunion. Eisav came accompanied by a band of four hundred armed men, bent on revenge. The Torah says Yaakov was “very frightened,” so he prepared for war.

A Silver Atarah On A Talit

Question: I have heard that some halachic authorities disapprove of placing a silver atarah on a talit. Is this true?

Insights From The Plague Of Leprosy

Although the tzoraas affliction is no more in contemporary times, it teaches lessons that are eternal. Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, explains that foremost among these lessons is the greatness of Torah leaders and their wisdom. Another lesson: The opportunity the affliction presented to the afflicted for repentance and seld-improvement.

I Will Keep Dancing…

I’m learning to walk again. Every step is painful. I go with a walker. There is a security belt wrapped around my waist which the physical therapist watches carefully so that in case I stumble she will be able to catch me. As I make my way, the nurses and other health care personnel smile and congratulate me: “You’re doing wonderful! You’re doing great!”

A Lesson To Be Learned

It was early evening in Jerusalem. I was exhausted, and thankful that the light rail train had arrived. Along with all the other passengers, I jockeyed for a place to stand where I could place some of my bundles on the floor. At the next stop a seat became available, and I was grateful to be able to claim it.

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