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Why Do We Read The Megillah?

14 Adar 5772 – March 7, 2012
On Purim we read Megillas Esther twice, once by night and once by day. It is uncertain what the nature of the obligation is.

Q & A: Yotzrot (Part II)

Question: I read The Jewish Press’s Luach of February 17 with much interest. You write, “We daven Shacharis as usual.” I find it difficult to understand why you don’t mention reciting the special yotzrot for Parshat Shekolim. Are yotzrot a relic of history? I’m a senior citizen who remembers saying yotzrot as a child. But now, they seem to have disappeared from Orthodox synagogues. Milton M. Adler Cherry Hill, NJ

Closing Our Eyes To The New Haman (Part II)

Last week I described some prophecies concerning the wakeup calls that would come to our people when the arrival of Mashiach was near. Unfortunately, we have yet to attune ourselves to the sound of those footsteps.

Was It Eliyahu Hanavi?

I lost control of my car while driving in Brooklyn when a speeding taxi slammed into me. I thought my life was about to end when my car slammed directly into a tree. Baruch Hashem I survived, even though the taxi driver never stopped to help me.

Yoram Ettinger: Purim Guide for the Perplexed 2012

Purim is the holiday of contradictions and tenacity-driven-optimism: Grief replaced by joy; Esther's concealment replaced by the disclosure of her national/religious identity; Haman's intended genocide of the Jews replaced by redemption; Haman replaced by Mordechai; national and personal pessimism replaced by optimism.

The Megillah: How-To Manual on Defeating Anti-Semites

Israel must demonstrate confidence in ourselves and an iron determination to defy our antagonists. Mordechai teaches that it is not through appeasement that one achieves peace but rather through strength, self-assurance and unequivocally firm resistance to tyranny and injustice.

Megillat Esther: Revealing the Hidden

11 Adar 5772 – March 4, 2012
Being human, we are limited in our ability to understand. Tragic events seem senseless, without a rhyme or reason. World events can seem confusing, with the future uncertain. On Purim, we recognize that God’s Hand is guiding it all. The King is working behind the scenes, pulling the strings. We may not understand all of the twists and turns of the narrative, but we know the Author. All we have to do is put our trust in Him.

How to Blot out Amalek

Perhaps you can’t really define a people without also defining its enemies. Certainly many believe that if the Jews could get rid of the idea of peoplehood, then they wouldn’t have enemies.The experience of the 19th century assimilationists and post-Oslo Israel tells us that this strategy doesn’t work in the real world. Even if we refuse to remember Amalek, he remembers us. And if we don’t have the support of self-conscious peoplehood (and its concrete representation, the Jewish state), how can we fight him?

Ahavas Yisroel and Compassion for Fellow Jews

8 Adar 5772 – March 1, 2012
Do you really care about your fellow Jew? Take the following test to see if your Ahavas Yisroel Quotient is on par with requirements established by Chazal.

Inside Purim: Even More Fascinating And Intriguing Insights On Purim And The Megillah

These are excerpts from the sefer “Inside Purim” which contains additional answers to the following questions and much more.

Parshat Tetzaveh: Spiritual refinement in the miluim process

While the transgression of the Golden Calf had caused Aharon to feel a sense of distance from HaShem, the miluim was intended to bring him close again through spiritual perfection. The priestly vestments play a central role in this process and great detail is offered in describing them.

Tetzaveh: Honor And Beauty

7 Adar 5772 – February 29, 2012
The wardrobe Hashem designed for those who served in his Mishkan served not only to distinguish them but also to impress upon them the importance and significance of the service for which Hashem had selected them. Clothing itself is a form of serving Hashem.

Paying a Professional, And For His Courtesy Too

"When someone completes his job faithfully you must pay him fully, even if no benefit comes from the work. For example, if a person ordered a delivery of medicine for a critically ill patient, and the person died or recovered meanwhile, the driver must be paid."

Daf Yomi

At most a navi, through prophecy, can institute a temporary modification of a Torah law. However, if he seeks to introduce a permanent change in the Torah or to add a new mitzvah, he and his prophecy should be rejected.

Understanding The Mitzvah Of Megillah

To properly fulfill the mitzvah of listening to the megillah, each word must be heard. If a word is missed, the listener should read it quietly to himself from the text in his hand. The principal purpose of reciting the megillah is to publicize the miracle of Purim. Accordingly, many poskim permit the megillah to be read in English if the reader does not understand Hebrew.

Are Women Obligated To Hear Parshas Zachor?

The Sefer HaChinuch states in mitzvah 603 that women are exempt from the mitzvah of remembering what Amalek did to us. He explains that this is because it is not upon women to wage war against and avenge the enemy.

Q & A: On Yotzrot (Part I)

The term yotzrot refers to a grouping of special prayers that all fall under the same heading, and are also referred to as piyutim. Rabbi Yosef Grossman discusses this topic at length in his masterful work “Otzar Erchei Ha’Yahadut” ot peh, 377). He writes: “Piyut – these are prayers, poetic refrains, or sanctified songs that entered the liturgy of our special machzorim for festivals and special occasions, for the Days of Awe, as well as those solemn fast days that mark our national tragedies.”

Rabbi Lord Sacks: The Art Of True Leadership

There is a deeper message in Parshat Tetzaveh - the principle of the separation of powers, which opposes the concentration of leadership into one person or institution. All human authority needs checks and balances if it is not to become corrupt. In particular, political and religious leadership (keter malchut and keter kehunah) should never be combined. Moses wore the crowns of political and prophetic leadership, Aaron that of priesthood. The division allowed each to be a check on the other.

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