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The Wisdom within the Law

23 Shevat 5772 – February 16, 2012
The Jewish nation has no such concept as “religion” in the formal sense of the term, as we reject the notion of anything lying outside the realm of HaShem. It is Israel’s mission to elevate every sphere of Creation by infusing it with kedusha and bringing it to its highest potential in our world.

Mishpatim: Holy Lifestyle

“And men of holiness you shall be to me, and you shall not eat meat in the field of a torn carcass (22:30). The expression “to Me” means “men of holiness that are Mine.” By being holy, they become close to Hashem.

Our Creator’s Infinite Love

23 Shevat 5772 – February 15, 2012
In Parshas Mishpatim, the Torah delineates various prohibitions and punishments. With regard to stealing, we see something unusual. If a man steals a cow, he must pay back five times the amount he stole; however, if he stole a sheep, he must pay back four times the amount. Rashi is troubled by the difference in punishments. He explains that the difference lies not in the crime but in the mental state of the thief.

Rabbi Lord Sacks: The Hardship Of Freedom

First in Parshat Yitro there were the Asseret Hadibrot (the Ten Utterances, or general principles). Now in Parshat Mishpatim come the details.

Halacha and…Shaking Hands (Part I)

Question: Is there any halachic rationale for men to shake hands with women?

A Sweet Sales Agent

"Although a shomer sachar is generally obligated in theft and is expected to watch extra carefully, he can stipulate with the owner for a lower level of responsibility . . . A number of authorities maintain that when the owner was aware of the conditions in which the merchandise would be kept, it is considered as a stipulation that such guardianship suffices."

Q & A: What Constitutes Shemot (Part II)

Does shemot only include items, such as books and sheets of papers, with Hashem’s name on them? Or does it even include items containing Torah concepts or even just Hebrew letters?

Halachos Regarding Damaged Property – Replacement Or Reimbursement?

This week’s parshah, Parshas Mishpatim, discusses many various halachos regarding monetary issues. One of the topics is when one damages another person’s property.

Shidduch Challenges: Where Is Your Soul Mate?

In this concluding column I would like to focus on the big question so many have asked: Since our faith teaches that every person has a soul mate – bashert – designated by Heaven, how is it that so many cannot find their partners?

Reb Elimelech M’Lizhensk (Part V)

Baruch, from the village of Radovitz, was a sharecropper who barely eked out a living. His income was at the mercy of the infamously cruel Poritz, who owned the Radovitz environs.

A Shampoo Gemach

I thank Hashem that my daughters play “shampoo gemach", and I take pride in our community, which stresses gemachs and acts of gemilas chesed. Families try to find ways to help others, and people go out of their way to search for opportunities to practice kindness.

Shevat: Reinforcing Dedication To The Torah

18 Shevat 5772 – February 10, 2012
The American Jewish Orthodox community has probably been overwhelmed by the events of the past few weeks in Israel regarding the extremely hostile attacks that have been aimed at the haredi community by the secular press and politicians from across the political spectrum.

Yisro: Of Magistrates And Kings

We should not be so naive to think Moshe himself could not have thought of the plan of appointing officers. The Elders of the sons of Israel in Egypt were an official and recognized body, not mere old men as are found today in homes for the aged.

Learning To Enjoy This World

16 Shevat 5772 – February 8, 2012
“And He does kindness to thousands of generations, to those who He loves and those who guard His mitzvos.” – Shemos 20:6 In the Aseres...

Obligating Oneself To Perform Mitzvot

Question: Should a person try to observe mitzvot he is technically exempt from performing?

No Landlords (Arachin 29b)

After its conquest by Joshua, the land of Israel was divided into twelve equal parts in accordance with the number of the tribes of Israel. Each male member of each tribe that actually left Egypt was entitled to a piece of land equal in size to the total size allocated to his whole tribe divided by the number of men of twenty or over in his tribe that left Egypt.

Shidduch Challenges – How To Find The Right One

Several weeks ago, in response to a letter from by a young woman in her thirties who wrote of the painful plight of singles, I wrote a column that has since mushroomed into a series of articles.

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