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Obligating Oneself To Perform Mitzvot

16 Shevat 5772 – February 8, 2012
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.

Daf Yomi

Too Little, Too Late? ‘Break Down the Door and Enter…’ (Arachin 31b)

Q & A: What Constitutes Shemot (Part I)

Question: Since my daughter in high school started researching the topic of shemot for her school newspaper, I have become more and more confused. 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? For example, how do you advise I dispose of The Jewish Press? Finally, concerning Hashem’s name, must the name be spelled out fully in Hebrew to constitute shemot? What if it is in English in abbreviated form – “G-d,” for example? Shlomo Newfield (Via E-Mail)

May One Use White Wine For Kiddush?

The fourth dibrah of the Asseres Hadibros that is read in this week’s parshah says, “Zachor es yom haShabbos lekadsho – remember to sanctify the Shabbos.” The Gemara in Pesachim 106a derives from this pasuk that one must recite Kiddush on Shabbos over a cup of wine.

‘All Your Deeds Are Written In A Book’

Recently, I discovered a frum website, www.jewish-e-books.com, that allows one to download hundreds of Jewish books – both in English and Hebrew. Having written a sefer myself, I was able to get it put on their website.

Killing Me Softly (Arachin 15b, 16a; Zevachim 88a)

10 Shevat 5772 – February 2, 2012
A person’s reputation precedes him. A bad reputation prejudices any chance of a successful encounter. Damaging a person’s reputation is tantamount to booby-trapping human relations before they can blossom into happy relationships.

Compromise!

"Fine & Feder Furniture" had been a landmark in the shopping center for decades. The two partners had opened a small store thirty years before and now ran a humongous showroom. Rumors were circulating of a breakup in the partnership, though, due to developing mistrust.

Beshalach: Hashem’s Mighty Works

“And Hashem turned back the sea by a strong east-wind all the night” (14:21). The wind was entirely unnecessary, for it was naturally unable...

The Supernatural Miracle

In September 2010, BBC, Reuters and other news agencies reported on a sensational scientific discovery. Researchers at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Colorado showed through computer simulation how the division of the Red Sea might have taken place.

The Merit Of Trusting Hashem

After months of witnessing the hand of Hashem, the entire Jewish nation – three million strong – marched out from slavery to freedom with flourish and fanfare.

Daf Yomi

Pleading The Fifth ‘…And Minors Are Not Obligated To Fulfill Mitzvos’ (Arachin 22a)

Lechem Mishneh

At the onset of the Bnei Yisrael’s journey through the midbar, we read in this week’s parshah that the Bnei Yisrael’s complaint was for food to eat. Hashem responded that He would send “lechem min hashamayim” (also known as mun), and that the Bnei Yisrael would collect each day’s portion according to the number of members of his household.

Q & A: Tu B’Shevat: The Hidden, The Revealed

Question: Why is Tu B’Shevat, known as the New Year for Trees, in the middle of the month and not at the beginning of the month – like all other New Years? Pesach Bernstein (Via E-Mail)

Shidduch Challenges: Nothing Has Changed

We have myriad matchmaking programs all over the world, from word of mouth to computerized, from well-intentioned individuals and professional shadchanim to singles organizations.

My Packrat Friend

9 Shevat 5772 – February 1, 2012
My friend Mrs. Rosen (not her real name) asked me to share her story. A widow for several years, she recently moved back to the community where she grew up so that she could help her elderly parents.

The Limits Of Chinuch (Part V)

Question: Are there limitations to the mitzvah of chinuch?

Being the Best, Being Me

3 Shevat 5772 – January 26, 2012
I am the best! You are the best too! There were over 600,000 neshamos at Har Sinai, and each one was different. In order to be inspired to grow we must sense the best in ourselves; in order to be a mentch we must see the best in others.

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