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How to Blot out Amalek

10 Adar 5772 – March 4, 2012
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.

Closing Our Eyes To The New Haman (Part I)

I dare not remain silent. I dare not ignore the wake-up calls and the catastrophe they portend. So I ask you to read my ensuing columns on the subject with open minds and receptive hearts. I will limit myself to the wake-up calls we have witnessed over the past couple of years, though they began considerably earlier.

Shabbat: A Time for Menuchah V’simcha

Shabbat is a time of menuchah, of rest. It is also a time of simcha, of happiness. We are often too busy during the week to stop and think about how we can do something simple to bring simcha into someone else’s life. When we can combine the menuchah of Shabbat together with its inherent simcha, we can bring ohr laYehudim, light to all of us.

Drinking on Purim: Holy or Wholly Irresponsible?

5 Adar 5772 – February 28, 2012
The word the Gemara uses to get drunk on wine is “l’besumai,” literally - to become fragrant. Not stinking drunk, but rather like the incense in the Holy Temple; a sweet smelling aroma.

Jewish Press Radio: Canada Loves Israel, Happy Hebrew Life, and Middle East Inside

Malkah and Yishai discuss Canadian dedication to Israel, and simple but deeply important aspects of distinctly Jewish life, experts from Brookings get real on Middle East dynamics, and, finally, Rebbitzin Mizrachi teaches how to be truly happy.

Inside Purim: Insights On Purim And The Megillah

2 Adar 5772 – February 24, 2012
These are excerpts from the sefer Inside Purim, which contains additional answers to the following questions and much more.

Shaking Hands With Women (Part II)

30 Shevat 5772 – February 22, 2012
Question: Is there any halachic rationale for men to shake hands with women?

Rabbi Lord Sacks: The Tabernacle’s Lesson

It is not what G-d does for us that transforms us, but rather what we do for G-d. A free society is best symbolized by the Tabernacle. It is the home we build together. It is only by becoming builders that we turn from subjects to citizens. We have to earn our freedom by what we give. It cannot be given to us as an unearned gift.

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