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Parsha
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Posted on: July 10th, 2013

JudaismParsha

This week we begin reading Sefer Devarim. The Gemara in Baba Basra 13b says that four blank lines must be scratched onto the parchment between each of the sefarim of a Sefer Torah (i.e. between Sefer Bereishis and Sefer Shemos).

The-Shmuz
 

Posted on: July 10th, 2013

JudaismParsha

“The ox knows its owner; the donkey the stall of its master; Israel doesn’t know, My nation doesn’t contemplate.” – Yeshayah 1:3 With these words, Yeshayah HaNavi begins the rebuke of his generation, a generation that strayed, that has left the ways of the Torah and turned to other gods and foreign ways.

The Fête de la Fédération, held in the Champ de Mars, in July 14, 1790. Woodcut by Helman, from a picture by C. Monet, Painter of the King.
 

Posted on: July 5th, 2013

JudaismParsha

Louis XVI hoped that July 21, 1791 would be a turning point in the French Revolution. It was, but not quite the way he had hoped it would be. Louis had planned to cross into Austria, raise an army and invade his home country of France to crush the revolution. In fact, Louis and his family nearly made it to the border. They were a mere thirty miles away from putting his grand scheme into action. But a stable master recognized him when the carriage stopped to rest. The National Guardsmen were alerted and intercepted his carriage forcing him and his family to return to Paris embarrassed and humiliated. The French Revolution was about to take a dangerous and radical turn.

Weiss-070513
 

Posted on: July 5th, 2013

JudaismParsha

On this coming Shabbos Parshas Matos-Masai we bentch Rosh Chodesh Menachem Av. Rosh Chodesh (on Yom Sheini - Monday, July 8) marks the start of the mournful “nine days” during which we restrict many activities normally taken for granted, such as eating meat and drinking wine (Shabbos is an exception), the purchasing and wearing of new clothes, doing laundry (the washing of children’s clothing may be permitted; consult your halachic authority), listening to music, swimming and participating in joyful pursuits.

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Posted on: July 4th, 2013

JudaismParsha

In parshas Masei the Torah discusses the halachos regarding when one person accidentally kills another. The Torah says that a relative of the victim (goel hadam) may avenge the death of his relative by killing the murderer who acted accidentally. According to the Torah, the perpetrator must go to one of the arei miklat (city of refuge). While in the ir miklat the goel hadam may not kill the murderer who acted accidentally. If he does kill him while he was in the ir miklat, he will be liable for murder.

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Posted on: June 27th, 2013

JudaismParsha

A friend recently related the following personal story: “A few months ago I was invited to a wedding of close friends. Though the bride and groom were from New York they were celebrating their wedding in a resort village in Mexico, south of Cancun. I, and other guests who were Shomer Shabbos arranged all the food.

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Posted on: June 27th, 2013

JudaismParsha

In this week’s parshah the Torah lists the different korbanos that we are to bring on the various different days of the year. In perek 28, pasuk 11 the Torah commands us as to which korbanos we must bring on Rosh Chodesh. In the times of the Beis HaMikdash, Rosh Chodesh was determined by the actual birth of the moon. Witnesses would testify before beis din that they saw the rebirth of the new moon, and beis din would pronounce that that day was Rosh Chodesh.

Niehaus-062113
 

Posted on: June 20th, 2013

JudaismParsha

“Just one Shabbos and we’ll all be free!” We all know MBD’s classic song, which swept the Jewish music scene in the 80’s, and it is actually based on the following midrash (Shemos 25:12): “If Klal Yisroel will keep one Shabbos properly, Ben-Dovid (a reference to Moshiach, not MBD…) will immediately come.” However, this requires explanation – why is it that we will be redeemed through keeping Shabbos? Let us discover an amazing new aspect of Shabbos that will also help us to properly utilize the upcoming “Three Weeks” – the days of mourning over the Bais HaMikdash.

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The-Shmuz
 

Posted on: June 20th, 2013

JudaismParsha

Parshas Balak ends with the daughters of Moav enticing the young Jewish men to sin. .. This quickly led to idol worship, and many Jewish men served Baal Peor.

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Posted on: June 19th, 2013

JudaismParsha

In this week’s parshah Bilam decides to approach Balak with the intention of cursing the Bnei Yisrael. En route his donkey refused to continue on the path, continuing to veer to the side of the road. At one point the donkey smashed Bilam’s leg into the wall. Bilam hit his donkey three different times. The reason that his donkey would not proceed is because it saw that there was a malach standing in the road with his sword drawn.

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Posted on: June 14th, 2013

JudaismParsha

The Rambam, therefore, adds a second component: by getting angry, Moshe misled the people as to the nature of God. The masses felt that Moshe's anger was reflective of God's anger.

Leff-061413
 

Posted on: June 14th, 2013

JudaismParsha

One of the most complex Tanach personalities is the central figure of this week’s Haftorah: Yiftach, the Shofet, Judge.

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Posted on: June 12th, 2013

JudaismParsha

In this week’s parshah the Torah discusses many halachos of tumah. One halacha is that a person who is tamei may not enter the Mikdash. Doing so makes him liable for kareis.

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Posted on: June 6th, 2013

JudaismParsha

In this week’s parshah the Torah tells us that Hashem told Aharon to redeem every firstborn child. This is known as pidyon haben. The Rema, in Yoreh De’ah 305:10, rules in the name of the Rivash that one may not appoint a shaliach to perform pidyon haben. Many Acharonim argue with this ruling and posit that one can appoint a shaliach to perform pidyon haben.

The-Shmuz
 

Posted on: June 6th, 2013

JudaismParsha

Korach, carried away by jealousy, led two hundred fifty men in rebellion against Moshe and Hashem. These were all great individuals; they had all witnessed Moshe going up to Har Sinai to accept the Torah, and they all heard Hashem speak through Moshe. Yet they willfully and intentionally set out to depose Moshe – to prove he had veered off from that which Hashem had told him. Moshe, recognizing the danger they were placing themselves in, did everything he could to get them to back down. Nevertheless, they remained steadfast in their revolt, and marched to their destruction. In the end the entire congregation – man, woman, infant and child – died a terrible death.

Weiss-053113
 

Posted on: May 30th, 2013

JudaismParsha

On this Shabbos, Parshas Shelach, we bentch Rosh Chodesh Tammuz which falls on the following Shabbos Kodesh and Yom Rishon (June 8 and 9 on the English calendar).

Hertzberg-053113
 

Posted on: May 30th, 2013

JudaismParsha

One of the most studied intelligence failures of the past fifty years is Israel’s performance in the lead up to the Yom Kippur War. Despite numerous indicators that Egypt and Syria were planning an actual attack, Israel’s intelligence establishment continued to dismiss them as acts of deception. To be sure this failure was not one of “collection.” Israeli intelligence had collected many facts and identified numerous “dots.” Rather, this was a failure of analysis. The question is why did this happen?

2
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Posted on: May 30th, 2013

JudaismParsha

In this week’s parshah we read about the episode of the meraglim. The meraglim were sent to spy on Eretz Canaan to see if it was militarily feasible for the Bnei Yisrael to conquer the land by defeating the nations that were living there.

The-Shmuz
 

Posted on: May 30th, 2013

JudaismParsha

One of most tragic events in the history of our people was the sin of the miraglim (spies). When we left Mitzrayim we were exalted and untouchable, feared by all the nations, respected by the world. Forty-nine days later we gathered at the foot of Har Sinai to accept the Torah. The plan was for the Chosen People to then march right into Eretz Yisrael. Had the events transpired as planned, the conquest would have taken root so deeply that we never would have been thrown out.

Leff-052413
 

Posted on: May 23rd, 2013

JudaismParsha

Do you say Shema before you go to sleep? I’m sure you do. But perhaps you, like many, feel too tired at night to say the entire tefillah of Kri’as Shema as it appears in the siddur. If you do say the entire tefillah, you will recognize a pasuk in this week’s Haftorah. And if you don’t say the whole Kri’as Shema al Hamitah, perhaps after this column, you’ll re-consider and find yourself connecting with the following very comforting pasuk.

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