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Daf Yomi

22 Tammuz 5772 – July 11, 2012
Soul Food ‘It Comes To Include A Fragrance’ (Niddah 52a)

The Draft Controversy In Israel

A comment by Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz the other day set us thinking about an element in the draft debate that could only manifest itself in an Israeli context.

May One Finish Davening After The Z’man?

16 Tammuz 5772 – July 5, 2012
In this week’s parshah Balak hires Bilam to curse the Jews. The Gemaras in Berachos 7a and Avodah Zarah 4a say that there is a very brief moment during each day when Hashem allows himself to get angry. The Gemara says that no one was ever able to exact that moment except for Bilam the rasha, as it says: “veyode’a das elyon – and he knew Hashem’s knowledge.”

Q & A: Chazzan And Congregation (Part V)

2 Tammuz 5772 – June 21, 2012
Question: I understand that at a minyan, the chazzan is required to repeat Shmoneh Esreh out loud so that people who may not know how to daven can fulfill their obligation to daven with the chazzan’s repetition. What, however, should the chazzan do when he reaches Kedushah and Modim? I hear some chazzanim say every word of Kedushah out loud and some only say the last part of the middle two phrases out loud. As far as the congregation is concerned, I hear some congregants say every word of Kedushah and some say only the last part. Finally, some chazzanim and congregants say Modim during chazaras hashatz out loud and some say it quietly. What is the source for these various practices? A Devoted Reader (Via E-Mail)

My Hero, King David

24 Sivan 5772 – June 13, 2012
The Bible introduces us to many fascinating and inspiring personalities, righteous men and women whose example of piety continue to guide and uplift us to this very day. There are some, however, to whom we can relate in an especially powerful way and whom we can truly strive to emulate.

Why Women Can Recite Birchas HaTorah

3 Sivan 5772 – May 23, 2012
The Rambam begins hilchos talmud Torah with the following halacha: Women and slaves are exempt from talmud Torah. A man is obligated to teach his son Torah, as it says, “velimadetem osam es beneichem ledaber bam.” However, a woman is not obligated to teach her son Torah because whoever is obligated to learn is obligated to teach – and since a woman is not obligated to learn, she is not obligated to teach.

Shavuos: Torah, Shabbos and the Jews

Shavuos. How unremarkable a name for a Yom Tov that celebrates the very foundation of our existence. Actually, Shavuos is one of five names designated for this holiday, the others being Atzeres, Yom HaBikurim, Chag HaKatzir and Z’man Mattan Toraseinu.

‘Never Forget Your Mission’

25 Iyyar 5772 – May 16, 2012
For the time being, at least, this will be my closing column on my experiences in the hospital in San Diego. Today, Baruch Hashem, I am on my way. I had the zechus to be at our Hineni Fortieth Anniversary Dinner, to greet the overflow crowd and impart my heartfelt love to them. True, I am walking with a cane, sometimes a walker, but I am walking, speaking, teaching and writing, and for as long as Hashem will allow me, I shall continue to try to serve Him.

Sefirat Ha’Omer At Sunset

Question: May one recite Sefirat Ha’Omer with a berachah after sunset (shekiah)?

Counting The Previous Day’s Sefirah

17 Iyyar 5772 – May 9, 2012
One who forgets to count sefirah at night may count during the day without a berachah, and then continue counting the rest of the days with a berachah. If one forgets to count sefirah at night and does not remember to count by day, he may not count with a berachah thereafter.

The Image Of My Father

11 Iyyar 5772 – May 2, 2012
I have had much experience in bikur cholim – visiting the sick. Even at the age of six I would accompany my saintly father on his rounds to slave labor camps where young Jewish men were incarcerated by the Hungarians prior to the Nazi occupation.

How Much Marror Must One Eat?

21 Nisan 5772 – April 12, 2012
In order to fulfill one’s obligation in the mitzvah of matzah, one must eat a k’zayis amount of matzah. This is because the Torah uses the wording of achilah (eating) when it commands the mitzvah of matzah.

Hashgachah Pratis: Readers Respond (Continued from Last Week)

For the past several weeks I have been focusing on hashgachah pratis – personal, individual and national guidance that comes from heaven. Sadly, in our secular, high pressured, very often decadent society, many voices assail us and we have difficulty hearing the still small voice of G-d leading and prodding us.

Why Don’t We Make A Berachah Over Korech?

14 Nisan 5772 – April 5, 2012
The Gemara in Pesachim 115a says that there was a machlokes regarding how one was supposed to eat matzah and marror in the times of the Beis HaMikdash. Hillel said that during those times, when there was a korban Pesach, matzah and marror should be eaten together. His peers argued that they must be eaten separately. The Gemara concludes that since the halacha was not paskened we eat matzah separately, then marror separately, and then both together to accommodate both opinions.

Purim Afterthoughts

21 Adar 5772 – March 14, 2012
Purim is the one Yom Tov all Jews can celebrate. Special knowledge is not required and the demands of its observance are easy enough.

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.

Daf Yomi: ‘Unsaying’ Words

23 Shevat 5772 – February 15, 2012
‘He Uttered Hashem’s Name In Vain’ (Temurah 3b)

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?

Lechem Mishneh

10 Shevat 5772 – February 2, 2012
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.

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