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8 Shevat 5778 -
? Tuesday, January 23, 2018


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Israel and the Nations

It is in the nature of the Nations of the World to be hostile towards the Jewish People.

Life is in Its Struggles: Dealing with the Tough Questions

When the "offensive" statements in our Talmud were stated, no one thought they were offensive.

‘Hurricane Season’

It’s been a rough few weeks. It began with the news of a heinous crime just blocks from where I live on Manhatan’s Upper West Side: a nanny viciously took the lives of her two young charges. Hurricane Sandy came next, contributing additional loss of life and financial devastation of a magnitude never before experienced by our East Coast brethren.

Asking For Advice

At the age of seventeen, Yosef was wise in the ways of the Torah and in the ways of the world. He was called a “ben zikunim” because even at such a young age he showed the brilliance of an elder scholar. He had already absorbed all the Torah Yaakov had learned in the many years he had spent in the yeshiva of Shem.

The Scholars Of Brodi

A famous scholars of the beis midrash in the city of Brodi was Rav Avraham Gershon of Kitov. This modest and unassuming man possessed such wondrous qualities of goodness and knowledge that the great Nodah B’Yehudah referred to him, in part, as follows:

The One Chapter Book – Ovadiah

I always wonder about Jewish names. Some make it and some don’t. Some have mazel and others don’t. Some Biblical personalities’ names are very popular amongst the members of Klal Yisrael and then there are those personalities whose names never seem to be used.

Thoughts On Hurricane Sandy

Usually, when I begin a speech, I start with something interesting, lighthearted or funny - to get your attention and lead into the speech itself. Permit me to deviate from that this week, because there is nothing funny, lighthearted or interesting about what so many of us are experiencing, and if not us, than our friends, loved ones and neighbors, and if not them, than people a few miles away from us in Long Beach or Far Rockaway who have lost everything to 14 foot waves, or a little farther away where helpless Senior Citizens are living without water or power in high rises on the Lower East Side.

The Fascinating Life of Our First Matriarch

From the moment she is introduced as Avraham’s young bride (Bereshit 11: 29,30,31) till her death in this week’s Torah portion appropriately titled Chayei Sarah -- The Life of Sarah , the fascinating image of our first matriarch is the subject of many intriguing Midrashic commentaries.

A Labor Of Love

I recently interviewed Mrs. Tziporah Lifshitz of Maaleh Adumim, Israel about the recent posthumous publication of the book A Day Is A Thousand Years, Human Destiny and the Jewish People, authored by her late father, Dr. Zvi Faier, and edited by Tziporah and her mother, Chaya.

Noach: Hashem Hates Thievery

In this pasuk, Hashem appears to Noach, telling him the world has turned to evil and He will now destroy all of life. Noach, his family, and the animals that remained pure will be the core of a new world. The reason for this destruction is stealing – “since the land is filled with robbery.”

Rav Elyashiv, Torah and Science

One of the biggest issues that has arisen as a result of the Slifkin controversy is the question of whether Chazal, the sages of the Talmud knew the actuality of nature. There are those who say that they did. They say that every statement recorded in the Gemarah with respect to science is an accurate reflection of nature itself. The science redacted in the Talmud is as valid as the Halacha - both being Mesorah.

Bereshit: The Triple Birth of Woman

In this week's Torah portion, within the majesty and mystery of creation, the woman emerges in three successive stages.

A Colossal But Essential Pain In The Neck

Seven years ago, I was approached by a group of friends with an unexpected request. Would I be interested in running for trustee of my local public school district?

Shabbat Chol Hamoed Sukkot

Each year, amid the ebullient joy manifest during the holiday of Sukkot, we read the megillah of Kohelet. With its realistic perspective on the world, Kohelet provides us with the means to not only properly calibrate our joy, but to accurately understand the role of joy and happiness in the world.

Torah Lengthens Life

Chazal tell us that Torah is our life and the length of our days. Here is a story that proves this statement quite literally. In Yerushalayim there lived a family in which all the children passed away at an early age. Everything possible was done to protect the children from illness and the slightest danger, however, it was to no avail. Not one child lived past the age of 18.

A Lifetime Guarantee

I rarely take the extended warranty when purchasing new electronics. I figure that this warranty must not be worth much if they feel the need to pressure me into buying it. They must know what I have learned the hard way: there is no such thing as a real guarantee. In my more naive days, I purchased this "peace of mind," as they call it, but never cashed in. Usually, by the time the item broke, I had forgotten about the extended warranty and purchased a replacement.

The Tale Of Two Armstrongs In Elul

Two major news stories involving two famous men named Armstrong occurred within days of each other recently. Was it random happenstance? Or was there hashgacha involved? We know that nothing happens outside Hashem’s realm and power. But did Hashem have a specific reason for these two events occurring together when they did?

L’Zera Yaakov Tizkor

A passage at the end of the Zichronot blessing in the Mussaf Amidah of Rosh Hashanah appears to have two slightly different versions. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim, 591:7) rules that this is the correct text: “V’akeidas Yitzchak hayom l’zaro tizkor.” It also rules and those who change the words and specify “l’zera Yaakov tizkor” are mistaken and guilty of changing the text instituted by Chazal. The source for this ruling is a responsum (chapter 38) by the Spanish and then Algerian Rivash (14th century).

The Mouse Is Smarter Than Me: Preparing For Rosh Hashanah

It is hard to believe that Elul is upon us and that the Day of Judgment is only one month away. In a short 30 days we must face our Creator and have our deeds evaluated in the hopes of a receiving a merciful blessing for a good and healthy year. We spend the month of Elul focused on repentance, and we learn the holy books of mussar to inspire us to grow and change.

Title: The Lion Cub of Prague: Thought, Kabbala, Hashkafa from Gur Aryeh – The...

Rabbi Yehuda Loewe of Prague, known as Maharal, was one of the greatest lights that G-d has given to the Jewish people. Halachic authority and active communal leader, linguist and grammarian, philosopher and mystic, master of the totality of rabbinic literature and conversant in the arts and sciences as well, Maharal revealed new depths to the words of Chazal and uncovered layers of meaning that would otherwise have gone unnoticed.

Caring For Our Parents: A Child’s Hardest Job

They say that one mother can take care of five children, but five children cannot take care of one mother. One of the most challenging situations, and perhaps the most unnatural, is when children need to take care of aging or infirm parents. Why is this so difficult and why do so many of us fail at caring for our parents when they need us most?

Music During The Nine Days (Part II)

Question: Is it prohibited to listen to music in the privacy of one’s home (or car) during the Nine Days?

Midrash and Talmud

Man is seldom satisfied with his life. Even when he has done great things, amassed vast amounts of wealth and achieved great fame, he still yearns for more and his soul is not fulfilled. "No man dies with even half of his ambition fulfil­led," say Chazal.

Humanity, Liberty, Rationality: A Review of the Collected Writings of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch:...

Looking for inspiration? Read Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch. This is my general rule of thumb, which is why I was thrilled when the ninth (and presumably last) volume of the Collected Writings of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (Feldheim Publishers) came out a few weeks ago.

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