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29 Tevet 5778 -
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Face To Face With Miracles

Our sages teach us that when we have left this life and face the Court on High, we will be called upon to answer for our lives. Among the questions we will be asked is, “Did you throughout your lifetime eagerly await and anticipate the geulah, the ultimate redemption?”

Gaza’s Greatness And Shimshon’s Struggles

We often sit through the haftorah without understanding what it is all about. “Why do we read the haftorah anyway?” we sometimes think. Krias HaTorah of the parsha makes sense—we read a portion of the Chumash each week so that over the course of the year we have completed the entire Torah. But what is the goal of reading the haftorah? We know that it is not so we can finish Navi on some kind of schedule. What then is the purpose of the haftorah?

Shavuot

Although Megilat Rut is one of the most beautiful stories regarding unadulterated chesed, it also serves as a primer on leadership. After all, its primary purpose is to establish the lineage of King David’s dynasty. Therefore we should expect to glean from it some important leadership lessons. Yet at first blush it would appear more apt to describe it as a book about followership. Rut’s noble commitment to join the Jewish people, despite all the hardships this entailed, is captured in her stirring words (1:16): “To where you will go I will go, where you will sleep I will sleep, your nation is my nation…” These words seem to constitute a declaration of what is termed “followership” more than leadership. However, a recent class trip, with my Yeshivah’s 8th grade, to the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis helped clarify matters.

Loving Parking Tickets: Wearing The Right Glasses

Is it really possible for any self-respecting New Yorker to love parking tickets? I have seen those orange rectangular pieces of paper become the nemesis of society. As a result, those trying to earn a meager living giving out these tickets have become Public Enemy Number One. We view them as “out to get us,” deliberately attempting to make our lives miserable.

The Merit Of Living In Israel

Yaakov Avinu received word that his brother Eisav was coming to greet him. He understood fully well that this was not to be a warm family reunion. Eisav came accompanied by a band of four hundred armed men, bent on revenge. The Torah says Yaakov was “very frightened,” so he prepared for war.

Rav Yosef Hochgelanter

Rav Yosef Hochgelanter, the rav of the city of Zamushet, where Rav Akiva Eiger received his early training while still a young boy, was a great scholar and the author of Mishnas Chachamim. At the time he was chosen to be rav of the city he was the son-in-law of a very wealthy man who was very generous with his support.

A True Commitment

In the vernacular of our sages and in our prayers, Pesach is titled, “Z’man chayrusaynu- Time of our freedom.” Although we did attain freedom at the time of our redemption from Egypt, titling the holiday as such doesn’t seem to encapsulate the root of the holiday’s greatness.

Ours Is To Question Why…

After a long and detailed description of the avodah (service) to be done in the Mishkan, the parshah ends with statement that “Aaron and his sons did as they were told.”

Rav Yaakov Berlin

One of the great gaonim was Rav Yaakov Berlin, the father of the Netziv (Naftali Tzvi Yehuda of Berlin), the rosh yeshiva of the Volozhin Yeshiva and a leader of European Jewry at the close of the 19th century.

The Mercy Of Hashem

The entire Jewish nation – every man, woman, and child – experienced the revelation of Hashem on Har Sinai. They saw Hashem as clearly as humans can, and they attained a level of prophecy. Now they were being offered one of the greatest gifts imaginable: Hashem Himself was going to dwell among them.

Yannai and Rabi Shimon

The Return Of The Sage When Rabi Simeon ben Shetach saw that he had found favor in the eyes of King Yannai (after he appointed him Nasi of the Sanhedrin), he approached the king and said: “If I have found favor in your eyes will you grant me a wish? Something sorely vexes me that only you can rectify.”

‘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.

What We Can Learn From Trees

Tu B’Shevat is not just “another day.” It’s the Rosh Hashanah for trees, one of four roshei hashanah that occur in the Jewish calendar year (Mishnah Rosh Hashanah 1:1).

Dinah’s Daughter: A Vital Link

This week’s parsha, Vayislach, relates a shocking episode that causes genuine outrage in the Israelite camp -- the Canaanite Prince Shechem’s brutal assault of Yaakov’s daughter Dinah.

Shemayah and Avtalyon

From the descendants of Sancherev, a heathen King of Ashur who attempted to destroy Yerushalayim, arose great teachers in Israel — Shemayah and Avtalyon.

Counting Our Blessings

This week we read Parshas Vayeitzei, the parsha in which Yaakov Avinu meets Rachel and Leah, marries and begins a family. What an appropriate time to take a look at our own lives and focus on all the good we have been blessed with.

Rav Akiva Eiger

Modesty and humility are traits that were usually found in our Gaonim. When the Chasam Sofer was courting the daughter of the Gaon, Rav Akiva Eiger, the chief rabbi of Posen (born Nov. 8, 1761 - died Oct. 12, 1837), he wrote to the Gaon in­quiring about the qualities of his daughter.

Sarah: Prophetic Princess To Mankind

Our first matriarch’s original name, Sarai, meant “Princess to Her People.” When her name was changed to Sarah, its meaning took on a universal connotation: “Princess to Mankind.”

Torah Is The Greatest Treasure

The inhabitants of Simonia once came to Rav Yehuda HaNasi (also known as Rebbe) and asked him to recommend a scholar to serve as their rav, dayan, teacher and sofer. Rebbe sent them Levi ben Sisi.

What We Can Learn From Chazal About Dating

A recent piece posted on Matzav.com signed by "A Crying Bas Yisroel" chillingly lamented the plight of a young single woman, with fine personal qualities but without any family money or yichus, who sits forlornly waiting for her phone to ring with calls from shadchanim. Alas, the phone never rings, and for her, the shidduch system is an ongoing nightmare.

The Illusion Of Privacy

Anthony Weiner is the latest in a long line of public figures caught by surprise at the unveiling of their own closet misdeeds. Weiner (and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the still-presumed-innocent Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and so many others before them) lived in a bubble of false security, created in part by their own hubris. Perhaps their biggest mistake, however, was believing their personal lives were somehow sacrosanct, impermeable, separate and apart from their public lives.

Our Children Are Not Hefker

One week ago on my website I announced my intention to attend the next court appearance of a man who was arrested last year and is now standing trial on 10 felony charges of child abuse.

Tender Reminiscences: Chief Rabbi Carlebach And My Family

A few months before my family emigrated in 1938 to the United States from Hamburg, Germany, I had the special privilege at the bris of my brother, Micha, to sit on the lap of Chief Rabbi Joseph Carlebach, zt"l, a revered rabbinical giant of his age.

Letters To The Editor

A Place At The SederHis Eminence HaRav Mordecai Eliyahu, the former chief rabbi of Israel, has given his blessing to a proposal by Rabbi...

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Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/face-to-face-with-miracles/2012/06/06/

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