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5 Kislev 5778 -
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My Hero, King David

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.

The Gift Of Unity

During the past several weeks I have shared many of my own personal experiences and those of others. I am referring not only to my recent hospitalization following the breaking of a hip, but also to my series of articles on hashgachah pratis – events that befall us that can easily be attributed to random happenings but upon closer scrutiny and honest introspection testify to the ever-guiding Hand and mercy of Hashem.

German Bullies, A Milk Bucket, And Divine Providence

Judaism holds that nothing happens by chance, that everything is orchestrated by Hashem. And so it was long ago on a Sunday morning, about a month after Pesach when my father ran an errand for his parents.

A Trip Through History

A week- seven days. That’s how long I spent in the dustbin of Jewish History that is Poland. I went there to learn about, and to see first hand, the country that housed the absolute horrors of the Holocaust, but I also went to see the places that had once housed such rich Jewish life. As such the trip focused, in my opinion, on three aspects of Jewish life in Poland: pre-war, the Holocaust years and then post-war.

The Revelation On Mount Sinai – A Strengthening In Faith Forever

There is a tradition from the Vilna Gaon that Milchemes Gog and Magog at the time of Moshiach will last only 12 minutes. In that short amount of time 1/3 of the world will be destroyed, 1/3 severely wounded and 1/3 will survive. Until recently this was incomprehensible - how could such destruction happen so quickly?

Beyond Belief

Here we are again – Shavuos, the yom tov commemorating the giving of the Torah, God’s greatest gift to mankind. If someone were to say to me, “It’s unbelievable that Hashem gave us His amazing Torah,” I would respond, “That’s the wrong way to put it. ‘Unbelievable’ means ‘not to be believed.’ The correct expression is, ‘It’s beyond belief’ – meaning more than belief. Hashem loves His charming nation beyond words.”

Title: Sorosi Bamdinos on Shir Hashirim and Ruth

It’s refreshingly rare to welcome a new compendium on the targum of Megillas Shir Hashirim and Ruth (in one volume), just released by Rabbi Henoch Levine. This is the tenth volume in a series by the author, acclaimed for his expertise in targumic studies in general, and for his works on Targum Yonasan Ben Uziel Al Hatorah, in particular.

Bamidbar: A Unique Awareness Of Hashem

The Generation of the Wilderness was unique in the history of Israel, as Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, explains concerning the first verse of Bamidbar. Israel was slated for a special mission in the world, and this mission was begun with a special forty-year inauguration in which Israel gained an intense and unmatched closeness to Hashem.

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.

Understand The Ways Of Hashem

The truth is sometimes unpopular or uncomfortable. Thus, people who wish to dismiss the Hand of Hashem from history and human affairs may be taken aback by the assertion of Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, based on the beginning of this parshah, that the suffering that befalls Israel comes for a Divine purpose. Rabbi Miller finds this purpose explicit in the opening words of Bechukosai, and observes that this “wish” (to dismiss the Hand of Hashem from history) is not a Jewish way of thinking.

Luckily, Avraham Wasn’t a Complainer

Avraham Avinu packed up his belongings without saying a word and hastened to the Land, even though it was loaded with savage heathens, prostitutes, idol worship, murderers, and rapists, even though there wasn’t one synagogue, kosher butcher, or luxury villa to be found.

Is It Time To Cry Out Again?

"In every generation they try to kill us, and the Holy One, Blessed Be He, rescues us from their hands." Every year, for centuries, Jews the world over say these words at the Seder. I paid particular attention this year as this phrase was sung by the golden-voiced Dudu Fisher, a chazzan and Broadway star, who led sedarim at Kutcher's Hotel in the Catskill Mountains.

Was There A Coincidence In The Air?

My daughter, son-in-law and three children had reason to move to Buffalo, NY from Brooklyn this past summer. As we watched our grandchildren’s cute little faces peeled and waving through the back window, we knew we were in for a huge adjustment. We knew we would obviously miss them but we also were aware that we gave our children wings to do as they saw necessary (and they saw it necessary to drive seven hours away to their new home).

Acharei Mos/Kedoshim: Solitude And Isolation

The restrictions Yom Kippur places on each Jew are unique among the Torah’s holidays. Likewise, the intricate and detailed Temple service that was performed...

The Image Of My Father

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.

Yehareg V’al Ya’avor

The following is one unique halacha that is associated with arayos (forbidden relationships): Concerning most aveiros, if one is put in a predicament where he must choose between saving his life and fulfilling a mitzvah he must choose to live and transgress the mitzvah. The Gemara says that arayos are one of the three mitzvos that are yehareg v’al ya’avor (one must allow himself to be killed so as not to transgress the mitzvah), along with murder and avodah zarah.

Daily Midot Program

Our Mission: When it comes to Chesed the Jewish people are at the front of the line. We’ve tackled Chesed and everyone is aware of the unbelievable work and generosity that we are involved in. Now it’s time to take on a new, more difficult challenge: Middot (character trait).

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.

I Will Keep Dancing…

I’m learning to walk again. Every step is painful. I go with a walker. There is a security belt wrapped around my waist which the physical therapist watches carefully so that in case I stumble she will be able to catch me. As I make my way, the nurses and other health care personnel smile and congratulate me: “You’re doing wonderful! You’re doing great!”

Food For The Soul

“Tell Bnei Yisrael, “These are the creatures you should eat.” – Vayikrah 11:2 Chovos Halevovos (Sha’ar Avodas Elokim 3) explains that Hashem created man out...

Q & A: Harsh Punishments (Part I)

Question: I find it very difficult to understand the punishment of death that was meted out to Rabbi Akiba’s students. If he was so...

Will Pig Eventually Be Kosher?

In this week’s parshah the Torah teaches us which animals are kosher to eat and which are not. The Torah says that the pig, although it has split hooves, is not kosher since it does not chew its cud. The medrash on this pasuk says that the reason that the pig is called “chazir” is because in the future Hashem will return (lehachzir) the pig to Bnei Yisrael and permit it to be eaten.

My Own Hashgachah Pratis

Several weeks ago I started a series on hashgachah pratis, or Divine Providence. Every believing Jew knows that events do not just unfold randomly; the story I told of two brothers named Yaakov and Yedidya clearly testified to that reality in a contemporary setting.

The Continuing Story of Yetziyas Mitzrayim

“And Hashem told Moshe, lift up thy rod over the sea and divide it”... And Moshe ordered the sea to divide. But the sea refused. “Why should I obey you,” it said, “You are but a man born of a woman and besides, I am three days older than you, I was established on the third day of creation, and you were created on the sixth day.”

Pesach – Season Of Emunah

Historically, one of man’s greatest shortcomings has been taking credit for Hashem’s work. Only too often does a man find success and, in his arrogance, feel his power and his might created his empire. The Torah warns us, Remember: it was Hashem who brought all this to be.

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