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4 Shevat 5778 -
? Saturday, January 20, 2018


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Two Men, Two Prayers, Two Miracles

My column on prayer last week touched sensitive chords in many hearts. It is apparent that in our troubled times people are struggling with the entire concept of prayer. Does it really work? Is there Someone listening, or is it a waste of time?

Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Seventeen: The Milkman’s Daughter

Tevye decided to stay in Shoshana until the birth of Hodel's baby, which was only a month away. He forbade Bat Sheva to speak...

Jacqueline Nicholls: New Works

Jacqueline Nicholls, a Jewish artist from England, presents us with a formidable challenge. Namely, what is the role of a contemporary Jewish Woman artist and how does one confront patriarchal dominance? She presents her response to both queries in her current exhibition at the JCC Manhattan, beautifully curated by Tobi Kahn and organized by Tisch Gallery director Megan Whitman. The results are breathtakingly forceful, subtle and insightful.

Fighting In The South Pacific

My name is Eli Freundlich. I was 18 and had just graduated Torah Voddath in Williamsburg. America had entered the war a few years before. I wanted to be drafted so was happy when I received my notice. It was July 1943 - July 27, 1943 to be exact – when I was sworn into the American Army.

Missing Florida Millionaire Left Tefillin on Abandoned Boat

Guma Aguiar, a Florida businessman and philanthropist who went missing in June, left his tefillin on his abandoned boat.

Keeping the Faith

An increasing number of Orthodox Jews are questioning their faith and educators don't know how to respond.

‘Personally Unique’

Phil and Mike were part of a team of construction workers building a skyscraper in the middle of the city. When it was time for their lunch break they sat down together with their feet dangling twelve stories from the ground. Phil opened his lunch box and peered in, “Peanut butter and jelly?! Again peanut butter and jelly! I have had enough! If I get peanut butter and jelly again tomorrow, so help me I’m going to jump right off this structure.” Mike then opened his lunch box and peered in, “Tuna fish?! Again Tuna fish! I can’t take it anymore. If I have tuna fish for lunch one more time I’m going to jump off with you.”

The Modern And The Old Jew

The name of the Gaon, Rav Yitzchok Elchonon Spektor, was known to Jewry throughout the world. He was also well know to Russian royalty, having visited the Czar many times to plead for his fellow religionists.

Daf Yomi

No Cell Phones Please! ‘A Kerchief That One Designated For Storing Tefillin’ (Berachos 23)

Can Somebody Tell Me Why?

If a Jew is thrown into prison and he doesn’t have tefillin, then he can’t perform the mitzvah of putting on tefillin. But the mitzvah of tefillin isn’t cancelled because of this. The very first morning that he gets out of jail, he once again must perform the mitzvah of putting on tefillin

Eternal Love Story

Parents know each child is different. Similarly, each month is different; each has a different “personality” and a different function. What is the nature of the month of Elul?

Daf Yomi

Kerias Shema Twice At Night? ‘When One Reads Shema’ (Berachos 8b)

The Proper Times For Reciting Shema

There is a fundamental difference between the times set for reciting the Shema and all other prayers. Whereas our sages linked the times for prayers to the times of the Temple sacrifices, the time for reciting Shema is fixed by the Torah itself – “beshochbechah uvekumechah” – when you lie down and when you get up.

The Torah Source For Covering One’s Hair

We recently layned Parshas Naso which contains the Biblical source for the obligation of a married woman to cover her hair. An eesha sotah is a woman whose husband suspects her of having acted immorally. The Torah commands the Kohein to take various steps to demonstrate that the sotah has deviated from the modest and loyal path of most married Jewish women (Rashi 5:15-27). Among the procedures, the pasuk clearly states: “ufora es rosh haisha…” and he shall uncover the hair of the head of the woman (5:18).

Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Two: Golda

Tevye took the shovel and started to dig. The earth was hard, but after breaking through the frozen topsoil, the ground became looser below. Whoever would have dreamed of Tevye digging up his Golda?

Tzitzit, Tefillin, And Women

Question: Why don’t women wear tzitzit and tefillin?

Why Women Are Obligated To Build The Beis HaMikdash

The Rambam, in Hilchos Beis Habechirah 1:12, derives from the pasuk in this week’s parshah, “u’veyom hakim es haMishkan… – and on the day the Mishkan was set up…” (Bamidbar 9:15), that the Beis HaMikdash can only be built by day, not by night. Further in that halacha the Rambam writes that both men and women are obligated in the mitzvah of building the Beis HaMikdash. The Kesef Mishneh explains that the source for the halacha that women are obligated in this mitzvah is from the pasuk in parshas Vayakhel: “v’kol ishah chachmas lev beyada tavu – and every wise-hearted woman spun with her hands.”

It Beats Writing Trashy Movies in Hollywood: Part 3

When I finally made aliyah, I knew lots of people, and was already half “Israeli”. I lived in Jerusalem with the saintly old lady I had met on my first visit, and spent my days running around with Rabbi Hazani, designing street posters and helping him with the campaign to free the Jewish Underground until he dragged me to the Machon Meir Yeshiva

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: Holy People In The Holy Land

It is simply not the same to put on tefillin or keep kashrut or observe Shabbat in the Diaspora as in Israel. The Torah is the constitution of a holy people in the holy land. Only in Israel is the fulfillment of the commands a society-building exercise, shaping the contours of a culture as a whole. Only in Israel does the calendar track the rhythms of the Jewish year.

Rebuke: The Malpractice Of A Mitzvah

According to the Targum, it appears that if Reuven ate a ham sandwich and I didn’t rebuke him, I would be punished for his sin. This seems difficult to understand. Why should I be punished for his sin? At most, you might argue that if I was capable of rebuking him and didn’t, I would be responsible for the sin of not rebuking him. But how do I become responsible for the sin he perpetrated? He transgressed it; I didn’t.

Lost And Found

My son lost his backpack when traveling back to his base. He had put it in the hold of the bus in which he was traveling. He would need to replace his wallet, tefillin, clothes, books, phone charger and all of his documentation. Of course the tefillin was the most important item of all. It was a bar mitzvah gift from his grandparents and specially written for him, and we all know how expensive tefillin are. But obviously the sentimental value was irreplaceable.

Things I Do And Things I Don’t

The Dos Zakainim explains that the reason every korban must be brought with salt is to remind us that just as salt is a preservative that allows food to last longer, so too the sacrifices are permanently ours to cleanse us from our sins.

If I Only Had One Jewish App On My iPhone

This past week I saw a video preview of an upcoming iPod app that excited and inspired me to the point of near tears. It was for RustyBrick’s jaw-dropping ArtScroll Schottenstein Talmud app. Unfortunately that app won’t be out for another few months (but take the time to check out the preview at www.rustybrick.com), yet I realized after months of writing this column that I had yet to give the due attention to RustyBrick’s Siddur app.

An Unseemly Hour

It’s my first moment of wakefulness, and I’m chilled to the bone. Pull the covers over myself, I’m thinking, while I decide to roll over to look at the clock. It’s 5:30 a.m. and I’m exhausted. But attending morning minyan – even once – is the least I can do.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: The Power Of Art

The name Bezalel was adopted by the artist Boris Schatz for the School of Arts and Crafts he founded in Israel in 1906, and Rav Kook wrote a touching letter in support of its creation. He saw the renaissance of art in the Holy Land as a symbol of the regeneration of the Jewish people in its own land, landscape and birthplace. Judaism in the Diaspora, removed from a natural connection with its own historic environment, was inevitably cerebral and spiritual, “alienated.”

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