web analytics
October 28, 2016 / 26 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘TORAH’

The Joy Of Torah

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

Simchat Torah is the culmination of the entire festival season. Gone, at first glance, is the unique introspection of the Days of Awe, and the fearfulness of the period of judgment is replaced by a day of rejoicing and revelry.

The change in mood is so striking – certainly from the solemn joy of Yom Kippur but even from the inner happiness experienced on Sukkot – that it is not unknown for the spiritual highs of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to be lost or forfeited in the riotous behavior some indulge in on Simchat Torah.

This refers not just to the execrable drinking that occurs in certain precincts but especially to the ambiance found in many (but by no means all) shuls.

Thus, one who takes a young child to shul only on Simchat Torah and Purim is probably not inculcating in that child the reverence that should typify our deportment in shul, and it will probably take years of training to reverse that impression. That is not to say that young children should not be taken to shul on Simchat Torah but rather that they should be put on notice that the conduct they will witness is atypical.

Undoubtedly, the festivities are cathartic for those who are uncomfortable with the seriousness of Yom Kippur. But the question is: What exactly are we celebrating on Simchat Torah?

Of course one is obligated to rejoice when completing any cycle of Torah study, and so the conclusion of the annual Torah readings and its immediate renewal are appropriate grounds for rejoicing. These are milestones in life, and the transition from Moshe’s death with the Jewish people poised to enter the land of Israel back to the beginning – literally, “in the beginning” – reflects another year in which we have heard, studied, internalized, and been uplifted by the Torah’s message. Now, another such year is beginning.

And rather than returning to the same place – both in the Torah and in our lives – we are actually ascending a spiral staircase in which we gaze back at the previous year, cherish the insights that have shaped our minds and refined our deeds, and eagerly anticipate the next cycle of readings.

And so we dance, and do hakafot with the Torah in appreciation and gratitude for the divine gift to the Jewish people. Some argue that hakafot on Simchat Torah are an example of the innovations that once characterized Jewish life but have now been frozen by a stultified rabbinate. Well, not quite.

The hakafot of Simchat Torah are actually extensions of the hakafot that are made throughout Sukkot. Every day of Sukkot we grasp our arba minim and march around the Torah that stands in the center. On Simchat Torah we hold the Torah itself, and circumambulate the place from which the Torah is read.

Better said, we are circling our version of Sinai – the shulchan from which the sounds of Torah emanate – and celebrating with “He who chose us from all the nations and gave us the Torah.”

After weeks of repentance and soul-searching, confessions and fasts, and on the verge of returning to our daily lives, we need to celebrate the Torah, elevate it in our eyes, show our love for it, and prepare to re-integrate it in all its aspects. Amid all the celebrations, we must realize that dancing with the Torah is not an end in itself but a natural expression of our love for Torah. But that love is primarily actualized not by holding the Torah, waltzing, fox-trotting or tangoing with it, or even kissing it when it passes in front of us. That love is fully consummated only when we study the Torah, observe its laws, cherish it, and protect and preserve it from those who try to modify it to suit the times.

* * * * *


One cannot love the Torah and constantly find fault with it nor can one love the Torah and negate or minimize its divine origin. One cannot love the Torah and try to change it, anymore than one can love a spouse while trying to change that person as well. Both are futile quests. We can only change ourselves.

Sometimes we have to change ourselves to accommodate the spouse who might have an irritating trait or two (love conquers all). Sometimes we have to change ourselves and surrender to the dictates of a divine Torah, even when we find some of the commandments challenging in one way or another.

It is a basic rule of Jewish life that every person will have to struggle with at least one area of Torah, even if only because the Torah demands that we overcome our natural instincts and defer to God’s will. In theory, only the perfectly righteous observe the Torah without difficulty, but the perfectly righteous are not that large a demographic today. Nonetheless, true love of Torah always requires that we conform to God’s will rather than expect God’s will to conform to our needs.

Not long ago, a yeshiva high school principal wrote that “the reconciliation of the Torah’s discussion of homosexuality represents the single most formidable religious challenge for our young people today.” Without at all discounting, trivializing, or minimizing the struggle that some have with this issue, if such is “the single most formidable religious challenge for our young people today” they should count their blessings.

The world has never spared the Jewish people formidable religious challenges, and to be sure, many have unfortunately succumbed to those challenges. But imagine if they had to deal with grinding poverty, relentless persecution, pogroms, the Holocaust, the Haskalah, high infant mortality, and forced conversions.

Imagine if these young people had to witness their families murdered before their eyes by an enemy driven to destroy them because of its hatred of Torah. Imagine if they had to encounter the Inquisition or were forced to abandon all their worldly possessions and flee into exile. Imagine if these young people had no job on Monday because they failed to show up for work on the previous Shabbat.

Rabbi Steven Pruzansky

The Parsha Experiment – Ha’azinu-V’Zot Habracha: The Inspiring Conclusion To The Torah – Part 2

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

 In this week’s video, we close the entire Torah, and we ask ourselves, what lessons can we learn today? How can we be inspired by the Torah’s messages, and fulfill our destiny as a people?


This video is from Immanuel Shalev.


Link to last weekhttps://www.alephbeta.org/course/lecture/vayeilech-2016-5776

Want More?

Join our growing community: https://goo.gl/xv0UbG

Help us grow and support what we do: https://goo.gl/NRLN3d  Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Aleph.Beta.Academy Follow us on twitter: https://twitter.com/Alephbeta123


For more on the end of Torah: https://goo.gl/TBJMWq and https://goo.gl/99T348

Immanuel Shalev

SPECIAL INVITATION: Tour Hebron This Monday with Yishai Fleisher #TourHebron

Friday, October 7th, 2016

Dear JewishPress.com Readers,

Connect to your roots just in time for Yom Kippur!!!

You are invited to a special Olim tour of Hebron and a visit to the Machpela Tomb of the Jewish People’s founding fathers and mothers.

When: Monday, 10th of October, 2016 Meet at 9:45 AM in front of Binyanei HaUmah in Jerusalem opposite Central Bus Station

Return: Back in Jerusalem by 5PM

What’s included: We will tour Hebron’s sites, the Machpela, Beit Hadassa, and Admot Yishai (including the Tomb of Ruth and Yishai) and we will have time to pray, meditate and learn. We will visit the Hebron Museum, see the new 4D film, and have dairy brunch.

Cost: 50 NIS per person

Security: The tour will include bullet proof bus and security guard

REGISTRATION: Please reserve your seats ASAP by emailing tour@hebronfund.org

Registration closes 11AM Sunday October 9th. Spaces are limited to one bus (50 seats) – so register quickly!!

Looking forward to seeing you,

Yishai Fleisher
International Spokesman
Jewish Community of Hebron, Israel

Yishai Fleisher

Ein-Gedi Scroll Target of Hi-Tec Recovery Mission

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Prof. Brent Seales and his team from the University of Kentucky have further unlocked the text in the ancient Ein-Gedi scroll — the very first, severely damaged, ink-based scroll to be unrolled and identified noninvasively. Through virtual unwrapping, they have revealed it to be the earliest copy of a Torah book – Vayikra-Leviticus – ever found in a Holy Ark.

“This work opens a new window through which we can look back through time by reading materials that were thought lost through damage and decay,” said Seales, who is a professor and a chair of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Kentucky. “There are so many other unique and exciting materials that may yet give up their secrets — we are only beginning to discover what they may hold.”

Seales and his team have discovered and restored text on five complete wraps of the animal skin scroll, an object that likely will never be physically opened for inspection.

In a study published in Science Advances Seales and his co-authors, including researchers from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, describe the process and present their findings, which include a master image of the virtually unrolled scroll containing 35 lines of text, of which 18 have been preserved and another 17 have been reconstructed.

“We are releasing all our data on the scroll from Ein-Gedi: the scans, our geometric analysis, the final texture,” said Prof. Seales, adding, “We think that the scholarly community will have interest in the data and the process as well as our results/”

The software pipeline, referred to as “virtual unwrapping,” reveals text within damaged objects by using data from high resolution scanning, which represents the internal structure of the 3-D object, to digitally segment, texture and flatten the scroll.

In 2015, Seales and his team revealed the first eight verses of the Book of Vayikra in the scroll, which is at least 1,500 years old and was badly burned at some point. Due to its charred condition, it was not possible to either preserve or decipher it. However, high resolution scanning and virtual unwrapping has allowed Seales to recover substantial ink-based text at such high quality that Jerusalem’s Hebrew University scholars can now conduct critical textual analysis on it.

“With the aid of the amazing tomography (imaging by sections) technology we are now able to zero in on the early history of the biblical text, as the Ein-Gedi scroll has been dated to the first centuries of the common era,” said Hebrew University’s Prof. Emanuel Tov, co-author and leading scholar on textual criticism of Hebrew and Greek bibles. Hebrew University’s Prof. Michael Segal also worked with Tov on the textual criticism. The text of the scroll and its analysis is published in Textus, the journal of the Hebrew University Bible Project.

The scroll was unearthed in 1970 in archaeological excavations in the synagogue at Ein Gedi in Israel, headed by the late Prof. Dan Barag and Prof. Ehud Netzer of the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University and Yosef Porath of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). The IAA’s Lunder Family Dead Sea Scrolls Conservation Center, which uses state of the art and advanced technologies to preserve and document the Dead Sea scrolls, enabled the discovery of this important find.

“The discovery of text in the Ein-Gedi scroll absolutely astonished us; we were certain it was a shot in the dark, but the most advanced technologies have brought this cultural treasure back to life,” said co-author Pnina Shor, curator and director of the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Dead Sea Scrolls Project. “Now, in addition to preserving the Dead Sea Scrolls for future generations, we can bequeath part of the Bible from a Holy Ark of a 1,500-year old synagogue.”


Israel Inspired: An Epic Journey from Paganism to Judaism [audio]

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

In this rare interview, new convert to Judaism Ben-Tzion Mandela shares his journey from a Pagan village in Kenya to being a Jewish Krav-Maga fighter studying Torah in a studying premier Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

The Land of Israel

The Yishai Show: Biblical Game of Thrones [audio]

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

On this week’s show: Kings, Prophets, Priests, and Necromancers all compete for power – but who is top dog?? And is there a separation of Shul and State? Rabbi Yishai is joined by Rabbi Mike Feuer to discuss the Torah’s system of Israeli governance and how to balance Biblical politics with the commandment to walk simply with God. Plus, how to keep the fruit trees from being harmed in a time of war. Prepare for Shabbat with Spiritual Cafe!

The Land of Israel

Israel Inspired: What’s the Story with these Torah Observant Gentiles? [audio]

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

As Jeremy returns from his cross country tour, he and Ari discuss the historically unparalleled phenomenon of Torah studying gentiles who love Israel and the Jewish people. What is at the core of this movement? What is the motivation? Tune in as Ari and Jeremy address both the harmony and the tension that this revolution is bringing to the world.

The Land of Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/multimedia/land-of-israel/ari-and-jeremy/israel-inspired-whats-the-story-with-these-torah-observant-gentiles-audio/2016/09/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: