Think Before You Act

There is more to be learned from Hashem’s diagnosis. A blessing is critical in helping us properly focus when we do a mitzvah.

Followership

The very act of learning in rabbinic Judaism is conceived as active debate, a kind of gladiatorial contest of the mind.

Daf Yomi

Delaying A Funeral To Honor A Deceased A Nazir may Defile Himself For A Mes Mitzvah (Nazir 47a)

A Good Deed

I have realized in the last few months that the friends and acquaintances in our lives are there for a very special reason. It is clear that we are in relationships to help each other at different times in our lives.

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).

Ransom Loan

"Do I have to repay the loan?" he asked. "Does Yosef have to reimburse me? What if doesn't have that sum, does he owe me in the future?"

Say Thank You, Out Loud

Our sages who tell us that causing a chassan and kallah to rejoice is like rebuilding one of the ruins of Yerushalayim.

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?

Sound The Alarm

My column usually focuses on guiding and advising those who have difficulty navigating the turbulent waters that challenge their personal lives. From time to time I depart from that format to comment on the issues that affect our very lives as a people. Of late this has occurred more frequently than usual. Events are unfolding so rapidly that before we can absorb one, another befalls us.

What Was Yaakov Afraid Of?

At the beginning of this week’s parshah we learn that Eisav was coming with 400 men to attack Yaakov and his family. We are told of the many preparations that Yaakov took before this encounter. The pasuk says that Yaakov was very afraid, for as it is written: “vayira Yaakov me’od, vayeitzer lo” (Bereishis 32:8). Rashi tells us that this fear was not for his own life; rather this fear was that he might have to take other people’s lives. In Rashi’s words: “shema yehareg es acheirim.”

Appropriate Zealousness

What about other cases? What about other scenarios that offend and disgrace the honor of Hashem? How do we know when to act and how to act?

Take A Breather (Part II)

Rabbeinu Yonah notes that the nefesh and ruach represent man’s instinct for thriving and surviving in a physical or material way.

Feeding Your Animals First

It was only after permission was granted to eat animals that man was permitted to fully own animals.

Our Readers Respond

Special Note: I have received an unusual volume of mail in regard to my articles on the discovery of Ilan Ramon's diary and the Shabbos prayer he planned to recite which miraculously survived fire and a plunge through space at thirteen thousand miles per hour.

The Termination Of Shtetl Life

Over a year ago, I suggested that our knowledge of the Holocaust was limited because of our familiarity with only a few, well-known stories from that period.

The Refusal To Be Comforted

The deception has taken place. Joseph has been sold into slavery. His brothers have dipped his coat in blood. They bring it back to their father, saying: “Look what we have found. Do you recognize it? Is this your son’s robe or not?” Jacob recognized it and replied, “It is my son’s robe. A wild beast has devoured him. Joseph has been torn to pieces.”

Shabbos Mevorchim Teves

Our Jewish calendar is based on the lunar year, and Rosh Chodesh, literally the head of the month, occurs when the moon renews itself. It is a holiday — in that we daven mussaf, just like on Shabbos and Yomim Tovim, we do not conduct fasts, and the pious among our people eat a special seudah. Traditionally, women do not sew on Rosh Chodesh and refrain from performing heavy-duty tasks.

The Weeping Statue

It is well known that each month is aligned with one of the tribes of Israel, with Tammuz being aligned with Reuven. What is Reuven all about?

Many Jews, One People

Our task as a people of destiny is to bear witness to the presence of G-d – through the way we lead our lives (Torah) and the path we chart as a people across the centuries (history).

V.A.T. Refund

While in Israel, Dov purchased two large portraits. With the frames, the total price came to 1,200 NIS.

Reb Elimelech M’Lizhensk (Part X)

To the misnaged-opponent, chassidus was not perceived as a different strand of normative Judaism, nor as a movement to uplift downtrodden Jews – but as an existential threat to Judaism itself. And the threat was no longer viewed as a futuristic potentiality; it was a real and imminent danger, for the movement was no longer limited to just the commoner but had infiltrated the ranks of scholars.

Purim Is Not Jewish Halloween!

Is the way we celebrate Purim the ideal way to spiritually experience it?

Sharing the Fruit

We glorify God, not in numbers, but in expansiveness. We too, are bringing our First Fruits when we're not busy battling each other over what is ours or who speaks the truth. Our Bikkurim begin with affording room for people to explore and grow.

Parshas Bamidbar – Prophet Marries Prostitute… Huh?

There is a great debate as to whether this story actually took place or is simply a metaphor, a prophetic vision shown to Hoshea by Hashem.

Is It Proper…? Should a frum Jew believe the sun goes around Earth if...

Should a frum Jew believe the sun goes around Earth if the Rambam says it does?

Q & A: A Mother’s Mitzvah (Part I)

Question: I am a single mother of young children. Their father has shirked all his responsibilities to them. I do my best for my children, but it isn’t easy. Isn’t their father in serious violation of the Torah by neglecting his children and not making any effort to provide them an education? No Name Please (Via E-Mail)

BEHA’ALOTECHA: Can I Be Vulnerable with G-d?

How can we understand, and relate, to the Children of Israel, a seemingly ungrateful, chutzpadik nation as it crosses the desert?

A Beautiful Story About The Rebbetzin

We sat on a bench, and he spoke to me about how Hashem guides everything happening in the world. When we see something unusual, in particular, we should realize hashgacha pratis is at work.

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