Who could ever know if learning with disciples was preferable to pursuing self-growth and attaining spiritual perfection at the feet of the generation’s most respected saint?
There are times when you need someone with the courage to stand against the crowd, others when you need a peacemaker.
An apocryphal Midrash describes the colorful sounds made by the animals etched on King Solomon’s throne. Most of these words do not appear in the Bible.
Our lives have effectively been upended for many long and fearful months, and the toll in lives lost and disrupted is staggering indeed... And it is sadly not yet over.
The Priest was “holy” and therefore set apart from the people. He had to eat his food in a state of purity, and had to avoid contact with the dead.
Rabbi Shlomo Pappenheim of Breslau (1740-1814) writes that “masveh” and “suto” are related to “stav” (autumn or fall) and refer to soft, spongy fabrics worn to insulate oneself from cold weather.
I finally got it ( I think). It wasn’t enough to know that Hashem runs the world. I have to let go and leave it up to Him.
That, I believe, is what the Sages meant when they said, “Call them not ‘your children’ but ‘your builders’” (Brachot 64a). People have to become builders if they are to grow from childhood to adulthood.
“Pakad” primarily means remembering something or someone in order to deal with it, and the most basic way of dealing with something is to determine whether it’s actually present or not – hence, it means to count.
After my last visit, I was heading back home when I noticed a shiny object on the sidewalk. It looked like a hearing aid. My aunt wore hearing aids, and I knew they could be pretty expensive. I picked it up, wondering how I'd be able to find the owner.
Torah means “law.” But it also means “teaching, instruction, guidance,” or more generally, “direction.”
Indeed, the Talmud (Shavuos 26a) exempts a person from punishment if he swore falsely to something that he thought was true.
I learned to tone down my expectations. All too often, we’ve fallen in with poor buys, bad tenants (or no tenants), unpaid rent and financial losses. Over the years, there have been more complications than I could enumerate.
If secular Jewish groups refused to get involved with the Crown Heights Riots because it was so politically incorrect – “chassidim victimized by African-Americans” – how much more so would the Democrats wish to steer clear?
Israel can learn practical politics from a Midianite but it must learn the limits of politics from G-d Himself.
Rabbi Wertheimer further notes that wings create shade and thus serve as a metaphor for offering protection.
I ask only one thing from you. When you have the opportunity to help another person, don't hesitate to do it.
Look down at the difficulties and you can give way to despair. The only way to sustain energy, individual or collective, is to turn our gaze up toward the far horizon of hope.
We now turn our attention to “eshnav.” This rather obscure word only appears twice in the entire Bible.
So here he was – a devout rabbi who had traveled far on a mission to save the life of a fellow Jew, and the wife of the only person who could change the accused man's sentence wanted to shake his hand.
Moses’ insight was profound. He knew that you cannot change the world by externalities alone, by monumental architecture, or armies and empires, or the use of force and power.
The Zohar interestingly seems to echo this idea (Bo 34a), stating that “Bo el Pharaoh” teaches us that G-d brought Moses into some sort of heavenly inner chamber that was somehow associated with the sea-creature that characterizes Egypt.
In the grand room where the chuppah would be held, chairs were spaced apart. In spite of this needed distance, we felt only closeness from our guests.
Norman responded, “Captain, nobody is going to storm City Hall, but go and tell the mayor that he’s got to come out and see all of us.”
Rabbi Pappenheim writes that “achu” refers to the brotherhood between the different animals that join up in fertile land to feast on its produce.
Leadership, even of the very highest order, is often marked by failure.
For the past number of decades there has been much religious tolerance and Jews have been able to serve their religion without fear, for the most part.
As the number of infected and deceased leaped up dramatically at the summer's end – together with a commensurate increase of protests, strikes and Covid-deniers – our government decreed the Tishrei lockdown.
Wherever leadership depends on personal qualities and not on office or title, there is no distinction between women and men.
Rabbi Hirsch notes that because kuf can be interchanged with gimmel, “kashah” is also related to “gishah”/“gashash” (approaching, impacting). Most people only consider solid objects substantial enough to approach or cause an impact.