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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Divrei Torah

Is Somebody Sitting Here?

David was excited to attend the training he was sent to for work. The room was filled to capacity when he arrived, and although he was on time there were only a handful of seats remaining. He managed to grab a seat at one of the front tables and was grateful that at least he had a place to put his books and write. Others who were even a moment late were confined to

Pride Under Attack

This week, America marks the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. A few years ago, I was recounting to my fifth grade Ashar students my personal memories of that horrific day. I mentioned that it was the first time in my life that I, and many of my friends, felt genuine fear.

I also related that immediately after the attacks there was a sudden surge of

The Promise of Children to Inhabit Desolate Cities

Parshat Ki Teitzei

This week’s prophetic selection, the third and fifth in the series of seven haftarot of consolation, is taken from the 54th and 55th chapters of Yeshayahu. Interestingly, the opening prophecy of Chapter 54 is read for Parshat Ki Teitzei while the later prophecy is read for

The Jewish Count From Creation

Nowhere in Tanakh is anyone counting from creation, and even after the period of the Tanakh, there is no evidence for use of our Jewish count from creation in the several centuries that followed. What is the origin of this count?

As further background, if one looks at how Jews dated events in the Amoraic and Geonic periods, we see a contrast between the Jewish

After a Summer of Eruv Inspections, a Powerful Question Emerges

A gnawing question arose after devoting much of this past summer to inspecting more than 20 communal eruvin in North America. Ranging from Canada to California, Chicago to Washington D.C., Nassau County to Bergen County, the same conclusion emerges in virtually every eruv I reviewed: every eruv needs a Yom Kippur.

On Kippur we recite “Hayom ya’amid

Just Beneath the Surface

Editor’s Note: This week we welcome Rabbi Dovid M. Cohen, OU ambassador to the NY Jewish community and Director of Community Engagement for Yachad, to The Jewish Link, who will be writing a regular column on relationships and shidduchim. 

Join

Ki Teitzei: The Dent

Devarim: 22:1-4

The Walgreens parking lot on Washington Avenue was a train wreck. The spaces were too close together, and the whole lot was overcrowded. It was a wonder cars didn’t smash into each other all the time.

Oscar Shapiro had gone to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription of acne cream for his daughter. It was a routine run, nothing out of

Bava Kamma 101 and 103

May these words of Torah serve as a merit le’iluy nishmat Menachem Mendel ben Harav Yoel David Balk, a”h.

This week we learned Bava Kama 101 and 103. These are some highlights.

Bava Kama 101: May one use painted reed mats for s’chach?

A man acquired reed mats that had been

Parshat Shoftim: Who Will Comfort Israel?

After recognizing in the opening words of the third haftarah of consolation (a selection we did not read last week because it was Rosh Chodesh) that Israel was not yet fully comforted (“Aniya so’ara lo nuchama,”) Yishayahu opens this prophecy with Hashem’s reassurance: “Anochi, Anochi Hu Menachem’chem”—that I, God, am the One Who will personally

Put the Awe Back in Awesome

The home of the great composer Ludwig van Beethoven has been preserved and serves as a museum in Bonn, Germany. One historical gem in the museum is the piano upon which Beethoven composed most of his renowned works. The piano is estimated to be worth more than $50 million and is understandably roped off and out of the reach of the thousands of visitors who pass it by

Top 10 Contemporary Emunah Opportunities

People wonder whether emunah was easier in earlier generations than in current times. Undoubtedly, this generation faces some significant challenges regarding emunah. However, opportunities also abound to enhance one’s

Beyond Law and Order

On a Sunday afternoon a number of years ago, my in-laws were visiting us from Lakewood and we went to a local pizza shop here in Monsey for lunch. As soon as we walked in I detected an uncharacteristically excited expression upon my father-in-law’ s face that I had never seen before. Before I could say anything, my father-in-law motioned to a sole fellow who was