Friday, March 24, 2017

Divrei Torah

The True Power

The Gemara in Bechorot poses the question as to why honey is considered to be kosher. The Torah prohibits any secretion or part of a living being from being consumed while the creature or animal is still alive. The same question is posed elsewhere concerning milk. The basis of this law is the prohibition of “ever min hachai,” one of the seven Noahide laws

Kiss of Life

This week, as Chani was getting ready to leave for her scheduled doctor’s appointment, our almost 3-year-old son, Dovid, said to her: “You no need to go doctor, Mommy. I give you kiss and make it all better!”

In Dovid’s mind it makes perfect sense. After all, whenever he gets a boo boo,

Bava Kama 51-58

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 53 and 55. These are some highlights.

Finding Comfort in the ‘Seven Haftarot of Consolation’

With the haftarah of “Nachamu” we begin a series of readings known as the “Shiv’a D’n’chemta,” the Seven haftarot of Consolation that lead up to Shabbat Shuva, the Shabbat before Yom Kippur. All of these haftarot are taken from the Book of Yeshayahu and are meant to lift us from the depths of depression and rejection

Devarim: Og’s Bed

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Tehillim 116:3: Chevlei Mavet Have Encircled Me

Many of us know the term chevlei mashiach. Although this term is not found in Tanach and is a later expression, the word chevlei (root: chet, bet, lamed) is found in Tanach. It has the meaning of the anxiousness and/or labor pains that the expectant mother feels approaching birth. So chevlei mashiach means the period of anxiousness or pains before the coming of the

Why Are My Sephardic Neighbors Getting Haircuts, Washing Their Clothes and Bathing This Week?

Why did my Sephardic neighbor get a haircut in the middle of the Three Weeks and even in the midst of the Nine Days? Why are they doing their laundry and bathing during the Nine Days? Doesn’t this run counter to the halacha?

The answer is that it runs counter to the Rama, Rav Moshe Isserles, who is the major arbiter of Ashkenazic Halacha. However, Rav Yosef

When the Answer Is No

It was one of the first funerals that I attended. The rebbetzin of our shul, the Young Israel of Bensonhurst, passed away. Rebbetzin Schwartz, z”l, had been sick for some time, and we were regularly reciting Tehillim on her behalf in shul. My rabbi, Rabbi Elias Schwartz, shlit”a, began the eulogy for his wife by saying that he

Guidelines for Tisha B’Av When It Falls on Shabbat

(Courtesy of Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky, Congregation Ohr HaTorah, Bergenfield)

1) Seudot on Shabbat are eaten as usual; however, all eating and drinking must end before shkia (check local listings; in Bergenfield at 7:57 p.m.).

2) Although it is Shabbat, the mood,

Balak: Kabbalat Shabbat at the Infi rmary

In his role as an itinerant storyteller (and a summer camp doctor), the Maggid has been privileged to serve on the staff of a wonderful sleepaway camp in Pennsylvania for eight years. The following story is one of those rare Maggid tales that is actually based on a true incident. It’s a little bloody, so reader’s discretion is advised. Bamidbar: 23:

For This We Mourn

Parshat Devarim is always read on Shabbat Chazon, the Shabbat preceding Tisha B’Av. The appearance of the word Eicha uttered by Moshe Rabbeinu in this parsha is consistent with the gloom of the Nine Days. Another message found within the parsha makes its reading appropriate for the most somber Shabbat of the year. The parsha begins with Moshe addressing the nation

Pinchas: The Yearly Review

Bamidbar: 27:1-11

Devora was called into one of the senior partners’ offices at Watkins, Guthof and Schwartz five or six times a day for some sort of consultation, but today was different. Today was her yearly review. She was the ranking associate in the law firm for matters of health