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Friday, March 24, 2017

Divrei Torah

Parshat Devarim: Shabbat Chazon

Although this week’s haftorah is the opening chapter of Sefer Yishayahu (whose opening word became the title for this Shabbat), there is rabbinic disagreement as to whether it is the prophet’s first vision or whether that is reserved for the prophecy found in the sixth chapter, where Yishayahu receives his charge from God to undertake the responsibility of being a

A Yemenite Sefer Torah at Shaarei Orah

An amazing new addition to Congregation Shaarei Orah, the Sephardic Congregation of Teaneck, arrived last week. Beloved and long-time Shaarei Orah members Rachel and Itamar Carmi presented the beautiful 50-year-old scroll to our congregation to the delight of all.

One congregant posed a poignant question. He heard that the Yemenite Sefer Torah differs from

Why Is There No Nun Verse in Ashrei?

As we all know, Tehillim 145, which comprises the bulk of the Ashrei prayer, is missing a verse for the nun letter.

Many scholars think that there must have been a nun verse here once and that our text is defective. Evidence they rely on is that a text of Tehillim 145 has been found among the Dead Sea texts and it includes a verse for nun. The verse reads:

10 Must-Know Facts About the Teaneck Eruv

As a follow-up to last week’s column, please note the following important information regarding the Teaneck eruv.

1) The Teaneck Eruv Team—The Teaneck eruv has since its inception been a fine eruv. Recently, intensive efforts have been made to further upgrade the eruv. First, let’s introduce our team. The lay leaders, Joey Bodner and Murray Leben, are a

Destruction, Exile and Redemption

One of the fundamental teachings of Judaism is the idea that there is meaning in all historical events. This meaning refers to a divine design, a master plan that encompasses all of history. The Jewish religion is founded on the divine assurance and human belief that the world will be perfected. The Messianic dream is the great moving force of Jewish history and of the

Nefilat Apayim—Not at Shaarei Orah! (Or Any Other Sephardic Synagogue)

For those not familiar with Sephardic practice, this comes as a complete shock. Upon hearing Sephardim reciting amen after the bracha of Hashkiveinu, one recognizes that the kehillah is following the Rambam who (unlike Tosafot) believes that one should recite amen upon completing a series of brachot. Upon hearing a

A Lesson From a Rest Stop

In my family, when we drive on vacation, we have our set rest stops we visit when taking a familiar trip. As we have family in Baltimore, the rest stop on Interstate 95 in Delaware has always been a favorite destination along our journey. When traveling on an unfamiliar path, I may stop at a rest stop but may not notice or remember nor document its location. The

Understanding the Mandate of ‘Loving Thyself’

In last month’s article, we observed the convergence of Torah precepts and psychological theories regarding the critical role “self-love” plays as a prerequisite for healthy psychic development and successful interpersonal relationships. We discussed the idea that from infancy through early childhood, the child experiences an age-appropriate form of

My Father, Master of My Youth

This week’s haftarah, the second of the “t’lat d’pur’anuta,” three haftarot of punishment that precede Tish’a B’av, is taken from the second and third chapters of Yirmiyahu and is a direct continuation of the selection that we read last week. This, the first prophecy that the navi addresses to Israel, accuses the people of being disloyal to God. By

Bava Kama 44-51

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 46 and 47. These are some highlights.

Bava Kama 46: Must an employer pursue his employees to pay them?
Ahavas Chessed (9:11) writes a novel law about the following case: An

Balak 5776: Everyone and Anyone

“Actually, you know, my middle son was studying 18th-century history and the American War of Independence, and he said to me the other day, ‘You know, Lord North, Dad, he was the British prime minister who lost us America. So just think, however many mistakes you’ll make, you’ll never make one that bad.’” —Hon. Tony Blair, then Prime Minister of the UK,

Rethinking Expecting and Expectations

There are many expectations of members of the Orthodox community. We expect our young men and women to work hard in college and pursue lofty professional goals. We expect young men and women to marry young. We expect young couples to start growing their families in a timely fashion. Along with all the excitement that fills the first years