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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Divrei Torah

Celebrating Our Unsung Heroes

This past week at my shul, Ohr Torah, we celebrated the amazing achievements of our graduates at our annual Graduation Kiddush, spelling out the well-earned honors and awards of each individual. In the modern world’s challenging environment it is very hard to excel and we should take every opportunity to celebrate those milestones and

Is Esther True?

The holiday of Purim celebrates the story told in the biblical book of Esther. Yet, as we read the Megillah, some people ask whether the story is historically accurate. Historians have long questioned the historicity of the events described in Esther. The Megillah reads more like a political thriller than a historical record or even a

Perfection

Every Friday night we say in Eishet Chayil, “Gimalat’hu tov vilo ra—She bestows good and never bad all the days of her life” (Mishlei 31:12). In the simple pshat, this is referring to the female gender; however, allegorically, it is referring to Torah.

Rav Avraham Genechovsky zt”l,

Probing the Prophets: Parashat Sh’lach

This week’s haftarah is taken from the second perek in Sefer Yehoshua, which actually relates events that took place even before those found in the first chapter. The first chapter includes the commands that Yehoshua gave to B’nai Yisra’el to prepare for entering Eretz Cana’an within three days. The story of the spies sent by the

Probing the Prophets: Parshat Beha’alotcha

The haftarah that we read from Sefer Zecharya this week is one familiar to us, for it serves as the reading for Shabbat Chanukah as well. The obvious connection to both Shabbatot is the theme of menorah, which is the source of our eight-branched chanukiah and the seven-branched menorah of the Mishkan that opens our parsha. The connection

Three Dimensions

Since my childhood, I have been an avid reader. When I first discovered the joy of reading, I read everything I could get my hands on. Even today, my taste in reading is very eclectic. However, there is at least one genre of literature that I seem to avoid.

I do not read science fiction. I trace my

Differentiating Between Good and Evil

Many questions have arisen following the arrest, investigation and indictment of the youths suspected of committing crimes of violence and murder. The most important question is how to prevent adolescents, from upstanding families, from falling into deplorable and destructive behavior.

It is fruitless to

What is the Origin of the Word Midbar?

The giving of the Torah in the midbar gives me the opportunity to address this interesting word.

It is very easy to intuit that the root of this word is D-B-R. (A typical way that Hebrew forms its nouns is by taking a three-letter root and adding M to the front.) But the next step is much

Simple Belief, Genuine Belief

There was a time in my college days when I seriously considered majoring in philosophy. The rabbinic training program in the yeshiva that I attended did not include systematic study of the philosophy of religion. We focused instead upon the intensive study of Talmud and the Codes of Jewish Law. Our exposure to the thought of men like

Is It a Mitzvah to Save a Terrorist in Danger?

Several years ago, a terrorist attempted to kill a Jewish boy in the center of Jerusalem. Thank God, the boy was only slightly wounded. People at the scene chased angrily after the terrorist, seeking revenge. Suddenly, a woman (who happened to work for a charedi newspaper) arrived at the scene and shielded the terrorist with her body, thus

Let’s Talk It Over

I have long believed that all conflicts between people could be settled if the parties to the dispute would agree to simply sit down together and talk. There are, of course, times when I have come to question this belief. I often wonder whether it is not merely a vain fantasy of mine, or perhaps just wishful thinking. I have been forced to

On the Shoulders of Giants

“They don’t make them the way they used to.” We have all heard this comment with reference to all sorts of things, usually tools and utensils. Despite all the technological advances from which we benefit, we often are convinced that certain things were of superior quality in the old days. We believe that the old hammer Grandpa once