Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Bava Batra 110

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 Batra 110. These are some highlights.

Bava Batra 110: Is the rule that a child will be like the brother

Why Be Religious?

We Orthodox Jews are a strange people. We believe in a God whose existence we cannot prove. We believe in a God we cannot see, nor have we ever heard. We live by laws that cannot be tested in a laboratory.

Too many Jews, even after yeshiva day-school education, are no longer religious, others

Sephardic and Ashkenazic Gittin: A Comparison

Those who have visited both Sephardic and Ashkenazic batei knesset know that there are some differences in their content and style. While the core is the same there are some noticeable differences. What about a get, a Jewish divorce document? Are there differences between a Sephardic get and an Ashkenazic get? If so, are

Did Moses Have a Speech Impediment?

Part I

We have all heard the idea that Moses had a speech impediment, since he tells God that he is “chevad peh” and “chevad lashon” (Ex. 4:10). But what exactly do these terms mean? This week we will focus on Rashi’s explanation. Next week, we will address some of the explanations

Parshas Behar-Bechukosai: The Cycle of Seven

One can’t help but wonder what is so significant about the number seven that Hashem makes it so relevant to cycles of time: the seven-day week, the seven-year Shemita cycle (leaving the land fallow), and then the 7x7 cycles of the Yovel and the Omer. Rav Shamshon Rafael Hirsch, zt”l, points out that most units of time are

Searching for the Yerushalayim Within Us

When I learned in yeshiva in Israel some 25 years ago, I was told by a native Israeli that if one wants to get the pulse of the country, speak to a cab driver. I write this article somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean on my return flight from Israel. One of my goals for this trip was to gain a newfound understanding and

Studies Show

I had a bit of a mixed relationship with Navi (Prophets) during middle school. I loved learning Navi because I enjoyed the intricacies of the plot lines and the lessons learned. Shoftim (Judges) is still a favorite. In class, I used to draw little cartoons instead of taking actual notes because the image was easier for me

Emunah During Difficult Times

Today’s haftarah reading does not focus upon the first parsha, Behar, which discusses the laws of Shemita, Yovel and land ownership in Israel. Instead, the reading reflects the harsh words of the tochacha, the admonition that we read in the second parsha, as the navi rails against the wayward people who had turned to

Counting the Omer: The Direction We Need to Be Going

We’re a generation obsessed with narrating our life’s story. Everyone seems to be constantly trying to capture the moment, to share their story with friends and family, near and far, via Instagram, Facebook, selfies, etc. This is the age of techno-storytelling. Yet, haven’t the Jewish people always been storytellers? Only, it

What Do We Really Know About Authentic Israeli Culture?

“Makom: Innovative Israel Education” is The Jewish Agency’s central resource for Israel education, providing programming, content and workshops for global Jewish communities, institutions and leaders, rabbis, activists and informal educators. I was privileged to be part of their first cohort in 2007, and as

Marta Felberbaum: A Life of Extraordinary Faith

Marta Felberbaum, by all appearances an ordinary woman, was anything but ordinary. Felberbaum, who passed away on April 7 of this year, was born in Czechoslovakia on June 21, 1928, and went on to live quite an extraordinary life.

As a young child, she and her family lived well in Czechoslovakia,

Jerusalem Day June ’67: Witness to History

(Editor’s note: This is the conclusion of a two-part series excerpted from journal entries kept by Fried, an American volunteer in Israel just before and during the Six-Day War, culminating with the reunification of Jerusalem.)

Wednesday June 7: