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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Divrei Torah

Sukkot: Wood, Willows and Walls

The celebration of each of the three regalim (Pesach, Shavuot, Sukkot) is accompanied by various mitzvot expressive of agricultural and historical significance: On Sukkot we are commanded to sit in huts in order to remember our historical journey from Egypt to the Land of Israel and celebrate with our agricultural fruits and

Sukkot: Spare Parts

The holiday of Sukkot is flavored by two distinctly different mitzvot. The experience of four minim is the most aesthetically pleasing mitzvah and the arrangement is the only object referred to by the Torah as “hadar,” or “lovely” and attractive. Each of the four elements references a different feature of nature, and each

The Beauty of S’chach: Peering Through the Surface

The journey from Rosh Chodesh Elul through Yom Kippur is a 40-day experience of self-awareness, teshuva, and spiritual growth, whereby we come closer than ever to Hashem and our true selves. This process of closeness culminates in the holiday of Sukkot, which represents the ultimate connection between Hashem and the Jewish people.

Sukkot: Reflecting on the Yad Hashem

Sukkot is the Yom Tov that is characterized as z’man simchateinu, “a time for joy.” What makes Sukkot different than other holidays that don’t have this unique and exclusive distinction as being the Yom Tov of happiness? This isn’t just an ordinary kind of happiness, but rather, as the Chinuch describes it, this chag is

Parshas Ha’azinu: Day-to-Day Belief

Last week, during the Aseres Yemei Teshuva (the Ten Days of Repentance), our yeshiva, in conjunction with the Agudas Yisroel Bircas Yaakov, hosted a shiur by Rabbi David Ashear on emunah (faith and trust in Hashem) as the key to teshuva (repentance). Bringing him was a very specific choice; his talks on emunah have greatly impacted

Ha’azinu: The Voice

הַאֲזִינוּ הַשָּׁמַיִם, וַאֲדַבֵּרָה; {ס} וְתִשְׁמַע הָאָרֶץ, אִמְרֵי-פִי[1].

The Talmud Yeru­shalmi relates the following “discussion.” Nevuah (prophecy) argued that the appropriate penalty for committing a sin is death. Chochmah

We Must Never Forget

On October 27, 2018, about a year ago, Robert Bowers, armed with an AR-15 rifle and three handguns, entered the “Tree of Life Synagogue” in Pittsburgh, shouted anti-Semitic slurs and started shooting into a crowd of worshipers. He killed 11 congregants, wounded four police officers and two others. This was described as

Nearly a Half Million Children Worldwide Connect With Chofetz Chaim on Yom Limud and Tefilla

(Courtesy of Dirshu) Close to a half million children worldwide participated in the Dirshu International Yom Limud and Tefilla and the Acheinu Day of Jewish Unity on the Chofetz Chaim’s yahrtzeit this past Tuesday, 24 Elul/September 24. The event was unprecedented in size and scope, and the kiddush Hashem was

The Mitzvah of Hakhel And the State of Israel

Every seven years, in the year following a Shemita year (the sabbatical year, the seventh year of a seven-year agricultural cycle), on the holiday of Sukkot, we assemble for the Hakhel ceremony. This is an exciting ceremony. In Parshat Vayelech, Hakhel is described as the whole nation, “men, women, children and the strangers in

What Do You Daven For?

Over a generation ago, Abie Rotenberg composed a song, “Who am I,” to be performed at a HASC concert. https://youtu.be/XBBX95G1nKU

In the song, he describes how a child with special needs is really very much the same as a typically developing

What Is Life?

When the month of Elul comes, and the impending Day of Judgment, Rosh Hashanah, we not only are reflecting on specific actions we may have done or need to improve, but perhaps much more importantly we are thinking deeply on the purpose of life. To pause and ask ourselves, “Is this life that I am living a life that is

Selichot: Do Unto Others

Avi is a young man who had an “I told you so” moment. His parents had warned him, many times, to drive within the speed limit. But finally it happened: he was pulled over by the police, issued a ticket and given a summons to appear in court. Sheepishly, he told his father, who was none too pleased, but kept his cool. “Do you