Sunday, February 16, 2020

Divrei Torah

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

Selichot, Teshuva and Elections in Israel

As Selichot commence this Saturday night (for Ashkenazim), the buildup to the Great Days begins in earnest. These are days of judgment, of pronounced Divine Presence, but also days of identity-crafting. During this period we fashion the person we would “like to be” from the shards of the person we “have become.” Teshuva and

The Significance of Hurricanes

Hurricane season is here. We recently experienced the devastation of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas a short while ago. Residents from Florida to North Carolina were making preparations to deal with the water, wind and fury that the hurricane was expected to bear down upon them. What is worse is the loss of electricity that is sure

The Essence of Viduy

This week’s parsha discusses the law of allocating any of the third-year tithes that might have remained in our possession. The Torah commands that along with the allocation one must also recite viduy, a “confession” that he has properly performed all of the relevant mitzvot associated with the giving of the tithes.