Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Divrei Torah

Whose Torah Is It?

Every element of the Mishkan was iconic—symbolizing an important aspect of religious experience. The holiest and, arguably most iconic, article was the Ark or Aron, which housed the luchot as well as a Sefer Torah; the housing for the Torah highlighted by ornate gold and decorations symbolizes the majesty of the experience of Torah

The Best Investment Tip Ever

A close friend told me of a major challenge in his business. An employee of several decades recently left his company to work for a competitor. Before leaving, this ex-employee convinced many clients of my friend’s business to transfer their accounts to the new company. My friend had helped this person in so many ways, and yet,

Do the Ends Justify the Means?

One of the greatest problems that has dogged religious life throughout the centuries is the place of material wealth and money in the structure of religious life. It is obvious to all that wealth and money corrupt and sully noble programs and plans. The question boils down to the old and eternal issue as to whether the noble ends – Jewish


The Midrash in this week’s parsha discusses a man who could’ve been easily ranked as the number-one most ferocious and intimidating person to roam this earth. A ruler of the entire world indeed, Nebuchadnezzar’s reign was so powerful and fearsome that the Gemara (Shabbat 149b) testifies: “All the days of the rasha’s rule, not a

Obligations From Parshat Terumah

Bnei Yisrael are told to take Terumah for God. The famous question is asked why it doesn’t say natan, to give. Perhaps we could suggest that the Torah is saying that all of Bnei Yisrael are kohanim and this terumah is really a taking for themselves. (Furthermore, the fact that the Torah uses the word “terumah,” in this general giving,

Tens of Thousands Worldwide Become ‘Dirshu Yidden’

“Upon entering the Spinka Shul in Boro Park, I couldn’t believe my eyes! The large beis midrash was packed. Upstairs, downstairs, wherever one looked…people were waiting patiently on line to get their tests, others were taking tests standing, leaning on shelves of sefarim shranks, and then I saw something that was so

The ‘Other’ Book of Sinai

Delineating the various religious manuals delivered at Har Sinai, the Torah mentions the luchot, or tablets, containing the Ten Commandments, and a sefer Torah containing the word of God and His 613 commandments. After listing these two Divine “compilations,” the pasuk includes a redundant phrase: “asher katavti,” which literally

Our Obligation to Assist

Parshat Mishpatim is the biggest source for mishpat Ivri—Jewish law—the ancient legal system developed throughout thousands of years of Halacha. In modern use, the term refers mostly to the parts of Halacha that regulate social behavior: the court systems, monetary issues, markets, torts, employment, social rights and obligations,

Modeling the Character Of Hashem’s People

My busy schedule doesn’t allow much leisure reading, but each week I take a few minutes to peruse Rabbi Yoel Gold’s column in Ami Magazine. He relates inspiring stories of divine providence. A few years ago, he told the story of a Jewish man (we’ll call him “Isaac”) who was staying in a hotel in the West Coast for

I Can’t ‘Ear’ You

The very beginnings of both this parsha and last week’s parsha present a contrast.

In last week’s parsha, the parsha opens up saying וַיִּשְׁמַ֞ע יִתְר֨וֹ,“Yitro heard,” and as Rashi explains, that which caused Yitro to join the Jewish nation was hearing of the

Infertility in the Torah

In recent Torah parsha readings we seem to come across many instances where our matriarchs had difficulty conceiving. Sarah only had a baby at the age of 90. Rivka waited 20 years to conceive with Yitzchak. Rachel also had trouble conceiving a baby. The Tanach mentions the wife of Manoach, Chanah, the woman from Shunam and Ruth as other

Machatzis Hashekel: The Great Equalizer

Avos d’Rav Nason teaches that when one person gives anything to another, whether it is a gift, assistance, or other act of kindness, the manner in which the act is performed is more important than the value of what is given. Without a smile, even giving a million dollars is worthless. With a smile, even a modest gift is worth more than a