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Thursday, April 02, 2020

Divrei Torah

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

Fulfilling Our True Desire

A well-known yeshiva high school discovered one of their students might not be Jewish. The parents had raised the child as a Torah-observant Jew, but the lineage of the mother was in question. The yeshiva looked into the matter and confirmed that the mother’s mother was not legitimately Jewish. As such, their Torah-observant student was

Keep the Faith

Har Sinai is every­thing!! For the first time in history, God descended into the human realm and revealed Himself to an entire population of three million strong. This epic revelation hasn’t repeated itself in over 3,400 years. Every religion asserts formative events in the evolution of their religious system. However, no

Yitro’s Secret Trait

It is often asked what was it that helped Yitro merit becoming the father-in-law of our greatest leader and teacher, Moshe Rabbeinu. Which of his character traits defined who he was, and thus propelled him to raising a daughter who would marry Moshe? Furthermore, why did he merit to have the parsha with the ma’amad Har Sinai (standing at

Yitro’s Place

Yitro is such a seminal figure in Jewish history that he has his own parsha, but more importantly is singled out by the Torah with descriptive words that connect him to the Torah in a profound manner.

Firstly, names embody destinies, and Yitro’s name rearranged spells tori, allegorically meaning “my

Hashem Doesn’t Laugh. At Us.

Yitro heard, he understood, he took to heart, he implemented, he came, and he became. Yet we know that Yitro was a person who spent his life going from idol to idol, from cult to cult, testing the grounds of worship in a world antithetical to Hashem’s sovereignty. How did Yitro get inspired and join the Jewish nation? Rashi explains what