Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Divrei Torah

“Humble, Not Meek”

I don’t usually disa­gree publicly with lec­turers, particularly when they are expressing opin­ions which are most­ly consistent with my own. But there was one time when I felt that I had to speak up and ob­ject to one of the speaker’s expressions.

It was at a lecture on the subject of self-ab­sorption. The speaker characterized the time we live in as

Two Jews, Three Opinions: Parshat Korach

We all nod our heads in agreement when we hear the phrase, “Two Jews, three opinions.” We similarly chuckle when we hear the anecdote about the Jew who was discovered after years of living alone on a desert island. His rescuers noticed that he had built two huts aside from the one he lived in. He told the puzzled people who saved him that they were shuls, or

“Memory Loss”

When one reaches a certain age, he does not have to be reminded that his memory is not what it used to be. These days, one receives e-mails, unsolicited of course, with such titles as “Eight Tips for Improving Memory,” and “Preventing Memory Loss in the Aging Person.” Undoubtedly, one of the conse­quences of the passage of the years is the fad­ing of some,

Distinctly Different

The term is one that I first heard back in high school. There are times that I find it helpful, and there are times I find myself resistant to using it. The term is “Judeo-Christian.”

I understand that this term was first used back in the early 19th century to refer to the fact that the roots of the religion of Christianity are to be found in the

Naso: The Coca Cola Nazirite • Bamidbar 6: 1-21

Once, in the town of Spring Lake, there lived a girl named Sari who loved Coca Cola. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Who doesn’t love a nice glass of Coke every once in a while? It’s “the pause that refreshes,” after all. But I mean Sari really loved Coca Cola. She drank it morning, noon, and night. (And I can only speak for myself, but to me, Coca

Parshat Bamidbar: My Teacher, My Father

It was November, 1938. Dark clouds were gathering over all of Europe, and particularly over the Jewish communities in countries like Poland and Lithuania. Although few foresaw the horrific extent of the Holocaust that lay ahead, everyone knew that those communities were in very grave danger.

One man, a teacher and leader of those communities, found himself in

Parshat Bechukotai: The Walking Tour

I am the type of person who has always believed that the only way to learn about something important is to buy a book about it. For example, it has been my good fortune to have traveled widely in my life and to have visited many interesting cities. Invariably, I bought guidebooks before each such visit, with detailed itineraries describing the “not to be missed”

The Halachic Status of Partnership Minyanim

Professor Aaron Koller in his recent YU Commentator article “Women in Tefillin and Partnership Minyanim” (published online 2/19/14), responds to a pair of letters written by my Rebbe, HaRav Herschel Schachter. Prof. Koller implies that R. Schachter’s objection to “partnership minyanim” is not halachic, but sociological, and that partnership minyanim

This Purim, Send Help, Not Junk Food

While Purim is our most joyful of holidays, mishloach manos are sometimes blamed for bringing unneeded clutter and excess junk food into the house just when Pesach cleaning is beginning.

So for many in our community, stocking up on candy, chips, and miniature bottles of grape juice, just to package 20 to 50 bags, boxes or baskets of

The Maggid of Bergenfield: Tetzaveh: The Non-Eternal Flame


“What is it, Josh?”

“Look up at the ner tamid,” he whispered.

“I see it, Josh. What about it?”

“The light is out.”

Jeff Lerner looked up at the ner tamid, the eternal light, in front of the aron kodesh in their synagogue. It was a small red and orange fixture in the shape of a

The Observant Jew: The Driving Test

Do you remember when you got your driver’s license? Maybe you knew all the road signs, you’d taken practice written tests, and you were pretty sure you would do well on the written part. What was nerve-wracking was the actual driving part. You’d be driving with someone you probably never met before, had no idea what temperament he might have, or what he would ask

Torah and Derech Eretz: The Frankfort Approach

(This article is reproduced with permission from the author and Tradition…footnotes have been removed and the article has been edited for brevity. We found the translation of Rabbi Shimon Schwab’s letter interesting in light of recent attacks by supposedly centrist rabbis that referred to the teachings of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch as heresy.)