Thursday, February 20, 2020

Divrei Torah

The Twentieth of Sivan

The 20th of day of the month of Sivan (chof Sivan) has been designated by sages to be a day of fasting and commemoration of tragedies that befell the Jews of Western and Eastern Europe in different eras.

In 1171, tragedy struck the Jewish community of Blois France. A horrific blood libel accusation which had been leveled on several occasions in England

Don’t Say “Lashon Hara”

When you ask someone to stop gossiping it can get awkward. On one hand, you don’t like what the other person is doing. On the other hand, you don’t want to act as if you are better than your friend. So, you can say something, you can try and ignore what is being said, or you can run away screaming “My neshama! My neshama!” Assuming you want to

Chinuch Roundtable

In a continuing effort to get to know our wonderful mechanchim and hear their opinions about important issues and concerns facing our school-aged children, the following question was asked of our panel:

Is it the responsibility of the rebbe or teacher to mechanech (educate) his students beyond the time of the classroom? Furthermore,

Torah Web Leil Iyun Scheduled for MAY 12

The latest TorahWeb.org Leil Iyun will take place at 8:00 PM on Sunday, May 12, at Bnai Yeshurun. It will feature Rav Hershel Schachter discussing “The Role of Mesorah and Consensus in Psak Halacha,” and Rav Michael Rosensweig addressing, “What Must a Jew Believe? Foundational Beliefs and Their Practical Implications.”

TorahWeb.org events, serving the

Shavuos is The Time for Happines

In March 2011, the New York Times attempted to discover the happiest person in the world. Using a formula called the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, the paper found that the happiest person in the world is an Orthodox Jew. Is this shocking to you? If we can generalize from this individual, what is it about our lives as Orthodox Jews that makes us so

The Four Cups of Redemption

Perhaps the most fascinating halakha associated with the rabbinic commandment of daled kosot is mentioned in the first Mishna in Arvei Pesachim. The Mishnah (99b) states “…Even the poorest amongst Israel …must not drink less than the four cups of wine [on Pesach night] even if he/she [must receive a stipend] from the communal charity fund.”


The Intrinsic Unity of Israel

One of the central themes of the episode of Har Sinai is the immense unity that the Jewish people enjoyed as they encamped at the foot of the mountain. Rashi, in his famous comment citing the Midrash on the verse, Vayichan shom Yisroel neged ha har, extrapolates from the usage of the singular vayichan rather than the plural

That’s Cold!

Sometimes, when it’s late at night and the whole world is still, you can feel like you’re the only one alive.  As you roam around, you can sense the solitude, taste the peace and quiet, and usually, you go to the kitchen for a midnight snack.  Okay, so maybe that’s just me, and for some reason, I imagine that those of you who know me aren’t

“Uniformity and Uniqueness”

One of the interesting paradoxes of human life is our tendency to copy one another and to try to “fit in” with friends and acquaintances, while simultaneously trying to be distinct from others, and to be our “own person.”

The pressures of conformity are very strong in all human societies. People who are different are often treated as outcasts. And each

Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance!

One of the biggest challenges I have as a teacher and parent is motivating young people to sing and dance as they rejoice on Shabbat and on Jewish holidays.  One might think that it would be a greater challenge to make Talmud study relevant and to inspire today’s students to delve into the analysis of the intricacies of halachaZemirot

The Process of Sin

It is a word that one hears frequently these days, in many contexts. The word is process. It is a word that reflects our growing recognition that there are very few things in this world that occur in an instant, yesh me’ayin, something out of nothing.

When one faces a complex set of circumstances, he is well advised to assume that these

Holding onto our trip down memory lane

Last month, President Obama challenged our memories. On a stage full of mothers who have lost children in recent gun violence attacks, the president spoke of continued efforts to tighten gun laws. With resistance to such laws stiffening in Congress, the President reminded us that after the Newtown shooting, “the entire country was shocked, and the entire country