Mitzvos for Misses and Mrs. – Parashat Chayei Sarah

Mitzvos for Misses and Mrs. – Parashat Chayei Sarah

A cloud began hovering over the tent immediately upon Rivka’s arrival. When she settled in and began going about her daily activities, Yitzchak noticed a special blessing in the food she prepared. When the candles that Rivka lit before Shabbos were still burning a full week later, Yitzchak became fully confident that Rivka was an heir to his mother’s saintliness, […]

November 17, 2019 at 1:34 AM 0 comments

Life is What You Make of It

Life is What You Make of It

Sarah’s life was far from uneventful or without suffering. Her years were colored by the painful longing for a child and then the joy of Yitzchak’s miraculous birth. The first half of her life she lived outside the Land of Israel; she moved there at the age of 65. She was twice taken captive by powerful kings who desired to marry […]

November 16, 2019 at 2:22 AM 0 comments

A Legacy of Dust and Ashes

A Legacy of Dust and Ashes

It was not only because Avraham humbly described himself using the metaphor of “dust and ashes” that his descendants merited mitzvos that involve dust and ashes. Rather, these two mitzvos in particular, the red heifer and the Sotah water, reflect the heritage of Avraham as expressed in his words, “I am but dust and ashes”. With these words, Avraham effectively […]

November 11, 2019 at 4:46 AM 1 comment

Judging by the Weather

Judging by the Weather

In the midst of conversing with G-d, Avraham sees three men approaching and runs to welcome them to his home. The Gemara (Shabbos 127a) learns from Avraham’s behavior that hospitality to guests is greater than receiving the Shechina, the Divine Presence. The question is, however, having no example or precedent from which to learn, how did Avraham know that it […]

November 10, 2019 at 2:43 AM 2 comments

Angels Have Feelings Too – Parashat Vayeira

Angels Have Feelings Too – Parashat Vayeira

Avraham hosted three angels in the midst of being visited by G-d, from which we learn that hospitality surpasses receiving the Divine Presence. Yet, considering that Avraham’s guests were angels, who had no need for the food and drink he offered, did Avraham in fact fulfill the mitzvah of hachnasat orchim with this act of hospitality? In hindsight, the cause for which […]

November 10, 2019 at 1:20 AM 2 comments

Do You Feel an Urge to Be Kind?

Do You Feel an Urge to Be Kind?

According to Rashi’s explanation, G-d caused that day to be unnaturally hot in order to spare Avraham the burden of entertaining visitors, but the absence of guests was ultimately a source of anguish for Avraham. Does that mean that G-d’s plan went awry? Was G-d’s interference with the weather patterns a waste? It must be that although the plan was […]

November 10, 2019 at 12:35 AM 1 comment

Celebrating the Torah Sheba’al Peh (Oral Torah)

Celebrating the Torah Sheba’al Peh (Oral Torah)

“….He who has not witnessed the rejoicing at the water drawing, has witnessed NO real rejoicing in his entire life……” (Mishna, Sukkah 5:1) ״אמרו, כל מי שלא ראה שמחת בית השואבה, לא ראה שמחה מימיו. – משנה, סוכה ה,א The Talmud (Sukkah 48b) quotes the prophetic words of Yeshayahu (12:3),  ושאבתם מים בששון ממעיני הישועה – And you will draw water […]

October 16, 2019 at 10:12 PM 1 comment

The Sukkah Man

The Sukkah Man

“…The festival of Sukkot you shall make for yourself for seven days…” – Devarim 16:13 חַג הַסֻּכֹּת תַּעֲשֶׂה לְךָ שִׁבְעַת יָמִים – דברים טז, יג Several unique mitzvot are associated with the holiday of Sukkot, yet among them, the Torah calls the holiday Sukkot, naming it specifically for the obligation to dwell in a Sukkah for the duration of these seven days. This […]

October 16, 2019 at 11:20 AM 0 comments

Just Go Out…. – Parashat Ki Teitzei

Just Go Out…. – Parashat Ki Teitzei

“….If you go out to war against your enemies, and G-d, your G-d, will deliver him into your hands, and you will take his captives….” (Devarim 21:10) כִּי תֵצֵא לַמִּלְחָמָה עַל אֹיְבֶיךָ וּנְתָנוֹ ה’ אֱלֹקֶיךָ בְּיָדֶךָ וְשָׁבִיתָ שִׁבְיוֹ – דברים כא, י The wars addressed in this verse are not only those fought on the physical battlefield. The number one […]

September 11, 2019 at 1:47 AM 0 comments

Don’t Put Your Guests at Risk

Don’t Put Your Guests at Risk

“….When you build a new house you shall make a guardrail for your roof, so as not to cause blood in your house when the faller will fall from it….” (Devarim 22:8)    כי תבנה בית חדש ועשית מעקה לגגך ולא תשים דמים בביתך כי יפל הנפל ממנו  – דברים כב, ח   This verse speaks of building a home not […]

September 9, 2019 at 2:48 AM 0 comments

Beware of Heights – Parashat Ki Teitzei

Beware of Heights – Parashat Ki Teitzei

“…When you build a new house you shall make a guardrail for your roof, so as not to cause blood in your house; for he who falls will fall from it…..” (Devarim 22:8) כי תבנה בית חדש ועשית מעקה לגגך ולא תשים דמים בביתך כי יפל הנפל ממנו – דברים כב, ח “House” – This includes also the rooftop of […]

September 7, 2019 at 2:14 AM 0 comments

Planting Smart

Planting Smart

כִּי הָאָדָם עֵץ הַשָּׂדֶה – דברים כ, יט “…Is the tree of the field a man…” (Devarim 20:19) Translated literally, this verse is asking a rhetorical question: is the tree a human being? Why then should a tree be wantonly destroyed even when waging a war against the inhabitants of the city? We find, however, that the Talmud interprets this […]

August 31, 2019 at 2:50 AM 0 comments

Counseling Law

Counseling Law

“You shall set up judges and law enforcement officials for yourself in all your cities…” – Devarim 16:18 שפטים ושטרים תתן לך בכל שעריך – דברים טז, יח In every city where Jews live, the Torah instructs us to set up court systems comprising judges who determine the law, and officials who enforce the judges’ rulings. In the prophecies regarding […]

August 30, 2019 at 2:10 AM 0 comments

Love What You Learn – Parashat Shoftim

Love What You Learn – Parashat Shoftim

You may eat from them, but you shall not cut them down. Is the man a tree of the field? (Devarim 20:19) “The man a tree of the field” …If a Torah scholar is upright, you should benefit from him (alone – Tosfos) and not cut off from him. —Talmud, Taanis 7a The Talmud interprets this verse as reference to […]

August 27, 2019 at 3:40 PM 0 comments

The Real King

The Real King

שׂוֹם תָּשִׂים עָלֶיךָ מֶלֶךְ – דברים יז, טו “…..You shall appoint a king over you….” (Devarim 17:15) When a king is appointed, he is anointed with oil. —Rambam, Hilchos Melachim 1:7 When stating the mitzvah to appoint a king, the Torah does not mention the process of anointing the king with oil. Furthermore, Yehoshua is considered to have the Halachic […]

August 22, 2019 at 3:52 PM 0 comments

Uncountable Mitzvos

Uncountable Mitzvos

“…Who has counted the dust of Yaakov?…” – Bamidbar 23:10 מִי מָנָה עֲפַר יַעֲקֹב – במדבר כג, י Bilaam’s plot to curse the Jewish people was foiled when G-d forced him to bless and praise them instead. Describing the Jewish people’s endearment to G-d, Bilaam said, “Who can count the dust of Yaakov?” According to one interpretation brought by Rashi, […]

July 18, 2019 at 1:30 AM 0 comments

Outnumbering

Outnumbering

“…Who has counted the dust of Yaakov?…” – Bamidbar 23:10 מִי מָנָה עֲפַר יַעֲקֹב – במדבר כג, י Bilaam attempted to curse the Bnei Yisrael, but G-d caused him to bless them and praise them instead. Extolling Bnei Yisrael’s great merits and their endearment to G-d, Bilaam said, “Who has counted the dust of Yaakov?” According to one interpretation brought […]

July 17, 2019 at 2:55 AM 0 comments

Irrational Judaism

Irrational Judaism

“…This is the decree of Torah that G-d commanded to say. Speak to Bnei Yisrael and have them take to you, a red heifer…” – Bamidbar 19:2 זֹאת חֻקַּת הַתּוֹרָה אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה’ לֵאמֹר דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ אֵלֶיךָ פָרָה אֲדֻמָּה – במדבר יט, ב The Torah commands us to use the ashes of a parah adumah, a red […]

July 8, 2019 at 2:45 AM 0 comments

When Moshe Forgives

When Moshe Forgives

“…The people came to Moshe and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against G-d and against you…” So Moshe prayed on behalf of the people…” – Bamidbar 21:7 וַיָּבֹא הָעָם אֶל משֶׁה וַיֹּאמְרוּ חָטָאנוּ כִּי דִבַּרְנוּ בַה’ וָבָךְ . . וַיִּתְפַּלֵּל משֶׁה בְּעַד הָעָם – במדבר כא, ז The Bnei Yisrael spoke against G-d and Moshe and were […]

July 7, 2019 at 7:16 PM 0 comments

Living On Edge

Living On Edge

“…They shall take to you a perfectly red heifer…” – Bamidbar 19:2 וְיִקְחוּ אֵלֶיךָ פָרָה אֲדֻמָּה תְּמִימָה – במדבר יט, ב The Rambam’s compendium of Jewish law, the Mishneh Torah, is famous for its precise wording and organization. It is therefore most unusual that in the midst of a discussion on the laws of the Parah Adumah, the ashes of […]

July 7, 2019 at 1:25 AM 0 comments