Greece Jul 12, 2018

Something that one might be fairly certain will never appear in a shul, no matter where it is or what the denomination, is a cross. Well, almost…

Greece Jul 11, 2018

As one enters the beautiful Yad Lezikaron shul in Salonica, one notices plaques on the wall. But unlike in most shuls, these are not yahrzeit plaques…

Greece Jul 9, 2018

One of the beautiful experiences in travelling around the Jewish world is seeing the richness and diversity of Jewish life. I imagine not many on…

Greece Jul 6, 2018

“Ma rabu ma’asecha Hashem, how beautiful are Your creations, G-d!” After travelling in Greece for a couple of days, one understands…

Greece Jul 3, 2018

Philosophy, mathematics, democracy, the Olympics, architecture, libraries, trial by jury, mythology, and the alphabet are just some of the…

Chukat Jun 22, 2018

Parshat Chukat marks the transition from the generation that left Egypt to the one that would enter the Land of Israel. This was a transition marked…

Korach Jun 15, 2018

The Torah was "edited" with great precision. Narrative and law are often intertwined; one sheds light on the other. While our tradition…

Zevachim Jun 15, 2018

“The ox and goat of Yom Kippur are slaughtered in the north” (Zevachim 47a). As we discussed in our last post, the fifth perek …

Zevachim Jun 10, 2018

Other than belief in G-d, there is almost nothing in Judaism that is not subject to debate. Does G-d have a body? Should Biblical stories be…

Shelach Lecha Jun 8, 2018

Of the twelve men sent to bring back a report about the land of Israel, only one of them—Yehoshua—has previously been mentioned in the…

Zevachim Jun 4, 2018

One of the classic debates of the Talmud – and one with no clear resolution – is whether or not mitzvoth tzreechot kavanah. The term…

Behaalotecha Jun 1, 2018

“And G-d spoke to Moshe in the Sinai desert in the second year of the Exodus from Egypt, in the first month” (Bamidbar 9:1). Pesach Sheni…

Naso May 25, 2018

The Torah uses its words sparingly—and sometimes not at all. The Torah tells us very little about the laws of Shabbat[1]. They are, in the…

Zevachim May 24, 2018

One of the first innovations of the Reform movement was the removal from the siddur of all references to Zion and the Temple. The emerging…

Shavuot May 18, 2018

How should one celebrate the receiving of the Torah? The Talmud (Pesachim 68b) quotes a seemingly strange argument as to how to properly celebrate…

Shavuot May 18, 2018

How should one celebrate the receiving of the Torah? The Talmud (Pesachim 68b) quotes a seemingly strange argument as to how to properly celebrate…

Behar May 11, 2018

In his thematic enumeration of the 613 mitzvoth, the Rambam has as the very first mitzvah that of belief in G-d. It is, in the view of the …

Emor May 4, 2018

“Do not desecrate My holy name. I must be sanctified among the Israelites" (Vayikra 22:31). The role of the Jew is to sanctify the name…

Lag Ba'omer May 3, 2018

It is hard to imagine two people who had a greater influence on the development of Judaism during the dark period of Roman persecution than Rabbi…

Lag Ba'omer May 3, 2018

It is hard to imagine two people who had a greater influence on the development of Judaism during the dark period of Roman persecution than Rabbi…

Kedoshim Apr 27, 2018

Why were we taken out of Egypt?  Concepts such as freedom, justice, equality, and the recognition of Divine Providence are the themes of the exodus,…

Zevachim Apr 24, 2018

One of the benefits of learning Daf Yomi is that it “forces” one to learn subject areas that would otherwise be ignored. Each one of the…

Metzora Apr 20, 2018

The power of the spoken word is enormous. Even more powerful is the desire to gossip, a vice that has been perfected in our own times, when we…

Horayot Apr 19, 2018

We have often commented on the fact that our tradition does not shy away from pointing out the weaknesses and failings of our great Sages. This idea…

Yom Ha'atzmaut Apr 19, 2018

“And Yaakov worked for Rachel for seven years, and they appeared in his eyes like just a few because of his love for her” (Breisheet 29:…

Horayot Apr 16, 2018

Not every question has an answer and not every problem has a solution. This may be depressing for some, especially the young and idealistic (all…

Horayot Apr 15, 2018

Judaism has long rejected the notion that the ends justify the means. One of the most basic of Talmudic rules is that a mitzvah haba b’…

Horayot Apr 10, 2018

In his best-selling book, Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely notes how very rare it is for humans to make decisions in absolute terms. Rather,…

Horayot Apr 8, 2018

In the days before instant replay took over much of sports officiating[1], the rule of thumb was that the ‘umpire is right even when he is…

Horayot Apr 4, 2018

One of the most inspiring aspects of the Torah is its very real portrayal of its personalities. People—heroes and villains alike – are…

Pesach Mar 30, 2018

Twice a year, on Yom Kippur and at the Pesach seder, we conclude with the prayer L’shanna haba’ah b’Yerushalayim. It is…

Avoda Zara Mar 25, 2018

It is the rare business that looks to create competition for itself. In fact, the success of a CEO is often judged less by profits than by market…

Tzav Mar 23, 2018

Marketing can make or break a product. Get it right and you are on your way to becoming wealthy. Make a mistake and, irrespective of the actual…

Vayikra Mar 17, 2018

Modern man finds the notion of sacrifices primitive, archaic and a form of Divine service that is no longer necessary. Yet to ancient man, nothing…

Avoda Zara Mar 12, 2018

Imagine going to the barber and fearing that barber may take his razor and slit your throat. Or going to a doctor who may purposely give you medicine…

Vayakhel Mar 9, 2018

“When Aaron and all the Israelites saw that the skin of Moshe’s face was shining with a brilliant light they were afraid to come close to…

Avoda Zara Mar 7, 2018

It is axiomatic that Biblical laws are of greater importance than rabbinic laws. After all, the former emanate from a Divine Creator, whereas the…

Purim Feb 28, 2018

"Where is Haman recorded in the Torah?" So asks the Talmud (Chulin 139b), in a seemingly incomprehensible question. Surely one would…

Avoda Zara Feb 28, 2018

  Considering the amount of time one spends at work, there is little sadder than being in a job one does not like. How wonderful it is when…

Tetzaveh Feb 23, 2018

In his introduction to his Eiyn Yaakov, the classic commentary on the non-legal sections of the Talmud, Rav Yaakov Ibn Chaviv quotes a discussion…

Avoda Zara Feb 20, 2018

“The age of five for the study of Tanach, the age of ten for Mishna and the age of fifteen for Talmud[1]” (Pirkei Avot 5:21). Our Sages…

Avoda Zara Feb 15, 2018

While we often tend to view the ancient Romans as evil enemies out to eradicate Judaism and kill Jews, the truth is that the relationship between…

Avoda Zara Feb 13, 2018

One of the differences between Ashkenazic and Sephardic culture, both religiously and otherwise, is in their view of the mitzvah of Kiddush Hashem,…

Avoda Zara Feb 7, 2018

One of the highlights of learning with Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, zt”l, were his occasional “press conferences”, where we could…

Avoda Zara Feb 4, 2018

When seeking out expert opinion on any matter, it is irresponsible not to get a second opinion. It is the rare—and foolhardy—person who…

Yitro Feb 2, 2018

The command to respect our parents, kibud av v'eim, is one that needs little explanation. It is the most rational and logical of mitzvoth, one…

Avoda Zara Jan 31, 2018

Forty years is a long time. In Biblical numerology, the number 40 indicates transformation. Forty is the number of days it takes for a fetus to…

Beshalach Jan 26, 2018

Whether we are preparing for an exam, a simcha, a job interview, or retirement, our success is directly proportional to our preparatory efforts…

Avoda Zara Jan 26, 2018

In 1964, as the Second Vatican Council was reassessing its most negative view of Jews and Judaism, Rabbi Soloveitchik penned Confrontation,…

Avoda Zara Jan 24, 2018

As all who study Daf Yomi are well aware, halacha and aggadah—the legal and extralegal portions of the Talmud—“co-exist” side…