Bo Jan 19, 2018

One of the central tenets of our faith is the eternal relevance and unchanging nature of our Torah. The Torah is not only Divinely authored, it is an…

Avoda Zara Jan 18, 2018

It would be hard to argue with the notion that the primary goal for the Torah is for all to know that there is one G-d who is Master of the Universe…

Shevuot Jan 15, 2018

“All who take an oath, take an oath and are exempt [from payment]” (Shevuot 45a). Violating an oath ranks amongst the most serious of transgressions…

Shevuot Jan 9, 2018

In a recent highly publicized murder trial in Toronto, the jury was not told that the accused – who acted as his own lawyer - had recently been…

Shevuot Jan 7, 2018

“The oath of testimony applies to men, but not to women” (Shevuot 30a). Beginning with the fourth chapter of masechet Shevuot,…

Shemot Jan 5, 2018

What a difference 59 years can make. Despite Yaakov's insistence to be buried in Israel, "Yosef dwelt in Egypt, he and his father…

Shevuot Jan 3, 2018

“Lo tissa, do not raise[1] the name of the Lord your G-d in vain” (Shemot 20:7). After affirming the existence of the G-d who took us out of Egypt…

Shevuot Dec 31, 2017

"Whether one does much or one does little, [it matters little] provided one directs their heart towards heaven” (Shevuot 15a). The…

Vayechi Dec 29, 2017

"And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years, and the years of his life were one hundred and forty seven years" (Breisheet 47:28…

Vayigash Dec 22, 2017

Etiquette and diplomatic niceties are the hallmarks of the world of politics. Political leaders are trained to speak ambiguously and in a way that…

Shevuot Dec 21, 2017

Rebbe Yehuda Hanasi said:…One should be as careful with a light mitzvah as with a heavy mitzvah (Avot 2:1). While (it is generally assumed…

Miketz Dec 15, 2017

How unfortunate when man must put his fate in the hands of other men. “And the warden had placed all the prisoners in the dungeon under Yosef…

Chanukah Dec 13, 2017

The holiday of Chanukah is a most beloved one. Lighting the candles is the only mitzvah that has, built into its performance, a three-tiered system:…

Chanukah Dec 13, 2017

The holiday of Chanukah is a most beloved one. Lighting the candles is the only mitzvah that has, built into its performance, a three-tiered system:…

Shevuot Dec 11, 2017

One of the beautiful things about learning Daf Yomi is seeing the enormously wide range of rabbinic thought, something that is often not possible in…

Vayeshev Dec 8, 2017

The Talmud records that one who has no dreams for a period of seven days is called a wicked person (Brachot 55b). Dreams represent our innermost…

Shevuot Dec 7, 2017

“New moons You have given to Your people, a time of atonement for all your generations.” It is this phrase that serves as the…

Shevuot Dec 4, 2017

The story is told that when the Vilna Gaon was a little boy, he wanted to learn masechet Shavuot[1] in the weeks before the holiday of…

Makkot Nov 29, 2017

“A song to David; G-d, who will live in Your tent, who shall dwell on your holy mountain? He [who] speaks truth in his heart” (Tehillim…

Makkot Nov 28, 2017

“’And now let Me go, so that I may destroy them and make you a great nation’ (Shemot 32:10). Rav Abahu said: If the verse had not…

Makkot Nov 26, 2017

Almost by definition, news—at least most of it—is of the less-positive variety, often causing us to think the world is a lot worse than…

Vayetze Nov 24, 2017

The experiences of history have made our people a nervous lot. Whatever nervousness is warranted as members of the human race is significantly…

Makkot Nov 23, 2017

“Rava said: How foolish are the rest of the people who stand before a sefer Torah, but do not stand before a great person!” (…

Makkot Nov 20, 2017

The Torah takes justice very seriously: “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a foot” (Shemot 21:24).…

Makkot Nov 19, 2017

When I first started learning Gemara – and as we prepared for tests – we were told not to worry if we got the names of the rabbis wrong.…

Toldot Nov 17, 2017

It is hard to imagine a more disparate couple than Yitzchak and Rivka, the quiet contemplative husband who would "meditate in the fields" (…

Makkot Nov 15, 2017

“And you shall do to them as they sought to do to others” (Devarim 19:19). Edim zomimim, plotting witnesses, are punished…

Makkot Nov 12, 2017

“The witnesses do not become zomimim, ‘plotting witnesses’, unless they falsify themselves” (Makkot 5a). The law of…

Chayei Sarah Nov 9, 2017

"The discussions of the servants of our patriarchs are more beloved than the Torah of their children” (Rashi, Breisheet, 24:22). This…

Makkot Nov 9, 2017

  In the standard editions of the Talmud Bavli in vogue today, there are 63 tractates of Mishna, 37 of which have a corresponding Gemara. The…

Sanhedrin Nov 7, 2017

The Torah talks very little – actually, not at all (at least explicitly)– about the coming of the Mashiach, the Messianic Era, or the…

Sanhedrin Nov 6, 2017

One of the philosophical debates between the Greeks and Jews concerned the eternity of the world. The Greeks believed that the world has existed from…

Sanhedrin Nov 1, 2017

“Stay far away from a lie” (Shemot 23:7). Unlike the other mitzvot in the Torah where we are just told not to do something, when it comes…

Sanhedrin Oct 29, 2017

The Jewish people have long been accused of being robbers and thieves. The importance of countering this accusation was so crucial that it…

Sanhedrin Oct 24, 2017

The last chapter of masechet Sanhedrin is like no other in the Talmud. Almost devoid of legal discussion, it contains some 23 double-sided pages of…

Sanhedrin Oct 22, 2017

“Every argument that is for [the sake of] heaven's name is destined to endure. And if it is not for [the sake of] heaven's name,…

Noach Oct 20, 2017

"G-d said: I will obliterate humanity that I have created from the face of the earth; man, livestock, land animals and birds of the sky. I…

Sanhedrin Oct 18, 2017

“Do not profane your daughter and make her a harlot” (Vayikra 19:28). One has to wonder exactly whom the Torah is addressing. What kind…

Sanhedrin Oct 11, 2017

“The entire house of Israel is commanded to sanctify the Name” (Laws of the Fundamentals of Torah, 5:1). The language is striking,…

Sanhedrin Oct 9, 2017

“And you shall love the Lord your G-d with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your possessions” (Devarim 6:5). Clearly, if…

Sukkot Oct 4, 2017

Sukkot marks the beginning of the end of the holiday season. As the fall season commences, and as the days get progressively shorter and colder,…

Sanhedrin Oct 3, 2017

Fundamental to Jewish theology is the belief that both the Written Law and the Oral Law were given by G-d at Sinai. While the finite Written Law, i.e…

Yom Kippur Sep 29, 2017

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 619:6) quotes a custom to remain in shul through the night of Yom Kippur, singing songs of praise to G-d.…

Sanhedrin Sep 28, 2017

Man finds it difficult to admit wrongdoing. Doing so creates cognitive dissonance. Being that we are basically good people – there are few who…

Sanhedrin Sep 25, 2017

In an amazing teshuva, Rav Yaakov Ettlinger (Binyan Tzion #172-173), basing himself on the story of Tamar and Yehuda, rules that one must give up one…

Rosh Hashanah Sep 20, 2017

Rosh Hashanah is first and foremost a day of prayer. Prayer, as Rav Soloveitchik often noted, is rooted in asking G-d to fulfil our needs. One who is…

Sanhedrin Sep 19, 2017

In recent years, as more forensic tools have become available, we have been able to free many people who languished for years in prison before their…

Sanhedrin Sep 18, 2017

The fact that the Bible allows – perhaps at times even encourages – the death penalty for violating its most serious transgressions is…

Nitzavim Sep 15, 2017

One often hears the lament that it is difficult to be a Jew. There are seemingly endless demands from morning to evening, 365 days a year, year in…

Sanhedrin Sep 14, 2017

"They would cross-examine him with seven questions: in which year of the jubilee, in which year of the shmitta cycle, in which month,…