Apr 13, 2014

I write these words just days before Pesach, the holiday that, more than any other, focuses on children. We are mandated to ensure that every child…

Apr 13, 2014

I write these words just days before Pesach, the holiday that, more than any other, focuses on children. We are mandated to ensure that every child…

Yom Kippur Acharei Mot Apr 11, 2014

It is quite rare to read parshat Acharei Mot on Shabbat Hagadol. In non-leap years, it is generally parshat Tzav that is read on Shabbat Hagadol. And…

Yom Kippur Acharei Mot Apr 11, 2014

It is quite rare to read parshat Acharei Mot on Shabbat Hagadol. In non-leap years, it is generally parshat Tzav that is read on Shabbat Hagadol. And…

Beitzah Apr 9, 2014

It is doubtful the Jewish life would exist as we know it if not for the leadership of Rav Yochanan ben Zackai. Seeing the terrible infighting that…

Beitzah Apr 7, 2014

I have a confession to make. I really like Yom Tov and look forward to having an extra day to celebrate. I know that is not the way the…

Beitzah Apr 6, 2014

The very first teaching in all of rabbinic literature[1] is the saying of the Men of the Great Assembly that those who render decisions on matters of…

Beitzah Apr 5, 2014

The Rambam, in discussing the prohibition of ba’al toseef (Devarim 4:2), the prohibition of adding to the Torah rules, said that one violates…

Beitzah Apr 3, 2014

“An egg that was laid on Yom Tov: Beit Shammai says it may be eaten, and Beit Hillel says it may not be eaten”. For six pages, the Gemara…

Apr 2, 2014

Rabbi David Stav will speak on Thursday, May 15, on the topic "The Struggle for Jewish Identity in the State of Israel." The program will…

Sukkah Apr 2, 2014

As we have studied Masechet Sukkah together, we have stressed two themes: that of simcha, joy; and that of the unity of the Jewish people. Of course…

Sukkah Apr 1, 2014

“Whoever did not see the celebration of the drawing of the water (simchat beit hashoeva) has never witnessed joy in their life” (Sukkah…

Mar 30, 2014

Rabbi Alex Israel will serve as scholar in residence on the Shabbat of March 29 at Zichron Yisroel Congregation of Associated Hebrew Schools. Watch…

Sukkah Mar 28, 2014

In a recent post, we discussed the opposition to the mitzvah of placing the arava on the altar. An even greater dispute arose vis a vis the mitzva of…

Sukkah Mar 26, 2014

“Rav Yehuda said in the name of Shmuel: lulav, seven; and sukkah, one” (Sukkah 45b). So begins a discussion as to how often we are to…

Sukkah Mar 24, 2014

The arava, the willow branch, has a dual function on Sukkot. It is the last of four species that make up the mitzvah of “lulav”. Without…

Sukkah Mar 23, 2014

Despite the explicit command to take the lulav on the first day of Sukkot--and to blow the shofar on the first of…

Shemini Mar 21, 2014

In Jewish law, it is the middle that is most important. We surround the sefer Torah with gabbaim on either side, and ideally we place the…

Sukkah Mar 19, 2014

"A child who knows how to shake [the lulav] is obligated to take the lulav" (Sukkah 42a). As we noted in our first "daily daf" on…

Sukkah Mar 18, 2014

We tend to view the mitzvoth of sitting in the sukkah and the arba minim (henceforth referred to as the "lulav") as distinct…

Sukkah Mar 17, 2014

The Rambam in his introduction to the Mishna divides the Oral Law into various categories. He begins with what he terms peirushim hamekubalim…

Sukkah Mar 13, 2014

"And you shall take for yourself on the first day pri etz hadar, a beautiful fruit tree, kapot temarim, branches of date palms, …

Sukkah Mar 11, 2014

My first introduction to the writings of Rabbi Soloveitchik was in yeshiva in Israel when I read Rabbi Abraham Besdin's Reflections of…

Sukkah Mar 6, 2014

Considering that one is supposed to live in one’s sukkah as one lives in one’s home one need spend very little time in the sukkah. One…

Sukkah Mar 4, 2014

"Rabbi Yossi Haglilee used to say: One who is involved in a mitzvah is exempt from another mitzvah" (Sukkah 26a). A mitzvah is entitled to…

Sukkah Mar 3, 2014

One of the basic requirements of a sukkah is that the s'chach  provide more shade than sun. This requirement, however, is more…

Pekudei Mar 1, 2014

“Reish Lakish said: It was well known beforehand to Him at whose word the world came into being that Haman would one day pay shekels for the…

Sukkah Feb 26, 2014

As important as classroom education may be, informal education is often more valuable. "The service of Torah is greater than the study thereof…

Sukkah Feb 24, 2014

"For G-d is bringing you to a good land...a land of wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates; a land of olive oil and date honey" (…

heart bursting
Sukkah Feb 21, 2014

The halachic system, like all legal systems, is on based on verifiable actions. What one may think when signing a contract is of little bearing;…

Sukkah Feb 17, 2014

While the Jerusalem Talmud rules that one makes a bracha upon construction of a sukkah (Sukkah 1:2), our practice is not to do so, seeing…

Sukkah Feb 13, 2014

In 1878, Yehuda Leib Gordon published a poem, Kotzo shel yud, in which he pokes fun at the technicalities of halacha. In his poem, a…

Sukkah Feb 11, 2014

The Gemara derives the minimum height of a sukkah from two separate and very distinct sources. In fact, the first “source” is no source…

Sukkah Feb 9, 2014

We eat matza on Pesach to commemorate the matza eaten by our ancestors as slaves in Egypt and as newly freed people. The blowing of the shofar on…

Sukkah Feb 6, 2014

Masechet Sukkah holds a special place in my heart, being the first tractate I learned cover to cover. Its topics are interesting, wide-ranging,…

Yoma Feb 5, 2014

Masechet Yoma deals almost exclusively with mitzvoth between man and G-d. Most of the tractate painstakingly records the intricate details of the…

Yoma Feb 3, 2014

“Our Sages compared the (positive) mitzvoth in the Torah to the limbs of the body and (the negative) to the days of the year” (Makkot 23b…

Terumah Jan 31, 2014

Immediately after the Divine revelation at Sinai, the Torah in Parshat Mishpatim presents a long list of mitzvoth, highlighting the link between…

Yoma Jan 30, 2014

One of the most challenging roles for a parent or teacher is to figure out how to administer discipline that it fair, effective, and meaningful. The…

Yoma Jan 28, 2014

Thanks to Rabbi Jonathan Ziring for his help with this Daily Daf and with countless other divrei Torah. After seven chapters detailing the Temple…

Yoma Jan 27, 2014

"Any Torah scholar whose inside is not like his outside [whose piety does not match their learning] is no Torah scholar" (…

Mishpatim Jan 24, 2014

"Do not be a follower of the majority for bad, do not respond to a grievance by yielding to the majority to pervert [justice]" (Shemot 23:2…

Yoma Jan 23, 2014

Torah reading as we know it today is a rabbinic innovation, beginning with Moshe Rabbeinu who--in his rabbinic role (as opposed to his role …

Yoma Jan 22, 2014

The ritual of the sa'ar la-azazel is a most incomprehensible one. Howcan atonement of the Jewish people be in any way connected…

Yoma Jan 21, 2014

"Some of the nobility of Jerusalem would escort him to the first booth" (Yoma 66b). The "temple" ritual was not complete until…

Yitro Jan 17, 2014

"And Yitro, the priest of Midian, the father-in-law of Moshe, heard all that G-d did for Moshe and to Israel his people, that G-d had taken the…

Yoma Jan 17, 2014

"Everybody is eligible to walk it, but the kohanim made a permanent rule not to let an Israelite walk it" (Yoma 66a). The …

Yoma Jan 16, 2014

One of great and tragic figures in our Talmudic corpus is that of Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrkanus. Hailed by his teacher, Rabbi Yochanan ben Zackai, as a…

Yoma Jan 14, 2014

For years, one of the most anticipated dates on the Jewish calendar was Rabbi Soloveitchik’s annual teshuva derasha given during the aseret…

Beshalach Jan 10, 2014

This week's devar Torah is dedicated in honour of the upcoming wedding of Miriam Libman and Ephraim Leiderman. May they merit to build a…