Toldot Nov 5, 2021

When discussing the themes of Sefer Beresheit one would not necessarily place food high on the list. Yet it could be argued that many of the major…

Chayei Sarah Oct 29, 2021

The Torah devotes sixty-seven verses to the story of finding the proper mate for Yitzchak. There is no more important decision in life than…

Rosh Hashanah Oct 27, 2021

“There are four New Years…on the first of Shevat is the New Year for trees, according to the words of Beit Shammai. Beit Hillel says [it is on] the…

VaYera Oct 22, 2021

Our tradition teaches that the founder of the Jewish people, Avraham, is the one who introduced the notion of daily prayer to the world. “And Avraham…

Rosh Hashanah Oct 15, 2021

One of the fundamental debates in Biblical interpretation is whether the Torah is written in chronological order. Rashi often employs the notion of …

Lech Lecha Oct 15, 2021

“And G-d said to Abram, ‘Go forth from your land, your birthplace and the land of your fathers’” (Breisheet 12:1). With nary a word, Abram picks…

Noach Oct 8, 2021

As we move through the different stages of life, the challenges we face tend to change, with the concerns of yesteryear giving way to the crisis of…

Breisheet Oct 1, 2021

"And G-d saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. It was evening and it was morning, the sixth day" (Breisheet 1:31). While the…

Shemini Atzeret Sep 27, 2021

Unlike our other holidays, the holiday of Sukkot does not celebrate a particular historical event at a particular moment in time. Rather it…

Beitzah Sep 24, 2021

Debates between Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai are the bread and butter of Mishnaic discourse. There are some 316 debates recorded between these great…

Sukkot Sep 24, 2021

It is hard to imagine a more impactful ritual than that of our weekly Torah reading. While its origins date to Moshe Rabbeinu—acting in his capacity…

Beitzah Sep 20, 2021

It is on Sukkot that we read sefer Kohelet. A devar Torah on masechet Beitza is not the place to discuss the reason for this custom. However, as I…

Sukkot Sep 20, 2021

"On the first day, you must take for yourself a fruit of the citron tree, an opened palm frond, myrtle branches, and willows of the brook, and you…

Haazinu Sep 17, 2021

Despite our long and frequently miraculous past, the actual study of Jewish history is an oft-neglected field. It is perceived by many, to a large…

Yom Kippur Sep 15, 2021

“With the approval of Hamakom, the Omnipresent, and with the approval of the congregation, in the convocation of the court above, and in the…

Beitzah Sep 15, 2021

The State of California today is voting on whether to recall and remove its governor from office. This recall will be successful even if only 50%…

Beitzah Sep 14, 2021

As most investors know, there is little that rattles the markets more than uncertainty. Fluctuations of the market are primarily based on future…

Nitzavim Sep 13, 2021

Rare is the person who measures his success by looking only at themselves, trying to determine how they can build on their strengths and improve on…

Vayelech Sep 10, 2021

"And G-d said, 'My spirit shall not continue to judge him forever; he is nothing but flesh, and his days will be 120 years'" (Breisheet 6:3). Man had…

Beitzah Sep 6, 2021

In our last post, we noted the principle milta d’lo schicha lo gazru ba rabbanan, that our Sages do not enact protective measures for rare events, a…

Rosh Hashanah Sep 6, 2021

The blowing of the shofar is a most enigmatic mitzvah. The reasons we eat matzah, sit in the Sukkah or take the lulav are readily apparent; they…

Beitzah Sep 3, 2021

One of the manifold changes of modernity is manifest in the modern methods of food preparation. No longer must one literally spend pretty much the…

Succah Aug 29, 2021

Those who have sat shiva know that the weeks after shiva can be much harder than the shiva itself. No longer are there people coming to visit, at…

Succah Aug 27, 2021

It was not long ago that it was hard to find a minyan of people with a lulav and etrog in shul. Following on the heels of the High Holidays, Sukkot…

Ki Tavo Aug 27, 2021

Observance of religious precepts is not an all-or-nothing proposition. Just because one is neglectful in one area of practice, Shabbat for example,…

Succah Aug 25, 2021

One of the unique laws of the arba minim, the four species, is that one can only fulfil the Biblical mitzvah with a set that one personally owns (…

Ki Teitzei Aug 20, 2021

One of the beautiful aspects of the Torah is its setting of high, perhaps even unattainable, standards and goals. It takes much work to ensure we do…

Succah Aug 19, 2021

Rabbi Yochanan ben HaChoranit must have been a great Sage. I imagine that many reading this devar Torah have never heard of him and there is in fact…

Shoftim Aug 13, 2021

“Do not sacrifice to G-d, your Lord, an ox or sheep that has a blemish; any bad thing, it is an abomination to the Lord, your G-d” (Devarim 17:1).…

Succah Aug 12, 2021

To state that Rav Yochanan ben Zakai is one of the most important leaders in all of Jewish history is nothing short of an understatement. Without his…

Succah Aug 9, 2021

One of the requirements of a sukkah is that it be a dirat arai, a temporary dwelling. A permanent structure would be a bayit, a home, rather than a…

Re'eh Aug 6, 2021

"For the sin that we have sinned before You through hardness of the heart."  With the month of Elul approaching, our thoughts turn to…

Succah Jul 30, 2021

Psychologists have long known that two people can—and often do—see the exact same thing, and yet offer very different accounts of what they have…

Eikev Jul 30, 2021

Had things gone according to plan, the chumash would be a much shorter book. If not for the sin of the golden calf, there would have been no need for…

Tu B'Av Jul 23, 2021

“Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel said: There were no days more joyous than the 15th of Av (Tu B'Av) and Yom Kippur, for on those days the daughters of…

VaEtchanan Jul 23, 2021

"Shamor v’Zachor b’dibur echad". This phrase, sung every Friday night, notes the most famous difference between the recording of the aseret hadibrot …

Tisha B'Av Jul 17, 2021

Judaism places great emphasis on the proper greeting of people. The Talmudic term for a greeting, a sheilat shalom, invokes a reference to G-d, peace…

Devarim Jul 16, 2021

"Eleh Hadevarim, these are the words that Moshe spoke to all of Israel" (Devarim 1:1). In Biblical Hebrew, the word eleh comes to differentiate and…

Succah Jul 14, 2021

“A sukkah that is taller than 20 amot, cubits (approximately 30 feet), is invalid; and Rabbi Yehuda validates it” (Sukkah 2a). This rather technical…

Mattot Jul 9, 2021

The Torah is full of repetition. Whether it is law or narrative, much of the Torah seems to deal with recurring themes. Our Sages have focused on…

Yoma Jul 7, 2021

One of the fundamental mitzvot of the Torah, one we acknowledge at least twice a day, is the command to love G-d. “And you shall love the Lord your G…

Jul 5, 2021

“Moshe received the Torah at Sinai and transmitted it to Yehoshua, Yehoshua to the Elders, and the Elders to the Prophets, and the Prophets to the…

Pinchas Jul 2, 2021

“Pinchas, the son of Elazar, the son of Aaron the priest was the one who so zealously took up My cause among the Israelites, and turned My anger away…

Balak Jun 25, 2021

What a waste of talent. “No other prophet like Moses has arisen in Israel who knew G-d face to face” (Devarim 34:10).  Our Sages, in an astounding…

Yoma Jun 23, 2021

It is hard to imagine Jewish life without davening or brachot. They are amongst the most important of our religious practices. One of the ways COVID-…

Chukat Jun 18, 2021

People have a natural tendency to avoid talking about death. People "pass away" or are "no longer with us". In Parshat Chukat death and its attendant…

Jun 15, 2021

The thought below is written in honour my father z”l, Rabbi Joseph Kelman, Rav Chaim Yosef ben Harav Tzvi Yehudah z”l, whose yahrzeit we observed…

Korach Jun 11, 2021

What does it take to convince somebody that they are wrong? Humans have an unbelievable ability to ignore the obvious as they cling to discredited…

Jun 10, 2021

In our introductory post to Pirkei Avot we wondered why Rebbe, in editing the Mishna, did not begin with Pirkei  Avot, containing as it does the Avot…

Jun 8, 2021

Last year and this, I have had the pleasure of learning and teaching Pirkei Avot. There is no better way to learn than by teaching and no greater way…