Shelach Lecha Jun 4, 2021

Who should get the blame for the meraglim fiasco? Was it the report of the spies, or the lack of faith of the people that did us in? Might it be…

Beha'alotcha May 28, 2021

After reading through Sefer Breisheet and the sibling rivalry we encounter in generation after generation, it is a pleasure to come to Sefer Shemot…

Yoma May 25, 2021

“Talmud Torah k’neged kulam, Torah study equals them all”. And in our tradition, learning equates with teaching. The Torah records no actual mitzvah…

Bamidbar May 14, 2021

Parshat Bamidbar is, on its surface, little more that names and numbers. The bulk of the parsha lists the counting of the Jewish people, tribe by…

Yoma May 13, 2021

In our last post, we discussed the tragic murder carried out in the Temple by a religious zealot who had lost a race to determine who would have the…

Yom Yerushalayim May 11, 2021

One could quite reasonably make the argument that the overarching goal of the Torah is the establishment of a Jewish state that will serve as a model…

Yoma May 8, 2021

Newton’s third law of motion teaches that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This law explains why it is much easier to hit a…

Bechukotai May 7, 2021

The ability of the Jewish people to see hope when others see despair is perhaps the key to understanding the amazing tenacity of the Jewish people.…

Yoma May 5, 2021

We have often noted the refreshing openness of our Sages. They tell it as it is, and made no efforts to cover up the foibles or even sins of their…

Emor Apr 30, 2021

  When one thinks of the most important parts of the Torah one is likely to think of the aseret hadibrot, the shema or perhaps the mitzva to love…

Yoma Apr 27, 2021

When discussing the gravest of sins—say, for example, the three cardinal sins of murder, adultery and idolatry—we are dealing with sins of commission…

Kedoshim Apr 23, 2021

Knowledge is much more than the accumulation of facts. It is the analysis and application of those facts that is crucial. Underlying factual…

Yoma Apr 18, 2021

In a rather fortuitous coincidence, the daf yomi cycle concluded masechet Pesachim just a few days before Pesach. In the Talmud Bavli, masechet…

Tazria Apr 17, 2021

Perhaps there is no parsha less studied than Tazria (and its frequent partner, Metzora). With its focus on the detailed laws of …

Yom Ha'atzmaut Apr 15, 2021

A few years ago while on a visit to Israel, my good friend Michael Levenstein z”l, in whose memory this devar Torah is dedicated, was giving my wife…

Shemini Apr 9, 2021

Modern society often expects people to keep their emotions in check and to avoid displaying them publicly. This is especially true of our leaders…

Pesach Apr 1, 2021

Moshe Rabbeinu was our teacher par excellence. As a great pedagogue, he understood the importance of teaching subject material in a timely manner. “…

Pesach Mar 26, 2021

The eating of karpas has long baffled our commentators. Why exactly do we dip a vegetable in salt water just as we are ready to begin the…

Pesachim Mar 23, 2021

While “only” a rabbinic command, drinking four cups of wine is given special status at the seder. Unlike matzah and marror—which…

Vayikra Mar 19, 2021

When making reference to biblical verses, we tend to identify them by chapter and verse. This most convenient system is of non-Jewish origin and…

Pesachim Mar 17, 2021

There is a fine line between matzah and chametz. They are, by definition, made of the same ingredients. All that separates them is a fleeting moment…

Pesach Mar 12, 2021

“In the first month of the second year on the first of the month, the Tabernacle was erected” (Shemot 40:2). Sefer Shemot concludes with…

Pesach Mar 12, 2021

“In the first month of the second year on the first of the month, the Tabernacle was erected” (Shemot 40:2). Sefer Shemot concludes with…

Pesachim Mar 11, 2021

The most repeated mitzvah in the Torah—and hence, one can argue, the most important message of the Torah—is to be kind and sensitive…

Pesachim Mar 5, 2021

“On the eve of Pesachim, one may not eat adjacent to mincha time until it gets dark; even a poor person of Israel should not eat until…

Ki Tisa Mar 5, 2021

The mark of a great leader is the ability to inspire others—even in their absence. A great company operates at peak efficiency even when the CEO is…

Pesachim Mar 2, 2021

“On the eve of Pesachim, one may not eat adjacent to mincha time until it gets dark” (Pesachim 99b).  The seder meal is the most…

Tetzaveh Feb 26, 2021

One of the key ways by which groups self-identify is through the medium of clothes. Almost all religions have some form of dress code or …

Purim Feb 25, 2021

Rare is the person who has the opportunity to knowingly shape the course of Jewish history. Most are happy to be relieved of that responsibility.…

Purim Feb 19, 2021

"He shall surely be put to death."  "They shall be pelted with stones and thus stoned to death."  "He shall be burned with fire."  "His soul shall be…

Pesachim Feb 17, 2021

Judaism eschews extremism. “The two extremes in each and every tendency are not a good way, and it is not proper for a man to follow them…

Pesachim Feb 13, 2021

The Shulchan Aruch, the most accepted code of Jewish law, consists of four sections: Orach Chaim, dealing with the day-to-day routine of Jewish law;…

Mishpatim Feb 12, 2021

It is common after a major event to have difficulty getting back into our daily routine. Whether it is a child's wedding, an exotic vacation or a…

Yitro Feb 4, 2021

In the Western world, the number ten represents perfection. Not surprisingly, this concept seems to be rooted in our biblical tradition. “In…

Beshalach Jan 29, 2021

The problem of theodicy—why there is evil in this world—has bothered thinking people from time immemorial. We cannot answer Moshe’s…

Pesachim Jan 29, 2021

There is a fascinating debate amongst the medieval greats as to whether one is obligated to act lifnim meshurat hadin, over and above what…

Pesachim Jan 25, 2021

In one of his teshuva derashot, Rav Soloveitchik lamented the fact that, while there are many shomer Shabbat Jews in America, there are very few…

Bo Jan 21, 2021

In the non-egalitarian society of the Bible, it was evident that the bechor, the firstborn—being the one designated to carry on the legacy…

Pesachim Jan 20, 2021

Language is much more than a method of communication. It conveys the values and culture of those who speak it. The Hebrew language is known as …

Pesachim Jan 19, 2021

I am on occasion asked by my (generally non-observant) students questions about the afterlife. This is a most welcome question, indicating some…

Vaera Jan 14, 2021

One hundred and thirty seven is not a number that would appear to have much significance, at least not from a Jewish perspective. Yet the Torah found…

Pesachim Jan 13, 2021

In our last post, we discussed the fascinating view of Rabbi Yehuda (at least, as understood by Rashi) that the prohibition of eating chametz on…

Shemot Jan 8, 2021

In today's world of the 30-second soundbite, good oratory skills are a necessary ingredient for any aspiring politician. Good politicians…

Vayechi Jan 1, 2021

Sefer Breisheet begins with the grandeur of creation, detailing the many new life forms, and with great hope for the human race. This hope was to be…

Rosh Hashanah Dec 31, 2020

“Ezra enacted for the Jewish people that they should read the curses that are recorded in Vayikra before Shavuot and […

Dec 29, 2020

There are few ritual prohibitions as widely and carefully observed than that of the prohibition of eating chametz on Pesach. It is not uncommon…

Vayigash Dec 25, 2020

Hugs, kisses, joy and forgiveness. So appears the reunion of Yosef and his family after twenty-two long years. “Don’t be sad nor reproach…

Chanukah Dec 25, 2020

For better or worse, in the minds of many—Jew and non-Jew alike—Chanukah and Christmas are two sides of a similar, if not the same, coin. Chanukah is…

Pesachim Dec 23, 2020

There is no more oft-repeated command in the Torah than the charge to be kind and sensitive to the ger—ki because[1],  …

Mikeitz Dec 18, 2020

Judaism has always maintained that a strong family life is the most important ingredient to create and sustain a person of character and integrity.…