Chanukah Dec 18, 2020

There is no more powerful symbol than light in our tradition. It is how we usher in the Shabbat, march down the wedding aisle, mark the yahrzeit of a…

Chanukah Dec 18, 2020

There is no more powerful symbol than light in our tradition. It is how we usher in the Shabbat, march down the wedding aisle, mark the yahrzeit of a…

Pesachim Dec 15, 2020

In describing our Talmudic Sages, one would not put a sense of humour at the top of the list—maybe not even at the bottom. Yet that would be…

Chanukah Dec 14, 2020

Mai Chanukah? What is Chanukah? the Talmud (Shabbat 21ba) queries, a question we find with respect to no other holiday. The Talmud explains that…

Pesachim Dec 10, 2020

The problem of theodicy—why a benevolent G-d allows so much evil to exist in this world—has troubled thinkers from time immemorial.…

Vayeshev Dec 10, 2020

We tend to divide the Bible into narrative and law. The former teaches ethical and moral values while the latter instructs us on how we must conduct…

Pesachim Dec 8, 2020

One of the principles of Biblical interpretation is that the Torah is not necessarily written in chronological order, ein mukdam umeuchar…

Vayishlach Dec 4, 2020

One of the fascinating (and, at times, frustrating) aspects of the Torah is how much information it does not tell us. We know nothing of Abraham…

Pesachim Dec 2, 2020

One of the requirements our Talmudic Sages set for the receiving of semicha, rabbinic ordination, was the ability to speak clearly (…

Vayetze Nov 27, 2020

"And G-d saw that Leah was hated, and He opened her womb" (Breisheet 29:31). Apparently, Leah—as was the case with Sarah, Rivka, and…

Pesachim Nov 26, 2020

“On the eve of the fourteenth, we search for chametz by candlelight” (Pesachim 2a). I fondly recall hiding pieces of chametz all over the…

Pesachim Nov 24, 2020

The task of editing involves critical decision-making. Beyond questions of language and syntax, an editor must decide what to include and what to…

Toldot Nov 20, 2020

"When Eisav heard his father’s words he let out a most loud and bitter scream" (27:34). Our Sages sensitive to even minor failings of…

Eiruvin Nov 19, 2020

Imagine if the Torah had not been given. While for many, such a thought is unthinkable—“for they are our life and the length of our days…

Chayei Sarah Nov 13, 2020

“Yitzchak then brought her [Rivka] into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he took Rivka as his wife. Yitzchak loved her, and Yitzchak found…

Chayei Sarah Nov 13, 2020

I had the honour of sharing a few words in honour of Rabbi Sacks zt"l at the moving program Mizrachi of Canada organized this week. I share my…

VaYera Nov 5, 2020

“Take your son, your only son, the one you love, v'lech lecha, and go for yourself to the land of Moriah” (Breisheet 22:2). So begins…

Eiruvin Nov 3, 2020

I often ask my high school students what they consider the most difficult mitzvah to observe. The two most common answers I receive are keeping…

Eiruvin Nov 3, 2020

I often ask my high school students what they consider the most difficult mitzvah to observe. The two most common answers I receive are keeping…

Lech Lecha Oct 30, 2020

Sefer Breisheet might be described as the book of movement. Beginning with the heavenly spheres and moving to birds, fish, animals and humans sefer…

Noach Oct 23, 2020

We tend to view Adam as a failure at life, unable to obey his only command from G-d. Noach was better, yet many see him as one who could have…

Eiruvin Oct 21, 2020

“Rabbi Elai said: A person is recognized through three ways: b’koso, b’kiso, u’b’kaaso” (Eiruvin 65b).…

Eiruvin Oct 19, 2020

Two of the most fundamental mitzvot are those of prayer and Talmud Torah. Observant Jews pray three times a day, and for those who daven with a…

Breisheet Oct 16, 2020

"G-d took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden to work it, l'ovdah, and watch it, l'shomrah" (Breisheet 2:15…

Shemini Atzeret Oct 9, 2020

The Jewish holidays have two distinct themes. The shalosh regalim, three pilgrim festivals of Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot, occurring at key…

Sukkot Oct 7, 2020

For many years, students were introduced to the study of Talmud with Eilu Metziot, the second chapter of masechet Bava Metzia, focusing on the…

Eiruvin Oct 6, 2020

“One cannot compare one who learns the chapter 100 times to one who learns it 101 times” (Chagiga 9b). The mitzvah of Talmud Torah…

Sukkot Oct 2, 2020

For seven days a year, one is to “make his home temporary and his Sukkah permanent”. Ideally, we move our finest furniture, china, and…

Sukkot Sep 30, 2020

As important (if not more so) as what one says is how it is said, when it is said, and what is not said. This is equally true regarding both our…

Yom Kippur Sep 27, 2020

“We work and get reward and they work and do not get reward?” This statement, said when one completes a Talmudic tractate, articulates a…

Haazinu Sep 25, 2020

Sinning is meant to be enjoyable. If not, there would be no point to it. How ironic, then, when a person sins and does not derive any pleasure. A…

Yom Kippur Sep 23, 2020

“In a place where ba’alei teshuva stand there, not even the fully righteous can stand” (Brachot 34b). This teaching is generally…

Rosh Hashanah Sep 18, 2020

Man has a tremendous capacity for self-deception. We easily see faults in others; somehow, we miss them in ourselves. Teshuva, repentance,…

Rosh Hashanah Sep 16, 2020

The Yamim Noraim of the year 70 must have been quite traumatic. The Temple had been destroyed less than two months earlier and thousands lay dead,…

Vayelech Sep 11, 2020

We tend to think that the names of the weekly parshiot have little intrinsic meaning; they are just taken from the opening word or two of the parsha…

Eiruvin Sep 10, 2020

One of the hardest hit industries of the pandemic has been the restaurant industry. Many restaurants have permanently closed; surely, many more will…

Ki Tavo Sep 4, 2020

Those of us living in Canada are especially sensitive to the importance of language to the fabric of a country. The language that one speaks is, more…

Ki Teitzei Aug 28, 2020

"All of man's earnings are decreed on Rosh Hashanah, except for expenses regarding Shabbat and Yom Tov and expenses…

Shoftim Aug 21, 2020

"The hand of the witnesses should be against him first to put him to death, and the hand of the nation at the end" (Devarim 17:7). Giving…

Eiruvin Aug 17, 2020

The focus of masechet Shabbat is the definition of the parameters of the 39 prohibited melachot, creative activities prohibited on Shabbat. Of the 39…

Re'eh Aug 14, 2020

One of the most vexing issues we face today is how to deal with those who violate, wilfully or not, the precepts of the Torah. Whether our approach…

Shabbat Aug 11, 2020

“For there will never cease to be needy within the land. Therefore, I command you, saying, you shall surely open your hand to your brother, to…

Eikev Aug 7, 2020

"And now, Israel, what does G-d, Ma Hashem, want from you but just to fear the Lord your G-d, to walk in all His ways, to love Him and to…

Shabbat Aug 6, 2020

“Mitzvot were given only to purify people” (Breisheet Rabba 44). By refraining from gossip, not bearing a grudge, not giving…

Tu B'Av Aug 5, 2020

One of the best-known wedding customs is the breaking of a glass during the chuppah. The common explanation given for this custom is that it serves…

VaEtchanan Jul 30, 2020

The most obvious connection between Tisha b’Av and parshat Vaetchanan—which is always read on the Shabbat following this…

Taanit Jul 29, 2020

A Jewish wedding consists of two distinct parts: eirusin and nisuin. In eirusin (also known as kiddushin), the …

Tisha B'Av Jul 29, 2020

If someone gives you ten answers to a question, the one thing you can be assured of is that none of the answers is a very a good one. If one has a…

Shabbat Jul 27, 2020

“Rav Yehuda said in the name of Shmuel: Three thousand halachot were forgotten during the days of mourning for Moshe…

Devarim Jul 23, 2020

The true state of health of any society can be determined by an examination of the justice system that it provides for its citizens. Are rich and…