Keritut Sep 22, 2019

Rav Chaim Soloveitchik, when asked to define the main role of a rabbi, responded that it is to help the poor, the widow and the orphan. This towering…

Ki Tavo Sep 20, 2019

One of the key aspects of our being created in the Divine image is the gift of speech. As the world was created with ten Divine utterances (Avot 5:1…

Keritut Sep 17, 2019

One brings a korban for one of two reasons: either because one wants to or because one has to. One may offer a korban as a way of saying thank you…

Ki Teitzei Sep 13, 2019

Until modern times, travel was viewed as something best avoided. It was slow, uncomfortable, and often quite dangerous. Our rabbis even instituted a…

Keritut Sep 10, 2019

In our last post, we discussed the serious prohibition of issuing halachic rulings after having had even minimal amounts of alcohol. Yet the…

Shoftim Sep 6, 2019

The basic duty of every government is to provide security and protect its citizens from both internal criminal activity and external enemies. Parshat…

Keritut Sep 6, 2019

Jewish tradition teaches that we are to celebrate joyous occasions—Shabbat and Yom Tov, brit milah, a wedding—by drinking wine…

Keritut Sep 2, 2019

The most basic rule of economics is that of supply and demand. The interaction between these two forces is the key—often the only—factor…

Re'eh Aug 30, 2019

It is difficult to feel two contradictory emotions at the same time. Conflicting, if not contradictory, emotions such as joy and sadness,…

Keritut Aug 28, 2019

“One should be as careful with a light mitzvah as with heavy mitzvah” (Avot 2:1). Contrary to what is often taught, not all mitzvot…

Eikev Aug 23, 2019

"According to the days that you spent exploring the land, forty days, a year for a day, you shall carry your sin and you will know My actions…

Aug 22, 2019

Hillel Rapp has identified a serious impediment to solving the tuition crisis—namely, the spiraling costs incurred by day…

Tu B'Av Aug 16, 2019

One of the lessons Nehama Leibowitz, z”l, drilled into us during the time I was fortunate to study with her was that if Rashi has two…

VaEtchanan Aug 16, 2019

Our Torah encompasses all aspects of life: it regulates our existence from the day we are born until the day we die, and from the moment we awake…

Devarim Aug 9, 2019

With old age comes knowledge of life that can only be gained by experience. Thus, Jewish law insists that all elders, even non-observant or non-…

Temurah Aug 8, 2019

Night and day reflect polar opposites. The former symbolizes hope and excitement, the latter fear and trembling. They join together to form a…

Erchin Aug 1, 2019

“How do we know that one who sees something unseemly in his friend, that he must rebuke him? Because it says (Vayikra 19:17), ‘You shall…

Mattot Aug 1, 2019

The centrality of the land of Israel is a basic tenet of Jewish thought. Our Sages note that mitzvot performed outside the land of Israel are little…

Erchin Jul 25, 2019

Which would you prefer? That those who gossip about you do so behind your back and thus, you may never hear about it? Or that the gossip be said to…

Erchin Jul 23, 2019

“What is lashon hara?” (Erachin 15b). This is a most reasonable question—had it been asked at the beginning of a discussion on…

Balak Jul 19, 2019

Bilaam, the heathen prophet, recognized that the strength of the Jewish people was in their high level of modesty. “How goodly are your tents,…

Erchin Jul 18, 2019

One would not expect to find the major Talmudic discussion on the laws and moral failings of speaking lashon hara in masechet Erachin. This…

Erchin Jul 14, 2019

In our last post, we began our discussion as to why in so many disparate cases, one might have thought that kohanim are exempt from a mitzvah and…

Chukat Jul 12, 2019

Judaism is a religion that celebrates life. "Better one hour of repentance and good deeds in this world than the entire life of the world to…

Morocco Jul 12, 2019

Visiting Morocco leaves one with both a sense of hope and of despair. The sense of despair does not refer to the decline of Jewish community,…

Morocco Jul 10, 2019

The city of Marrakech was, for many years, home to the largest Jewish population in Morocco. Today it has two functioning shuls: one in the …

Morocco Jul 8, 2019

“Eizo asheer? Hasameach bechelko, Who is wealthy? One who is happy with his lot”. It is often hard for many of us raised in the…

Korach Jul 5, 2019

It is in times of crisis that effective leadership is most important—and the years spent wandering in the desert represented the first major…

Morocco Jul 4, 2019

Outside of the world of the yeshiva, it’s a safe bet to assume that most who study Talmud do so as part of the Daf Yomi cycle. This…

Morocco Jul 3, 2019

“With fidelity to its irreversible choice to construct a democratic State of Law, the Kingdom of Morocco…having as its bases the…

Erchin Jun 28, 2019

In our opening post on masechet Erachin we discussed how the use of the word hakol, everybody, comes to obligate one in a mitzvah…

Shelach Lecha Jun 28, 2019

How can two people witness the exact same events and yet offer two distinct and different reports? This question is one that jumps out as we examine…

Erchin Jun 24, 2019

Amongst the most obscure laws of the Torah are those of erachin, which form the subject matter of the last chapter of sefer Vayikra. The…

Naso Jun 14, 2019

A Jew is commanded to recite one hundred blessings each and every day (Menachot 43b). We need constant reminders to ensure that we recognize the…

Bechorot Jun 13, 2019

The toy industry has come a long way since Talmudic times. Perhaps the most popular "toy" during the Talmudic era was that of a…

Bechorot Jun 11, 2019

When a kosher animal gives birth to a bechor, a firstborn male, there is an inherent conflict of interest that arises. The Torah instructs that…

Shavuot Jun 7, 2019

Our attitude towards Torah is a most fickle one. On the one hand, the Jewish people demonstrated great faith in following Moshe into a barren…

Shavuot Jun 7, 2019

Our attitude towards Torah is a most fickle one. On the one hand, the Jewish people demonstrated great faith in following Moshe into a barren…

Bamidbar Jun 7, 2019

Sefer Bamidbar opens with names and numbers, a theme that continues throughout the book; hence its name, Chumash Pekudim, the book of counting.…

Bechorot Jun 5, 2019

It is highly unlikely that one would give repeat business to a supposedly kosher butcher who sold you non-kosher meat, or to one who misled you…

Bechukotai May 31, 2019

Twice a year, before Shavuot and Rosh Hashana, we read the tochecha, the list of dire consequences that will, G-d forbid, befall the Jewish…

Bechorot May 30, 2019

How much should we pay teachers? As we discussed in our last post, the Gemara has a clear and simple answer: Nothing. “Just as I [Moshe] taught…

Bechorot May 28, 2019

In our last post, we discussed the need to have an expert examine a bechor in order to declare that it has a mum, thus allowing…

Behar May 24, 2019

The Torah was wary of the employer-employee relationship. Almost by definition, an employee is not much different than a slave; both are told what to…

Bechorot May 23, 2019

A rabbi, dayan, shochet, doctor, and matir bechorot—these are some of the licensed functionaries needed to fully run a Jewish…

Bechorot May 16, 2019

Sometimes the most obscure of arguments can teach the greatest of lessons. That Rabbi Eliezer’s “proofs” from heaven were rejected…

Bechorot May 15, 2019

It is not uncommon to hear people define a mitzvah as a “good deed”. And there is little doubt that many mitzvot are, in fact, very good…

Yom Ha'atzmaut May 9, 2019

The period of sefirat haomer has undergone great transformation over the ages. In the Torah itself, it links the korban haomer …

Acharei Mot May 3, 2019

For those who write divrei Torah, the next few months will be a bit challenging and will demonstrate our geographical frame of reference.…

Acharei Mot May 3, 2019

“Speak to the people of Israel, and say to them, ‘I am the Lord your G-d: Do not follow the ways of Egypt where you once lived, nor of…