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],  …

Miketz 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.…

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…

Eruvin 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…

Vayeira 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…

Eruvin 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…

Eruvin 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…

Eruvin Oct 21, 2020

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

Eruvin 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…

Eruvin 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…