Brachot Feb 6, 2020

The years following the destruction of the Temple were fraught with great danger and uncertainty. The infighting that had so weakened the Jewish…

Brachot Feb 2, 2020

As we transition from the third to the fourth chapter of masechet Brachot, our focus shifts from the mitzvah of kriat shema to that of…

Bo Jan 31, 2020

Judaism places great emphasis on the proper use of time. For serious students there is practically no greater sin than that of bitul Torah—the…

Brachot Jan 29, 2020

Shehechiyanu vekemanu vhegeyanu lazman hazeh. It was when daf yomi last reached Brachot 27 that I wrote my first “Daily Daf”. For…

Brachot Jan 26, 2020

One of the things I love about the Gemara is how realistic and human it is—how it portrays people, rabbis and laypeople alike, in all their…

Vaera Jan 24, 2020

Moshe was frustrated. Having been coerced by G-d to redeem the Jewish people, things were not going as planned. As Moshe confronted Pharaoh,…

Brachot Jan 23, 2020

“A jewel in the mouth of Rava. The purpose of chochmah, wisdom, is teshuva and maasim tovim, good deeds”(Brachot 17a…

Brachot Jan 19, 2020

“The appointed one [assistant kohen gadol] said to them [the priests in the Temple]: ‘Recite a single blessing.’ They…

Shemot Jan 17, 2020

Amongst the unsung heroes of the Jewish people are Shifra and Puah. Despite the genocidal decrees of the Egyptian regime against Jewish newborns,…

Brachot Jan 16, 2020

“Rabbi Chelbo said in the name of Rav Huna: All who have yira’at shamayim, fear of Heaven, his words are heeded, as it is…

Brachot Jan 13, 2020

What should one pray for? If we were to take a survey of the typical shul-goer, or even one who is not, I suspect we will hear such ideas as health,…

Vayechi Jan 10, 2020

People often mistakenly think that truly righteous people are somehow different, perhaps not totally "normal".  Somehow we assume that…

Brachot Jan 9, 2020

In our post discussing the last lines of the Talmud Bavli, we wondered why the Gemara ends with a teaching by Eliyahu Hanavi. As Daf Yomi begins its…

Brachot Jan 6, 2020

“From when may one recite the kriat shema in the evening? From the time the kohanim enter to eat their terumah until the end of the…

Brachot Jan 5, 2020

Rashi begins his commentary to Chumash asking why the Torah begins with the story of creation and not with the first mitzva given to the Jewish…

Nidah Jan 4, 2020

“Tanna devei Eliyahu, the school of Eliyahu, taught: Kol hashoneh, all who study (and review) halachot every day are guaranteed that they…

Vayigash Jan 3, 2020

"And he [Yaakov] sent Judah ahead of him l'horot, to make preparations, in Goshen (Breisheet 46:28). With great fear and trepidation, Yaakov, along…

Nidah Jan 1, 2020

There is something surreal about 92,000 people gathering at a football stadium on New Year’s Day to make a siyum on the entire Talmud. That…

Chanukah Dec 30, 2019

Before there were clocks and standard time, time was determined in relation to the position of the sun—hence, the importance of the sundial. As…

Mikeitz Dec 27, 2019

That one has a natural love for one's place of birth is a truism long recognized by our Talmudic sages. Emigration is never an easy prospect,…

Chanukah Dec 23, 2019

One of the painful realties of Jewish life is that the Jewish people are often judged by a double standard. What in other cultures is done with…

Vayeshev Dec 20, 2019

Our Sages attach the appellation Tzadik, righteous one, to Yosef, presumably because of his ability to withstand the sexual advances of Potiphar’s…

Nidah Dec 18, 2019

“And it does not leave the womb before it is made to take an oath…and what is the oath one is made to take? Be righteous and do not be…

Vayishlach Dec 13, 2019

How common it is for people to return from a funeral and realize how little they knew about the deceased. All too often, it is only after a person…

Nidah Dec 10, 2019

Being pregnant with one’s first child is the best of times. One imagines a talmid chacham, a nuclear physicist, a Nobel laureate, an…

Vayetze Dec 6, 2019

“And Yaakov was a pure man, dwelling in the tents” (Breisheet 25:27). Like his father before him, Yaakov had little interest in the wider…

Toldot Nov 29, 2019

Our Sages identified each of our patriarchs and matriarchs with the character traits that they best exemplified. Avraham, the master of hospitality…

Nidah Nov 28, 2019

In our last post, we discussed that seven days after giving birth to a boy and 14 after a girl, the newborn mother purifies herself in a mikvah. Any…

Nidah Nov 26, 2019

Death, as we have often noted, is the primary source of tumah, impurity, with a corpse classified as avi avot hatumah, the grandfather of tumah.…

Chayei Sarah Nov 22, 2019

"And Sarah lived one hundred years, twenty years and seven years; these are the years of Sarah's life” (Breisheet 23:1). A famous…

Nidah Nov 18, 2019

It is hard to imagine more influential institutions of Jewish learning than those of Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai. These two great schools set in…

VaYera Nov 15, 2019

One of the fundamental issues of debate amongst observant Jews regards the degree of openness with which one meets the surrounding culture. Should we…

Nidah Nov 13, 2019

“And you shall live by them” (Vayikra 18:5). The mitzvot of the Torah are meant to enhance life, adding meaning and sanctity to our…

Lech Lecha Nov 8, 2019

Our rabbis famously debate the righteousness of Noach. Was he a tzadik only relative to the corrupt society in which he lived, or was his…

Nidah Nov 6, 2019

Seder Taharot opens with masechet Kelim, vessels, which at 30 chapters and 254 mishnayot is far and away the largest of the 63 tractates of the…

Noach Nov 1, 2019

For years, psychologists have debated the impact of the environment (nurture) on the development of human beings. Can we be inherently changed by…

Nidah Oct 31, 2019

Jewish law is generally divided into three distinct areas: issur v’heter, ritual law; dinei mammonot, monetary law; and tumah v…

Breisheet Oct 25, 2019

The holidays of Tishrei—with their emphasis on sin, repentance, reconciliation, and joy—are behind us. It is time to get back to our “normal”…

Shemini Atzeret Oct 20, 2019

Tomorrow is Shmini Atzeret. It is also Election Day in Canada. While that is no doubt unfortunate for (observant) Jews, these days, Election Day is a…

V'zot HaBracha Oct 20, 2019

When writing a book, a good author will introduce the major themes of the book in the opening chapters, develop these and other secondary themes…

Meilah Oct 18, 2019

“The one sheep you shall do in the morning and the second sheep you shall do in the evening”. Cited twice in the Torah (Shemot 29:39 and…

Sukkot Oct 18, 2019

Sukkot is a holiday full of contradictions. At the time we celebrate our harvest, we are bidden to leave the comfort of our home and expose ourselves…

Yom Kippur Oct 10, 2019

“It was on the next day…” (Shemot 18:13). Apparently, something of significance had happened on the previous day, yet the Torah makes no mention of…

Yom Kippur Oct 7, 2019

Our society worships greatness. Whether it be athletes, rock stars, actors or successful business leaders, they are showered with wealth and…

Yom Kippur Oct 6, 2019

Integral to the teshuva process is the act of vidui, confession. One can intellectually know one has done something wrong; one can even feel…

Vayelech Oct 3, 2019

"Now, write for yourselves this song and teach it to the Israelites, so that this song will be a witness for the Israelites" (Devarim…

Rosh Hashanah Sep 28, 2019

"And on the seventh month on the first day of the month, it shall be a day of rest. It is a sacred day for remembrance and blowing" (Vayikra 23:24). …

Nitzavim Sep 27, 2019

"You are standing this day all of you before the Lord your God: your heads, your tribes, your elders, and your officers, all the men of Israel…

Keritut Sep 26, 2019

“Rabbi Shimon says: Kevasim, lambs, precede se’irim, goats, in all places” (Keritot 28a). Rabbi Shimon notes that while…

Sep 24, 2019

The transition from elementary to high school was quite a jarring one. My school day was some two-and-a-half hours longer, added to that was another…