Tuesday, June 27, 2017


I Can’t Get Otto Warmbier Out of My Head

Otto Warmbier. I can’t get this tragedy out of my head.

There’s been more than our fair share of the horrific multiple shootings, where mass killings have resulted in unspeakable sadness. It seems like one 24-hour news cycle just hands off another unspeakable incident to the next

Bava Batra 146

May these words of Torah serve as a merit le’iluy nishmat Menachem Mendel ben Harav Yoel David Balk, a”h.


This week we learned Bava Batra 146. These are some highlights.

Bava Batra 146: If he wishes

The Six Questions Asked of Us When We Die

The Talmud tells us that when a person dies and his soul goes to heaven, the heavenly court of judgment asks six questions: “Raba said, Did you do business with honesty and integrity? Did you fix set times for studying Torah? Did you participate in the commandment to be fruitful and multiply? Did you await the Redemption? Did you

Sinful or Divine

The first time I heard one of my students exclaim “he’s a sick athlete,” I felt terrible. How sad that such a vibrant and adroit athlete was ill. Before I had a chance to add his name to my Tehillim list, however, my students explained to me that saying an athlete is sick is somehow a good thing. In fact, it’s a big

Sheva Berachot for Lini and Yehoshua (Josh) Schulz at Shaarei Orah

What a simcha to see Shaarei Orah’s own Joshua Schulz marry a wonderful young lady, Rachel Lina (Lini) Sassen, this past week in Israel! The young couple returned for sheva brachot in New Jersey this past week, concluding at a seudah shelishit at Congregation Shaarei Orah, the Sephardic Congregation of Teaneck. It is especially

Chasing the Ball

One day this past week, my son was playing basketball in our driveway when I came out the front door. As I stood on the porch, he asked me if I wanted to take a shot. After I answered affirmatively, he threw the ball up to me and I subsequently shot and missed. The ball hit the rim and headed straight for the street. Since we live

The Story of the Hertz Chumash

“The Pentateuch and Haftorahs” of Rabbi Dr. J.H. Hertz is one of the most important works of the Jewish religion in the 20th century. To quote one scholar, it “almost single-handedly [gave] shape to the way in which English-speaking Jewish laymen the world over have understood their Judaism over the course of the past two

Korach: Striving to Make Peace

Korach, Dasan and Aviram. Not exactly top-tier names when a baby boy is born. Indeed, within the Chumash, these names are nothing short of synonymous with utter discord and defiance. In Sefer Bamidbar, we are introduced to many individuals and groups who act in extremely abhorrent ways, yet the Baalei Mussar refer to Sefer Bamidbar

Moral Rites

Parshat Korach

Shabbat Rosh Chodesh

This Shabbat is also Rosh Chodesh and, as such, we eschew the usual prophetic selection read for Parshat Korach and read, instead, the last perek in Sefer Yeshayahu, which closes with mention of both special days:

In Search of Magic

Everyone loves the idea of magic. Most of us discover the delights of magic very early on in life. Have you ever played peek-a-boo with a baby? For those who haven’t been around a baby in a long time, this is how the game works. The baby stares at your face, you cover your face with your hands, and then you open your hands to

Responding to the Cry of ‘Count Me in…’

The Lifelong Journey of Refining Our Souls: Part II

In last month’s article, we spoke to the charge of “Kedoshim tihiyu, Thou shalt be holy.” We learned that winning the battle of “altruism” over “egotism” is an important aspect of this journey. We also saw how the

Technology’s Impact in the Classroom

A group of young students at Yeshivat He’Atid sit in a cluster around their teacher as she explains a math lesson to them. Other students in the class sit at their desks with headphones over their ears and their eyes intent on a Chromebook in front of them. Both groups are learning, but in slightly different