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Sunday, May 27, 2018

Divrei Torah

You Shall Not Steal WHAT?

“You shall not steal,” the eighth commandment cautions us in the biblical Book of Exodus (20:13). And so, implemented in most civilized societies, most people won’t walk out of department stores with expensive trinkets they inadvertently slipped into their pocket and for which they “forgot” to pay. But the funny thing is, many of us will pluck a few

KI Tavo: Showing Appreciation

The recitation that accompanies the bringing of the first fruits (Bikkurim) in the times of the Temple, from the seven species of the Land of Israel to Jerusalem is an act of joy and appreciation for the bounty provided by Hashem.  The next sentence following the recitation states, “And you shall rejoice in all the good granted to you by Hashem your God” (Devarim,

The Never-Ending Process of Teshuva

This excerpt was taken from Return: Daily Inspiration for the Days of Awe by Erica Brown. It was reprinted with permission from Maggid Books, a division of Koren Publishers Jerusalem. Return is available at all Jewish bookstores and online. See www.korepub.com for more info.

Rabbi Jonah of Gerona (d. 1263) called

“Anarchy or Utopia?”

Who would you consult if you wanted to know a thing or two about the perfect society? Would you ask a politician? A professor of government?A philosopher, expert in theories of utopia?Or perhaps a historian familiar with successful societies across the ages?

Would it even occur to you to ask an entomologist, a scientist who studies insect life? But it is

Rationality, Not Rationale

The most frustrating conversations are with those with whom we have deep fundamental disagreements. If conducted in the right spirit, without personal animus and with sincere dedication to the pursuit of truth, they can be very rewarding. When we surround ourselves only with those who see things exactly as we do, we limit our growth. When we surround ourselves only

Discipline and Suffering

As a parent, grandparent, and psychologist, I am often considered to be something of an expert on parenting and child-rearing. In that capacity, I have frequently been asked to review or give an opinion about any of the plethora of books on the subject of raising one’s children.

Like in any genre, there are better books and worse books in this

Kiruv in Riga

A few months ago,my wife and I went, under the auspices of Shvut Ami, the Russian outreach organization, to visit our brothers and sisters still living in the once-beleaguered lands.

Shvut Ami was founded about 40 years ago in Yerushalayim by Rabbi Eliezer Kugel and his colleague, Rabbi Shimon Grilius, a refusenik who finally succeeded in

It’s On the Tip of My Tongue

It’s no coincidence that one of the strongest muscles in the human body your tongue. While you might have to exercise to keep your heart healthy, or to pump up your arms, the tongue is plenty busy helping you eat, pushing saliva down your throat even while you sleep, and, of course, twisting and contorting to form sounds and words.

While the tongue is not

BT Forum: The Real Meaning of Tznius

Tznius is usually defined as modesty. Is that the correct definition?

Modesty is a part of it, but even better is dignity. In Gan Eden, Hashem gave clothes to Adam and Chava; it was a chessed and we should emulate Hashem. Dignity is about preserving privacy. We should treat ourselves with dignity.  When we don’t dress with dignity, we are doing a

Parshat Eikev

One cannot help but pity iron. Compared to its “flashier” cousins, gold, silver, and copper, it appears dull and plain. In Tanach, its treatment gets no better. Iron is disqualified from the Beit HaMikdash due to its “violent” essence. A Mizbayach’s stones cannot even be cut by iron, because of iron’s nature. In Sefer Daniel, the iron part of

A Zaidie Writes to a Rebbe

The following letter was given to JLBCto print because its author, a frum Jew, believes we must monitor and be fully aware of some of the lessons our children are being taught...subliminally and otherwise. He said he was afraid to put his name on it for public consumption, but he did send it to the Rosh Yeshiva who made a speech at his grandson’s graduation in a

Da’as Torah

Da’as-Torah—the idea that there is a “Torah view” on everything—has taken hold of the Orthodox world.  And how can it not?  If indeed the Torah, the revealed (and unrevealed?) word of God is all encompassing, all embracing, all comprehending, it then follows, ineluctably, that the Torah encompasses contemporary public-affairs as well.

There