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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Divrei Torah

Beyond Law and Order

On a Sunday afternoon a number of years ago, my in-laws were visiting us from Lakewood and we went to a local pizza shop here in Monsey for lunch. As soon as we walked in I detected an uncharacteristically excited expression upon my father-in-law’ s face that I had never seen before. Before I could say anything, my father-in-law motioned to a sole fellow who was

Bava Kama 97 and 98

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 Kamma 97 and 98. Here are some highlights.

Bava Kama 97: Using someone else’s worker

Reuven needed work done in his home to repair his sink. His

Bringing the Prophets to Life

Parshat Shoftim
 
After recognizing in the opening words of the third haftarah of consolation (a selection we did not read last week because it was Rosh Chodesh) that Israel was not yet fully comforted (“Aniya so’ara lo

The Trial—Thirty Days To Go

Let’s begin with the beautiful words of the Chayei Adam: “It is by reason of His great love for His people, Israel, that the Holy One, blessed be He, favored us and commanded us to turn to Him whenever we sin. Although teshuva (repentance) is good at all times, the month of Elul is choicest for teshuva for this was the time that after the sin of the Golden Calf

Shoftim: On the Lamb

Devarim: 17:16

Once, in the town of Washington Township, there lived a man who had too many gray sweaters.

How it all began is hard to nail down. Gray was not his favorite color. That would be downright gloomy. Maybe it happened when he was in college. While he was at Rutgers in the 1990s, grunge was in. If you weren’t wearing black,

Open Handed

The Dubno Maggid once solicited a very wealthy individual for a worthy tzedakah. The individual was known for being a kamtzan, a stingy person. The man rejected the Maggid’s request. The Maggid responded to the man that he was destined for a place in the world to come. The wealthy man was astonished. Was the Maggid saying that he would merit the world to

Giving Meaning to the Season of Elul: Profound Inspiration for the Yomim Noraim

Review of Dorash Dovid on Moadim Elul-Purim, By Rav Dovid Hofstedter, Publisher and Distributor: Israel Book Shop

The Moadim, the Jewish holidays, are the highlights of the Jewish year. Often we are so involved in the physical and logistical preparations for the holidays that we lack the wherewithal to contemplate the many questions on the Moadim that

Despite the Excuses

It’s been a gratifying and enjoyable yet exhausting summer season. And now, after eight wonderful weeks at Camp Dora Golding, we have returned home.

It takes a few days before I can sit and relax without worrying that someone is calling me on my camp radio. In fact, sometimes I still think I hear my name called, despite the fact that my radio has been shut

Shabbat Rosh Chodesh: Parshat Re’eh

As this Shabbat is Rosh Chodesh, we take a “break” from the series of “consolation” haftarot (shiva d’nechemta) to read the final perek in Sefer Yishayahu, a selection that ties into the theme of Rosh Chodesh. The obvious connection of this special reading to the day itself is found in the final pesukim where the navi foretells of a time when “midei chodesh

Re’eh: The Destruction of Atlantic City

Devarim 13:13-19

It might have amazed Rabbi Baumgarten’s congregants to know this, but before the day Mel Crandall went missing the rabbi had never been in a casino in his life. He had served as the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Jacob in Ventnor for the past 27 years, just a stone’s throw from Atlantic City, but he had never set foot on a

A Precedent for ‘OK, Google’ in the Gemara?!

Beloved Shaarei Orah member Joe Negari called with a cutting-edge halachic question—does the halacha permit performing melacha on Shabbat via voice commands? Perhaps the prohibition is to perform melacha, as it is written in the Aseret HaDibrot, “Lo ta’aseh kol melacha b’yom haShabbat,” do not perform any work on Shabbat. Would we be able to discover the

Bava Kama 87

 

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

When a Child Damages

Our daf teaches that dealing with children and damage is difficult. If one damages a child he must pay. However, when a child damages others there is