Friday, September 21, 2018

Divrei Torah

The Best Charity

I. Which Charity?

Many people in the Jewish community have achieved varieties of financial success, allowing them the privilege of supporting many charities. This raises questions of communal and philanthropic priorities. Others have limited charity funds but still want to allocate them

The Two-Step Password of Geula

At the burning bush, Moshe Rabbeinu is tasked with the mission of redeeming the Jewish people from Mitzrayim. As his first encounter with historical mission occurs, Moshe has pause and hesitates for various reasons: Pharo deems intractable and Moshe’s own extreme humility makes him feel unworthy of this Divine agency. However,

Let Us Make Sure to Pause and Reflect

Let’s face it: technology has taken over our world. In countless ways, today’s amenities and style of living seems like the stuff of yesterday’s science fiction. For better or for worse (or both), every sector of our life has been dramatically transformed through technological advancements. Perhaps the most astonishing

Parshas Tazria-Metzora: Truly Free Speech

When I was 20 years old I lost my voice for a few weeks. I attributed this to my learning in a large beis midrash filled with hundreds of people speaking in loud voices with their study partners. Talking to a chavrusa for eight, 10 or 12 hours a day can be quite taxing to the vocal cords! I took some voice lessons from a special

Parshas Shemini: Eating Our Way to Hashem’s Love

Some people seem to have a “green thumb.” Whatever they try to grow, be it flowers, vegetables, herbs or even trees, all grow beautifully. For some of us, we know ahead of time that it’s an exercise in futility. Ever wonder why? I may have uncovered an answer.

A few years ago, a study was

Walking Through Water: Not What It Seems to Be

On the seventh day of Pesach it is customary to recall the story of the sea splitting and the miracle of the Jews walking through walls of water, escaping from the pursuing Egyptian army. The new Jewish nation is so relieved to have been saved that they sing Shirat Ha’yam, the Song of the Sea. In the movie, we see the graphic

Pesach: Passing Down Holiness

As too many of us know personally, it’s not uncommon for large trees to fall during a storm. What you may not know is that a study was done to discover why some trees fall and others don’t. It seems it’s based on how close the tree is to its water supply. When a source of water is nearby, a tree’s roots are minimal and it

Godless Equals Goodless, God Equals Good

In the recent days, months and years, incidences of youth using violence against others has increased in a horrific way. In the recent Parkland tragedy, 17 lives were taken, the pain heart-wrenching and unimaginable. In the wake of this tragedy, we hear voices of different parties expressing the need to rein in on gun control, get

A Historic Look at Pesach, Matzah and Maror

We are all familiar with the mishna in Arvei Pesachim recited at the Seder:

.רבן גמליאל היה אומר, כל שלא אמר שלשה דברים אלו בפסח, לא יצא ידי חובתו, ואלו הן, פסח, מצה, ומרור

.פסח, על

Shabbos Hagadol: Promoting Faith and Harmony

To the outside world, preparing Thanksgiving dinner for family and a few guests can be amazingly stressful. It’s once a year, with so many expectations and so many traditions, including all the shopping, cooking and cleaning up afterward. OK, you’re probably laughing right now, thinking, “That’s just a regular Shabbos

What Is So Great About the Great Shabbos?

Why do we call this Shabbos “Shabbos Hagadol,” the great Shabbos? What is so great about it? What is the connection with the upcoming holiday of Pesach it precedes?

The most popular explanation is that the Jews tied up lambs, which were considered to be Egyptian gods, for the Passover

What Is Belief?

I. Belief and Knowledge

Pesach is often called Chag HaEmunah, the holiday of faith or, more accurately, belief. But what is belief and how do we acquire it? A better understanding of belief can help us recognize its role in today’s complex world. Our starting point is a debate among Arabic