Tuesday, May 22, 2018


Zevachim 31

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 Zevachim 31. These are some highlights.

Zevachim 31: Does a broker deserve a broker’s fee for selling you a home you

Experiencing Yom Yerushalayim In Jerusalem

Today is the 28th day of the Hebrew month of Iyar, Yom Yerushalayim. Fifty-one years ago, as a result of the Six-Day War, the city of Jerusalem and its holy sites were once again in Jewish hands. For the first time since the War of Independence, when the Kotel HaMaaravi (the Western Wall) fell into Jordanian hands, Jews and

Yom Tov Sheini for Sephardic Visitors to Israel

There are three major opinions regarding visitors to Eretz Yisrael on Yom Tov Sheini: Rav Yosef Karo requires two days of observance, Teshuvot Chacham Tzvi rules that one day suffices, and Rav Soloveitchik and others blend the two opinions. To which of these opinions do Sephardic Jews adhere?

Formed in the Desert

Parshat Bamidbar

Sefer BaMidbar, which we begin this Shabbat, begins with the events that took place in the beginning of the second year of Bnei Yisrael’s sojourn in the desert and closes with those events that occurred only a few months before their entry into Eretz Yisrael. Clearly, the bulk

Torah and Shavuot: The ‘Israeli’ Har Sinai

Torah is eternal and exists outside of time and outside of space. For this reason Torah was delivered in a barren desert landscape, without a clear date tagging this event. The word of Hashem is incumbent upon us regardless of where we live or when we live.

Yet the epic events of Har Sinai were

Purpose and Pleasure, All Year Long

(Courtesy of Kollel Chatzos) It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. It’s the moment you are living for.

The night is inky, the world is asleep and you’re infused with such purpose, such pleasure, such pride that your heart feels tight with joy.


The Smooth Road

Last week I was at Citi Field in Queens on two different occasions. On Sunday I attended the Orthodox Union’s “Day of Torah Learning” held in the conference rooms at Citi Field. It was a beautiful and inspiring event, with thousands of people in attendance to hear words of chizuk and Torah from a group of wonderful

Transmitting Our Vision to the Next Generation

In a letter written to his wife, Abigail, future President John Adams wrote, “I must study Politics and War that my sons may have liberty to study Painting and Poetry, Mathematics and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematics and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and

Experiencing the Holiness of History

We watched history in the making this past Monday  as the US Embassy was officially opened in Jerusalem. We don’t think as many people were absorbed in this as they might be watching a final game of the Stanley Cup or the clincher of a tie in the ninth inning of a World Series game, which is unfortunate. Tears rolled down

Attitudes of the Rabbis Toward the Study of Jewish History

Part II

No attempt at writing a sketch of this nature can be complete without mentioning the seminal work “Zakhor; Jewish History and Jewish Memory” by the late Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi.

Yerushalmi contends that “only in Israel and nowhere else is the

My Stories

Part 27 (written 2004)

(Continued from previous week)

I found out that a company in California was having these mixers manufactured in Hong Kong and was marketing them through very limited outlets in the US. I contacted them and offered to become

Halachic Organ Donor Society Saves Lives

As a physician it is clear to me people should be organ donors. I know there is a shortage of organs and thousands of people die waiting to get an organ that never gets donated. But I did not know Jews have one of the lowest organ donor rates in the Western world. All Jews and, surprisingly, even secular Jews who have