Saturday, October 21, 2017


Sanhedrin 61 and 62

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 Sanhedrin 61 and 62. These are some highlights.

Sanhedrin 61: Is Islam

Winning the War Against Hatred

In previous articles we discussed the idea that contradictory phenomenon, including emotions and actions, cannot co-exist. For example, if one’s feelings toward another are primarily loving and appreciative, it is difficult to experience or express emotions that fall in the realm of sarcasm, criticism or hatred for that same

Avinu Malkeinu on Shabbat?!

Ashkenazic Jews are shocked to discover that most Sephardic Jews recite Avinu Malkeinu on Shabbat. This should not be shocking to students of the Shulchan Aruch who recognize that it is not the Shulchan Aruch but rather the Rema, the central halachic authority for Ashkenazic Jews, who presents the practice to omit Avinu Malkeinu on

Silent Contemplation

This week marked the 16th anniversary of the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001. A few years ago, on September 11, I was teaching my fifth-grade class at Ashar and was reminiscing about that fateful and tragic day. As I was talking to them, it suddenly dawned on me that the boys sitting in front of me hadn’t been born before

Some Interesting High Holiday Words

Many interesting words come up in the context of the High Holidays. (Many of the paytannim enjoyed using rare words!) I will discuss a few of them.

D-F-Y (Dibarnu Dofi, from the Ashamnu prayer). This word, dalet-peh-yod, appears only one time in Tanach, at Psalms 50:20: “You sit and speak

Remembering on Rosh Hashanah

The two different haftarot that we read on the two separate days of Rosh Hashanah focus upon two different themes of the chag. The first haftarah, taken from the opening perek of Sefer Shmuel, tells the story of Chana, the barren wife of Elkana, whose prayers for a son were answered with the birth of Shmuel, destined to be the

Rosh Hashanah: Recognizing Our King

One of the most stirring prayers of the Yomim Noraim (High Holidays) is the prayer of Avinu Malkeinu—Our Father, Our King. We recite a prayer similar to this right after the shofar blowing as we say, “Please, Hashem, whether we are like children or servants, have compassion on us.” I always thought the addition of

Rosh Hashanah: Why Two New Years?

The Talmud in Rosh Hashanah 10B describes a dispute between two Sages about the date of creation. Rabbi Eliezer insists that God created the world in the month of Tishrei, while Rabbi Yehoshua contends that the world was created in the month of Nisan.

The argument between Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi

If I May?

Editor's note: Nina is responding to her husband's column, "Coming to Terms With my Dementia," available here

Upon arriving home

Like Fish

My kids have three goldfish, which is way more goldfish than my wife originally wanted. And we don’t keep them in the same bowl. We keep them in two different bowls, right next to each other, because they belong to two different kids, and the kids don’t want their fish sharing a bowl. Like it matters whose fish is whose. Like

Blessed Blasts

If you’re having a good time, you’re having a blast. If you’re igniting a stick of dynamite or launching a rocket ship, you’re having a blast. If you run into an old friend, you’re having a blast... from the past. (If you literally run into an old friend, really hard, then you’re going to get blasted... with a lawsuit.)

Are You Volunteering in Your Community and Posting Your Information on the Internet?

After seeing the devastation from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, many in our kehilla wanted to help the victims in any way they could. Some of us donated money, while others donated their time and went to neighborhoods in Houston and Miami to help homeowners clean up and to provide other life necessities. Having helped during