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UPDATED: Is Your Bread Still Kosher?

Editor's note: On Monday, December 10, 2018, Bimbo Bakeries USA contacted this reporter to say that Thomas's and Entenmann's would remain under kosher certification.  Bimbo Bakeries USA

RYNJ Spins 1,400 Dreidels

RYNJ partnered with The Manischewitz Company this past week to break the world record for simultaneous dreidel spinners. The previous record was 965 and RYNJ planned

Project Ezrah to Honor Six Bergen Families

On December 15, Project Ezrah will hold its annual dinner at Congregation Ahavath Torah in Englewood. Project Ezrah has helped thousands of families in and around

Teach NJS Thanks Assembly Budget Committee for Approving Bill to Increase Security Aid to Nonpublic Schools

Teach NJS Thanks Assembly Budget Committee for Approving Bill to Increase Security Aid to Nonpublic Schools

Teach NJS Thanks Assembly Budget Committee for Approving Bill to Increase Security Aid to Nonpublic Schools

Teach NJS, the leading advocacy organization for New Jersey’s nonpublic school children, applauds the New Jersey Assembly Budget Committee for unanimously passing Assembly

Project Ezrah to Honor Six Bergen Families

Project Ezrah to Honor Six Bergen Families

On December 15, Project Ezrah will hold its annual dinner at Congregation Ahavath Torah in Englewood. Project Ezrah has helped thousands of families in and around Bergen County

A Celebration of Torah: Lamdeinu Holds Fourth Annual Chanukah Breakfast

A Celebration of Torah: Lamdeinu Holds Fourth Annual Chanukah Breakfast

A Celebration of Torah: Lamdeinu Holds Fourth Annual Chanukah Breakfast

(Courtesy of Lamdeinu) Lamdeinu celebrated its fourth annual Chanukah breakfast on Sunday, December 2. Esti Mellul, program director

NJ/NY CSS Assists With Washington Menorah Lighting

NJ/NY CSS Assists With Washington Menorah Lighting

NJ/NY CSS Assists With Washington Menorah Lighting

(Courtesy of CSS) Local New Jersey and New York Community Security Service (CSS) took 30 volunteers to Washington, D.C. on December

Heichal Hosts Beri Weber for Chanukah

Heichal Hosts Beri Weber for Chanukah

Heichal Hosts Beri Weber for Chanukah

On Monday evening, December 3, Heichal HaTorah’s talmidim, prospective talmidim and rebbeim celebrated Chanukah with a

Yeshivat Frisch Enjoys 44 Chanukah Parties

Yeshivat Frisch Enjoys 44 Chanukah Parties

Yeshivat Frisch Enjoys 44 Chanukah Parties

Yeshivat Frisch students had a blast celebrating Chanukah this week. A total of 44 Judaic studies sections have enjoyed

The Olive Press Comes to Yeshivat He’Atid

The Olive Press Comes to Yeshivat He’Atid

The Olive Press Comes to Yeshivat He’Atid

Yeshivat He’Atid preschoolers got the chance to see how olive oil is made for Chanukah. Students got a chance to

RKYHS Sports Management Club Visits With Jets

RKYHS Sports Management Club Visits With Jets

RKYHS Sports Management Club Visits With Jets

The RKYHS sports management club had the special opportunity to participate in Sports Business Day at MetLife Stadium sponsored

RKYHS Chess Team Starts Season With Win

RKYHS Chess Team Starts Season With Win

RKYHS Chess Team Starts Season With Win

The RKYHS chess team commanded their boards as they defeated SAR in their first match of the season. Coming off of their undefeated

Season Continues With a Win for MTA Varsity Hockey Lions

Season Continues With a Win for MTA Varsity Hockey Lions

Season Continues With a Win for MTA Varsity Hockey Lions

On Motzei Shabbat, December 1, the MTA varsity hockey Lions took on the HAFTR Hawks in the den. The game started with the drop and tension

Baking Up Perfection at Patis

Baking Up Perfection at Patis

Baking Up Perfection at Patis

Go ahead. Step into Patis Bakery when it officially opens to the public in the very near future

Homemade Sufganiyot Create Rivalries by Artisanal Bakers Worldwide

Homemade Sufganiyot Create  Rivalries by Artisanal Bakers Worldwide

Homemade Sufganiyot Create Rivalries by Artisanal Bakers Worldwide

Thanks to the internet and social media, the latest gourmet trends consistently reach a broad spectrum of foods, including all-time holiday

Is Your Bread Still Kosher? Arnold’s Bread Manufacturer Drops the OU

Is Your Bread Still Kosher? Arnold’s Bread Manufacturer Drops the OU

Is Your Bread Still Kosher? Arnold’s Bread Manufacturer Drops the OU

Editor's note: This article has been updated as of December 5, 2018. 

Editor's note II: On Monday, December 10, 2018, Bimbo Bakeries USA

Google Mapping Yosef’s Search for His Brothers in Today’s Israel

Google Mapping Yosef’s Search for His Brothers in Today’s Israel

Google Mapping Yosef’s Search for His Brothers in Today’s Israel

I don’t write and rarely give Divrei Torah, but several years ago I heard this from Rabbi Krohn of Young Israel of Teaneck and it always

The Rebbe and the Rock

The Rebbe and the Rock

The Rebbe and the Rock

The 11-year old child went to school and told his wonderful rebbe that he was taking a mini-vacation with his family for the weekend. The

Upon Reflection

Upon Reflection

Upon Reflection

The partition between the men’s section and the women’s section in my shul has panes of one-way glass in it. With brighter light on one

(JNS) The Israeli government demanded international action on Hezbollah for building
(Israel Hayom/JNS) Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned that any Israeli attack
(JNS) Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) warned that support for the
The first written record of the measles was presented by a Persian doctor who
(Courtesy of Englewood Health) Dr. Gross is board certified in family medicine and in
A 1999 survey conducted by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons found that
Parent-teacher conferences are a great opportunity to hear about your children’s
Parents can be frustrated by their children’s teachers. By their harsh tone of
Donny was having a blah day at school. As he was finishing up his work before the
The first time Nesanel Epstein tried his hand at fixing tallis strings, he
Convenience stores aren’t very convenient when you want something to eat and
My mother used to tell me when I received a gift or if someone did something nice
A few weeks ago, I received a call from a Realtor in Florida who got my name from a
In 2017, only 8 percent of homes in the United States were sold by owner. If you,
This past week, I had the great privilege of being in Israel with my wife and our
Israelis make less money. School is free in Israel. Israeli health care is free.
While I usually try to stay above the fray of partisan criticism, I was personally
To borrow from Shakespeare’s Mercutio: “A plague on both your houses.” That

We encounter Noach in this week’s parsha, who symbolizes an entity of rest (the root word being menucha), whose chief mission was to carry on the world in its already existing state. He is about bridging the gap of generations, not introducing chidush.

However, when analyzing the Book of Genesis, we must focus on creativity, for that is the backbone of perpetual existence. And therefore it’s important to take a look at last week’s parsha and see what’s the opposite of rest.

In last week’s parsha, the first two words of the Torah are “Bereishit bara.” The first thing (Bereishit) “is” creativity (briut). This idea comports with an awesome God Who created something from nothing, yesh m’ayin (see Ramban at the beginning of Genesis).

Two chidushim are then in order when discussing the blueprint that was used for this yesh m’ayin process, the Torah (Zohar Teruma 161b).

One can take the simple approach that this world is divided between the “learners” and the “workers” and stop there. After all, this is how the Torah presents the dichotomy between Yissachar and Zevulun, as the verse says (Deuteronomy 33:18), “Rejoice, Zevulun, in your going forth, and Yissachar, in your tents.” Yissachar is supported by Zevulun and Zevulun may happily go out to work.

Zevulun, besides having the workload, is also required to be “kovea itim l’Torah” (and who, like Yissachar, gets reward for talmud Torah even as he’s working or performing anything mundane if the purpose of all of his activities are so that he can learn).

What about Yissachar, though? What is expected of him? Is there a requirement within learning to achieve something greater than just full-time study?

The following chidush can be presented.

There’s a well-known Gemara (Shabbat 31a) that says, “When a person is led in for judgment [in the next world], the first two questions God asks are: “Nasata v’natata b’emunah—Did you transact your business honestly?” and “Kovata itim l’Torah—Did you fix times for the study of the Torah?”

The Gemara in Shabbat (that declares business dealings to be the first matter judged in heaven) seems to contradict another Gemara (Sanhedrin 7a) that says, “The first thing a person is judged on is his Torah.” Tosafot in Sanhedrin (s.v. elah) asks this question, to which he provides two answers.

I believe there’s a third answer to overcome the seeming contradiction between the two Gemaras, and it’s based on the terminology used in the Gemara Shabbat. The first question is “Nasata v’natata b’emunah,” which is conventionally translated to mean “Was your business done in good faith?” However, it could also be translated to mean “Was your ‘give and take’ done in earnest?” In actuality then, the first question in Gemara Shabbat is referring to Torah and aimed at the talmid chacham to probe as to whether his shakla v’tarya was done in earnest. Therefore, indeed the Gemara in Sanhedrin is correct, that one is first judged on his Torah, and the Gemara in Shabbat gives the parameters of that judgment, challenging the give and take of the talmid chacham.

A second chidush can touch upon a second level, a higher one, that the talmid chacham must strive for to call the Torah his own.The Beit Halevi, zt”l, has an important insight on the verse in Genesis (2:2) “Vayichal Elokim bayom hashvi’i melachto asher asah vayishbot bayom hashvi’i mikol melachto asher asah.—And on the seventh day, God completed the work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all the work that He had done.” He notes that the verse says God completed creation on the “seventh” (not sixth) day, implying that something was created on the seventh day as well. So he brings the midrash quoted by Rashi on this verse “What was the world still lacking? Rest. With the coming of Shabbat came (rest), and thus the work was completed and finished.”

The Beit Halevi explains that for the first six days, God was performing melacha, meaning He was creating something out of nothing. However, on Shabbat, a passive entity of rest came into being, a phenomenon that carried the world from that time into the future. Therefore, according to the Beit Halevi, the term melacha means something new, a chidush, something that was never there before.

Now, we need only go to a mishnah in Pirkei Avot to understand what is demanded from a talmid chacham and every Jew of Israel when it comes to their learning.

The mishnah in Avot (2:2) (matching the citation in Genesis (2:2)) says, “Rabban Gamliel, the son of Rabbi Judah HaNassi, would say… Kol Torah she’in imo melacha sofa betaila…—All Torah study that is not accompanied with work is destined to cease and to cause sin.”

Based on the Beit Halevi, melacha means something new, a chidush. Therefore, Rabban Gamliel is simply saying whoever’s Torah doesn’t have melacha, “chidush,” within it will be sofa betala, cease and further cause sin, for it may be said that this means one is not engaged enough in the Torah to avoid sin. Amazingly, Torah without chidush won’t survive (see Kinyan Hachag, Hamodia Periodical, October 8, 2014, page 15, “Interview with Rav Finkel, Rosh Yeshiva of Mir,” who explained that his grandfather, Rabbi Eliezer Yehuda Finkel, zt”l, would distribute money to anyone who proffered genuine chidushim).

My father noted another chidush, that the mishnah can be saying, “All Torah that has no melacha, namely, that has not been worked through, will in the end not last,” as one must work at the Torah and reach its innermost meaning.

Though Noach was a figure of passivity who bridged the gap of continued existence between generations, he did not highlight creativity that remains the theme of Genesis.

Creativity is the staple of the Creator and a path we should follow. Everyone has their own share in the Torah, a unique gift given to us, as we are “individuals” who comprise a nation.

By Steven Genack

 Steven Genack is an attorney and the former editor-in-chief of the Five Towns Far Rockaway News. He works in the kashrut division at the Orthodox Union and resides today in Passaic.