Parashat Re’eh challenges us to shoulder the great burden of human free will: “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; a blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord... and a curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord.” We sometimes take the concept of human free will for granted, but for
Last Thursday I told my kids I was going to the Bike4Chai event. “What? You are going to bike over 100 miles? How are you going to do so without having prepared?” they asked. “No, I am not biking,’’ I replied. “I’m going to the finish line to greet the riders and show my support for completing their 108-mile ride.” Bike4Chai
Thousands of feet up in freefall, traveling over 100 miles an hour, Yosef Goodman had only seconds to make a decision. His parachute had become tangled in his commander’s chute above him, preventing both of their parachutes from opening. They were probably 20 seconds away from certain death, and none of the backup measures were working.
As you are disembarking from an El Al flight, you notice that the friendly neighbor who sat next to you has left the plane and forgotten his bag under his seat. You pick it up and run after him. But you are blocked by nine gentlemen who beg you to complete a minyan for Mincha. Does your friend lose his bag or do the gentlemen lose their minyan? The
One of the topics in our parsha is that of the “meisit”—a person who attempts to convince others to serve “other Gods” (13:7). The torah (v. 9, with Rashi’s commentary) views such a person with an overwhelming amount of harshness: “don’t love him” (the great principle of “love your fellow as yourself” does not apply to
It was the night of Tisha B’Av, Judaism’s most somber holiday, when I was in shul and spotted Josh’s pillow.
It’s not unusual for someone to bring a pillow to prayer that night, because the prevailing custom is to sit on the floor and, well, the floor is hard.
In Parshat Shoftim we read about the individual who was preparing for battle. In describing such a person the Torah writes, “When you do battle with your enemies, let your heart not be faint, do not be afraid, do not panic and do not be broken...” (Devarim 20:3). Instead, this individual was admonished to have no fear, “... for
It was a warm intimate gathering. No fanfare, no giant seudah, no major speaker, no live music, but last week’s meeting in the Vizhnitz beis midrash in Monsey was a prototype of the deep, inseparable bond that exists between lomdei Dirshu and the organization that has transformed the life of the lomdim. As one Dirshu
The recent decision to discontinue selling Ben and Jerry’s ice cream in selected areas of Israel has roused the Jewish world, supporters of Israel, and opponents of economic boycotting. Fortunately, the actual ramifications of this boycott are limited, or even negligible. As Israel’s economic influence continues to grow, the
Twice in my life I experienced an earthquake. The first time I was a young boy living in an apartment building in Washington Heights, New York City. I can still picture my bedroom shaking, the shelves rattling and the dishes in the cabinets clanking. Our apartment building was on a tall cliff, so I was afraid the whole building would
Our sedra is famously known as “Parshat Eretz Yisrael.” While virtually every sedra in the Torah stresses the centrality of Israel, Ekev makes it crystal clear that God, Torah and Eretz Yisrael form the three-legged stool upon which the Jewish people eternally rests.
Yet there are numerous other
Of the many life cycles that we mark, the yahrzeit is probably the one that is most filled with bittersweet emotions. “Yahrzeit” is a Yiddish word that roughly translates into “that time of year.” We typically commemorate the yearly anniversary of the death of a loved one by lighting a special all-day candle, observing the day with