“Let the stranger praise you, but not your own mouth.” This proverb from Mishlei implies that often, outsiders are better able to distill the virtues which we ourselves take for granted. Ironically, it is, oftentimes, hateful and antisemitic slander which reminds us of the deeper qualities of Jewish identity.
Throughout parshat Naso, we find numerous intimations to one of Judaism’s most fundamental principles: the distinctiveness and individuality of each person. Chazal teaches that every person is required to say, “for me the world was created,” (Sanhedrin 4:5). Indeed, the word “adam” has no plural form, for each person is unique.
Last week was the first yahrzeit of Rabbi Uri Zohar, who had been a major celebrity in Eretz Yisrael as an actor, comedian and film producer. When he was in his forties, he gave it all up to become a shomer Torah u’mitzvos! His embracing of Torah and mitzvos was a major shock to Israeli secular society, as he was considered an icon in
In parshat Naso, we can learn the power of taking a step back. While it may seem strange, to move forward and accomplish goals, we need to take steps backward first. We need to make mistakes to grow and take a moment to stop and think, instead of acting impulsively. We can learn this action of taking a step back and setting boundaries from
There is a constant quandary in how we distribute our charitable funds: There are so many charities before us! Which do we support first? A work printed a number of years ago in Yerushalayim by Rabbi Avrohom Moshe Zemmel, entitled “Ahavas Tzedakah,” provides us with a number of answers.
(Courtesy of OU) Over 100 learners from the Upper West Side and the broader New York area celebrated the completion of Maseches Sotah recently at a siyum hosted by the Orthodox Union’s Torah Initiatives at Young Israel of the West Side.
There’s a fascinating midrash that shows us the extent of going out of one’s way to facilitate and enhance peace amongst people: There was once a married woman who attended Rebbi Meir’s midrash lecture on Shabbat night, but by the time it was over and she came home, it was quite late. Her husband—very upset at her tardiness—asked
There is a deep lesson in the fact that there is no English equivalent of the word mechutanim. Mechutanim are the parents of your son- or daughter-in-law (mechutan is the male part of the mechutanim). When your child marries, you gain not only a son or daughter but also a set of corresponding parents who become your mechutanim,
It was a day that would go down in history. The Jewish people were all gathered at Mt. Sinai. Millions of people—men, women and children—all stood together at the foot of the mountain. Huge claps of thunder and bolts of lightning made the very earth shake. The mountain seemed like it was on fire. The people were scared but happy. It was
Human progress is always cumulative. Every generation builds upon the accomplishments of the past and advances the human condition. By definition, each generation enjoys an improved state of affairs over previous ones.
However, progress and modernity also foster arrogance. We haughtily look back
In summer camp, I loved playing capture the flag. Each team had to hide its flag and protect it from being captured by their opponent. Whoever caught the other team’s flag won. To me, the flag was just an objective of the team, the equivalent of a ball. But flags do have a deeper meaning. They usually represent a country or sometimes a
It is the practice throughout Klal Yisroel to wait to daven Maariv on Shavuos until it is certainly dark. This means that we daven Maariv after tzais hakochavim, stars coming out, either 42, 50, 60 or 72 minutes past sundown. The Mishna Berurah rules conclusively in this way (494:1) and it has become the accepted custom in Klal