Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Divrei Torah

The Crowning Glory of Shabbos

After Maariv on Motzei Shabbos, someone next to me said, “Oh good! Only six more days to Shabbos!” I thought that was so refreshing! A similar perspective comes from Rabbi Effy Buchwald, founder of NJOP. He runs a beginner’s program called “Turn your Friday night into Shabbat.” On the other hand, many people can’t wait until


Getting Our Money’s Worth

This week’s parsha discusses the idea of donations: “Take from yourselves an offering for the Lord; every generous-hearted person shall bring it—Hashem’s offering: gold, silver, and copper.” Rabbeinu Bachya in the beginning of the parsha discusses the idea of tzedakah, describing how while on one hand a part of us wants to refrain


How a Fly Changed History

In last week’s parsha, we read that a census would be taken by having the Jewish people donate a half shekel each. This would prevent a plague from taking place (Shemot 30:12.) Rashi explained that actually counting people, such as in the days of King David, would cause the influence of an evil eye to descend upon the people and


Paris Siyum on Brachos: Torah Never Stops, No Matter What

As someone who has covered many siyumim in various locations around the globe, I have been granted a unique bird’s-eye view into the unparalleled growth that has taken place from the previous Siyum Hashas cycle seven and half years ago to this one. But while there has been Torah growth everywhere, a revolution has just


R' Jachter: May We Conduct a Get Via Video-Conference?

An Issue Raised in 1990 and 2020

Many halachic issues have been raised during the current crisis. In one highly sensitive situation that faced our Beit Din (the Israeli Rabbinate recognized Beth Din of Elizabeth), a request was made for the husband to appoint a scribe, witnesses and agent via videoconferencing.

I responded that I raised the


A Purifying Process

Two weeks ago, I wrote about a good friend with a long-time employee who left my friend’s family business, taking all the customers with him. It was devastating, but my friend stayed amazingly calm. After Shabbos, he wrote me a post-script, listing a few corrections and wonderful insights.

“For the


Where Am I?

“And the people saw that Moshe tarried in coming down from the mountain. And they gathered around Aaron and said to him: ‘Arise, and make for us a god, which will go before us, for this man Moshe who took us up from the land of Egypt, we know not what has become of him.” (Shemot 32:1)

The entire


Bearing Greatness

Einstein posited, “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” In this parsha we find an anomaly to Einstein’s aphorism. Indeed, in Ki Tisa, every Jew was counted through the permissible means of taking a machatzis hashekel, and every Jew counts. The reason for the anomaly relates to the


Purim: The Restoration

The Purim miracle was a “milestone moment” in Jewish history, as a nation, faced with almost certain annihilation, was rescued by Divine intervention. Unlike the Exodus from Egypt, the Purim experience unfolded without overt Divine involvement. It reminded us that God always manages history—sometimes in a manifest fashion while other


Let’s Make Some Noise

The Torah commands us to erase the memory of Amalek. The nation of Amalek did not fight the Israelites in a conventional manner. Normally, when countries go to war, they have their professional soldiers fight each other. They do not act dishonorably and exclusively target unarmed civilian populations. Amalek was different. Amalek


Exploring Purim in Today’s World

Purim is a unique and confusing chag in several aspects. First, why is a joyous holiday named after such a dangerous and scary event like the lots Haman cast rather than a reference to the Jews’ ultimate victory? By the end of the story, the casting of lots isn’t even a central element of the story. Another strikingly unique element of


The Missing Moshe

“Now, if You would, please forgive their sin. If not, You can blot me out from the book that You have written.” (Shemot 32:32)

Moshe’s name is not mentioned explicitly in Parshat Tetzaveh. He is referred to only with the pronoun “you.” After the sin of the Golden Calf, when the Jewish people