Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Divrei Torah

The Secret of the Success of Hacham Yitzhak Yosef

A magnificent portrayal of Hacham Yitzhak Yosef appears in the 22 Kislev edition of Mishpacha magazine. The essay describes the fine success enjoyed by Rav Yitzhak Yosef in his first seven years as the Rishon L’Tzion/Sephardic Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel.

The success is evident from the range of


Redemption Through Emunah

To enter the White House, you need permission from your member of Congress and an appointment several months in advance to get the security clearance required. Even in our own shuls nowadays, there’s often a security guard and code-locked doors due to increased anti-Semitic attacks. In Eretz Yisrael, all holy sites, bus stations and malls


Making the Leader Into a Leader

Hashem tells Moshe Rabbeinu to speak to Pharaoh in order to have the Jewish people freed from bondage. Moshe, however, responded, “If the Jewish people did not listen to me, how will Pharoah listen to me, for after all, I am of uncircumcised [i.e., closed] lips” (Shemot 6:12). What does this expression of “closed lips” mean? The


Modern Ultra-Orthodox Jews Who Join Partnership Minyanim

Moshe’s initial attempt to liberate the Jews was ridiculed by Pharoah and ultimately scorned by his own people. As Parshat Vaera commences, Moshe, seeking to galvanize the spirit of the Jews, delivers four redemptive expressions, referred to as the four terms or four “languages” of Redemption. Instead of describing the redemption in


Mitzvot on Motorcycles

Little Gavi was born 10 weeks prematurely. His was a planned adoption. The baby had to be fed and mother’s milk was the optimal choice of nutrition. Along came Alyssa Marko, a member of the adopted mother’s synagogue, to the rescue. Alyssa, a member of both the Sirens and the Chai Riders Motorcycle clubs, hopped on her


The Current Challenge: The Battle for Our Freedom

We tend to read the Book of Shemot and ignore this fact. It is easier to imagine Am Yisrael who wish to be free being held back by the evil Pharaoh who does not allow them to leave. But the Torah does not ignore the following unfortunate detail: Even amongst Am Yisrael there were problems and doubt. They didn’t quite stand behind Moshe.



אולפן עברית

Learn the words below to figure out the joke:

Nice - נֶחְמָד

reality - רֵיאָלֵטִי

Ice skating - הַחֶלְקָה עַל


We All Have Starring Roles

This past week I was blessed to be able to visit Eretz Yisrael. I went to Kever Rochel and then davened at the Me’aras Hamachpela (Tomb of the Patriarchs). I hadn’t been at the Me’aras Hamachpela in 20 years. It was a very moving experience. We then went back to Yerushalayim and davened Maariv at the Kotel! Davening by Mama Rochel,


The Decision

The birth of Moshe represents a turning point of the Jewish saga in Egypt. This would-be savior is arrived as the Jewish slaves are being mercilessly crushed by Egyptian oppression. Pharo had legislated that all Jewish infants be flung into the Nile river and delivered to their inevitable death; Egyptian discrimination had begotten slavery


Powerless People

The story of our people begins with resistance. Resistance against tyranny, resistance against injustice and perhaps most profoundly, resistance against allegations of inferiority.

Sefer Shemot begins by listing the sons of Yaakov, their fruitfulness in the Land of Egypt, and then without skipping a beat


Good Ga’avah

Last week we discussed the trait of ga’avah (haughtiness) as being a potential impediment to having achdut. The desire and feeling of being greater than another Jew can easily cause more than just a distance, and even possible discord. It can be difficult for someone with ga’avah to unify with other Jews since he is “above them.”


The Dirshu Siyum HaShas at Tel Aviv’s Yad Eliyahu

I waited for the moment when every seat in the gigantic arena at Yad Eliyahu would be full, knowing that the sight of thousands of bnei Torah celebrating the Siyum HaShas in loving achdus was not something you see every day. I wasn’t disappointed. Black and white in every section of the arena. Here and there, I could see