Thursday, August 06, 2020

Divrei Torah

On Prayer

Va’etchanan brings to mind the prayer-like figures, “seeped in the word chanan,” like Chana and Chanina ben Dosa who were so famously known for their deep supplications. In this parsha, however, it is Moshe who depicts his pleas on behalf of the children of Israel, prayers that were likely enshrined in thoughtfulness and


Corona Diary #12: Tisha B’Av and Corona

It is that “time” again. The entire world is mired in an international health crisis that doesn’t distinguish between Jew and non-Jew: The virus impacts and infects everyone alike. Not only are our health vulnerabilities equivalent, but, ultimately, our fates are interwoven. This pandemic can only be controlled or managed if


The Three Weeks

The Three Weeks are always a time for introspection, and COVID-19 makes this year an even more perfect opportunity. COVID-19 hit the observant Jewish community very hard in terms of loss of life, and has made a significant continuing impact on Jewish communal life. Some have asked what long-term lessons can we derive from this year’s


Tisha B’Av: Successfully Battling the Yetzer Hara

There was a video clip circulating last year about a pack of foxes running around the Temple Mount. I can’t vouch for the authenticity of this clip, but it reminds me of multiple cases where foxes are mentioned in association with the time period of the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash

There’s a


Who Me? Yes, You.

Could it be?

One can learn the lessons in the Chumash, all the details that stress character improvement as stated in the breadth of our literature, but yet on some level believe “that doesn’t apply to me.” This is not a new phenomenon. Shlomo Hamlech already said in a number of places in Mishlei,


Should the COVID Lockdown Have Changed Me?

QUESTION: We are hopeful that things are improving regarding the COVID-19 virus now that there is a loosening of sheltering in place. We have been quarantined for close to three months and now that I am coming out, I am coming out with some trepidation. Did I gain anything from this social exile? What did I learn? What should I have


A Minyan on Har HaBayit?

Last year, I wrote an article for this paper on my experience being on Har HaBayit on 17 Tammuz and Tisha B’Av, and the loss I felt not being there this past year. (You can read the article at https://jewishlink.news/features/32756-stop-crying-start-building.)


New Dirshu Program for Bachurei Yeshivos Starting This Rosh Chodesh Av

‘Bezechus HaTorah’ program will provide bachurim with a unique opportunity.

We are living in unprecedented times! Since Purim, many of our holy yeshivos have not been functioning regularly. Although, baruch Hashem, in some places throughout America there has been great improvement,


Looking Forward to the Original Days of Greatness

Two years ago, I was in Eretz Yisrael the week before Parshas Masei. I took my son, Naftoli, for a jeep ride and tour of the Judean Desert. Our veteran tour guide, Benzie, drove us over the dunes to the top of a hill. The view was breathtaking. “Look below,’’ said Bentzie, “and you’ll see the city of Yericho and beyond that the


The Prison of ‘Public Perception’

It never ends!! If it’s not one thing, it’s another. At the tail end of his life, having weathered 40 years of complaints, rebellions and near-disasters, Moshe had every reason to expect a tranquil conclusion to his legendary career. Having appointed his successor and eased the Jewish people to the border of Israel, he can now focus on


Every Child Is Valuable

In Bamidbar (Chapter 26) we are given a breakdown of the population of each tribe that was counted in the census after the plague. The population of the tribe of Dan was 64,400 while the population of the tribe of Benjamin (Binyamin) was noted to be 45,600. This means that the tribe of Dan was more than a third larger than the


Parshat Bilaam: The Book That Moshe Rabbeinu Wanted to Write

Chazal in Bava Batra tells us that Moses wrote his book, the book of Job and “Parshat Bilaam.” That Moshe wrote (down) the Torah is stated explicitly in the Torah. Writing the Book of Job, while seemingly offhand and odd-sounding, does make sense in the context of Moses’ career of struggle with himself, his people (including his