Friday, May 20, 2022

Divrei Torah - JewishLink

Iyar: A Month Like No Other

Iyar is the only month where the religious experience today is the opposite of what it was designated to be in Biblical times.

Iyar in the Torah was designated as a month of total anticipation and elation as we count up to the receiving of the Torah. The Sefer HaChinuch tells us that each day we count


Rabbi Sacks on Abortion

With the U.S. Supreme Court reconsidering federal law on abortion, we would do well to consider the views of great Jewish thinkers who have addressed the topic. Among leading halachic scholars, Rav Moshe Feinstein and Rav Eliezer Waldenberg debate whether abortion consitutes murder (Iggerot Moshe Choshen Mishpat II:69; Tzitz Eliezer


Learning the Lessons of Lag B’Omer

Ask the average yeshiva student what Sefirat HaOmer is all about. What do you think you will hear in reply? Typically, they will tell you that Sefirat HaOmer means “you can’t...” “You can’t shave. You can’t get a haircut. You can’t listen to live music. You can’t attend a wedding.” They also know that you have to make the


Heightening Holiness

At first blush, Parshat Emor’s organization seems odd. The mixture of topics seem unrelated. Emor begins with laws concerning those people for whom kohanim can and cannot mourn and can and cannot marry. The Torah then mentions physical disfigurations preventing kohanim from serving publicly, offers instructions concerning the sanctity of


What Would Rav Avrohom Genechovsky, z”l Do?

The gematria of middah is 49. This is very logical, as it’s a person’s middot that determines whether he is on the 49th level of tumah or tahara. The fact that the 49 notion falls out on Sefirat HaOmer is very logical based on an idea expressed by Rabbi Biderman, shlita. He says that the middle mitzvah in the Torah is Sefirat HaOmer, a


Patience: More Than Just a Virtue

Toward the end of this week’s parsha we read about the incident with the “mekalel,” the person who blasphemed Hashem and whose punishment was his loss of life.

The Midrash (Vayikra Rabbah 32:3) gives the background story, the antecedent leading up to this terrible crime. This person wanted to


The Value of an Explanatory Prayer Service

This past Shabbat (April 30, 2022) I had the privilege to lead a newly opened explanatory prayer service at Congregation Beth Aaron in Teaneck, New Jersey. The service is dedicated to the memory of Andy Dimond, who passed away last year. Raised in a largely secular Jewish family, Andy became observant in his adulthood and was


Derech Eretz Kadmah LaTorah: Don’t Neglect Others

The period between Passover and Shavuot is called Sefirat HaOmer, the counting of the Omer offering, which was a particular sacrifice offered when the Beit HaMikdash (the Holy Temple) stood centuries ago. To this day, each night, commencing from the second night of Passover until the night prior to Shavuot, we recite a bracha and count the


The Current Daf Yomi on Abortion

The whole tractate studied right now throughout the world, Yevamot, deals with the perpetuation of the lineage of every man, giving every woman the opportunity to bear a child even if her husband dies at a young age, by being offered the opportunity to marry the dead brother’s brother, or to reject the offer (Deuteronomy 25: 5-6). The


Loss Splitting in Jewish Law: A COVID-19 Example


Economic losses are an inescapable part of commercial life. Suppose a train cancellation leaves you stranded at Penn Station and you have to splurge on an Uber to get home. Or a babysitter cancels at the last minute, causing you to stay home and lose a day of work. Or a


Maintaining Our Gift of Holiness

In the 1700s, Count Valentin Pototski (Potocki), a Polish nobleman, shocked his family and the Roman Catholic Church by converting to Judaism. He was known as Avraham ben Avraham, the Ger Tzedek (righteous convert). The Roman Catholic Church used all its power to force him to renounce his conversion to Judaism. He would not, so they


And Counting

In Parshat Kedoshim we read of the mitzvah of orlah: When we plant a fruit tree, we may not eat its fruits for the first three years. In the fourth year, the fruits are kodesh hilulim laHashem and they must be eaten in Jerusalem in the time of the Holy Temple, with halachot similar to those governing the fruits of ma’aser sheini (second

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