Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Divrei Torah

Yeshivat HaKotel Presents Unique Global Achdus Lerning Experience This Sunday

(Courtesy of Yeshivat HaKotel) An unprecedented worldwide achdut learning experience will take place on Rosh Chodesh Sivan (May 24) at Yeshivat Hakotel.

For the first time in Jewish history, on the date when the Jewish people first arrived unified at the foot of Har Sinai, four Israeli chief


Who’s Your Daddy?

It almost seems obvious what the definition of a “father” is. However, in this week’s parsha we see a broader definition of this term.

The pasuk says, “And these are the offsprings of Aharon and Moshe on the day that Hashem spoke to Moshe at Har Sinai; And these are the names of the children of


Kabbalas HaTorah Will Look Different This Year

(Courtesy of Daf Hashavua) The Yom Tov of Shavuos. The acceptance of the Torah. Not merely a remembrance of what was, but an actual giving of the Torah to those people who study it and hold it dear. Shavuos has always come, no matter where and how the Yidden found themselves. It has come during times of great joy,


Working Toward a New Normal

When I was learning in yeshiva in Eretz Yisrael as a young man, I attended the world-famous Aish Discovery Program. Despite my growing up with a yeshiva background, it was an eye-opening experience. It was three full days of seminars and exercises with mind-blowing, enriching ideas to digest. One of the closing exercises was to write a


Corona Diary #8: Shemitah Lessons During Corona

In the modern industrialized world, the mitzvah of shemitah may seem a bit remote with little relevance for our daily urbanized lives. Interestingly, life in Israel has restored the practical relevance of shemitah. In the latter part of the 19th century, when Jewish communities first organized in Israel, shemitah presented an almost unconquerable challenge. Nascent



Imagine the life of those who spend their daily hours working vigorously in their farms, rain, snow or shine, investing an immense amount of time and energy to ensure that their field develops rich and bountiful produce so that they can have food for themselves and their loved ones. For many years they plow, plant, sow and reap, with


The Kol Torah With Accountability Reverberates as Lomdei Torah Persevere With Tremendous Mesiras Nefesh Amid COVID-19

Klal Yisrael is magnificent! In the chaos of the COVID-19 mageifa they are showing their love of Hashem and His Torah, in unprecedented ways.

With communities around the world under lockdown and battei medrash closed, Yidden are finding all kinds of innovative ways to learn and focus on


How Does Bentching Gomel Apply to Corona?

We bentch Gomel (recite the “Gomel” blessing) on being saved from a dangerous situation. How does that apply to the coronavirus? Arguably, everyone in the world is in a potentially life-threatening situation, those in the New York region and above the age of 65 even more so. Additionally, we are now in some form of quarantine. When we


The Plague That Ended on Lag B’Omer

The Gemara (Yevamot 61b) explains that, tragically, in the times of Rabbi Akiva, approximately 24,000 of his students died of a plague during the period of Sefirat HaOmer. Only five of his students reportedly survived. They were R’ Meir, R’ Yehuda, R’ Yosi, R’ Shimon Bar Yochai and R’ Elazar Ben Shamua. Rav Nachman, a later Gemara


Insights Into the Word ‘Cohein’

1. We were not alone in using the word “cohein” for a priest or leader. This word had this meaning in other religions and societies as well. This is evident from many places in Tanach: e.g., Malkitzedek (Gen. 14:18, “chohein le-keil elyon,”), Poti Fera (Gen. 41:45; “cohein on”), Gen. 47:26 referring to Egyptian priests (“admat ha-cohanim”), Yitro (Ex.


Lag B’Omer: The Radiance of Torah Learning

When I lived in Eretz Yisrael, every year on the morning after Lag B’Omer, my apartment in Yerushalayim smelled like smoke from all the bonfires that burned the night before. I would still feel the heat of the bonfires near the forest when I rode the Egged bus in Har Nof in the morning. What’s the big deal about bonfires on Lag


Corona Diary #6: Empty Cemeteries and Jewish Sovereignty

I just returned from the Gush Etzion cemetery having attended a very unusual Yom Hazikaron ceremony. It was a discouraging but also triumphant experience. Let me explain.

My family often refers to me as a crybaby—and they are right. When I witness an emotionally poignant situation, I find it difficult