Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Divrei Torah - JewishLink

The Chazir Is Not Kosher

Editor's note: This series is reprinted with permission from “Insights & Attitudes: Torah Essays on Fundamental Halachic and Hashkafic Issues,” a publication of TorahWeb.org. The book contains multiple articles, organized by parsha, by Rabbi Hershel Schachter and Rabbi Mayer Twersky.

The Torah tells us that a kosher animal is one which has


How to Surround Ourselves With the Fragrance of Gan Eden

As a boy, I used to get a lot of mosquito bites in the summer. I asked my mother why I get so many mosquito bites, while others hardly get any. “Because you smell so sweet, the mosquitoes like you better!” she replied.

Parshas Toldos has a great lesson about a sweet scent. Yaakov disguised himself as Eisav by wearing Eisav’s special coat to fool Yitzchak


How We Get There

אָמַר לָהֶם (רַבָּן יוֹחָנָן בֶּן זַכַּאי), צְאוּ וּרְאוּ אֵיזוֹהִי דֶרֶךְ יְשָׁרָה שֶׁיִּדְבַּק בָּהּ הָאָדָם?

רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר אוֹמֵר, עַיִן טוֹבָה. רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אוֹמֵר, חָבֵר טוֹב. רַבִּי


Childlike Sincerity

Festive gatherings at 770 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Chabad-Lubavitch world headquarters are, and have always been, lively, meaningful and full of holy excitement. Sometimes, the thousands of men present wearing long black kapotehs and the highly charged atmosphere create a bit of a confusing hullabaloo. Once, for a moment, a young boy got mixed up in


Nedarim 25: Snakes on a Plane

I swear, I must have written a million articles for The Link already! OK, in reality far fewer, but such exaggeration is common and Halacha recognizes it as such. If someone says “This is prohibited to me if I didn’t see on that road like those who left Egypt,” it doesn’t matter that he didn’t technically see sixty myriads, because it is understood


Zera Shimshon on Parshas Toldos

וְאֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדֹת יִצְחָק בֶּן־אַבְרָהָם אַבְרָהָם הוֹלִיד אֶת־יִצְחָק׃

“And these are the generations of Yitzchok, the son of Avraham, Avraham begot Yitzchok.” (Bereishis 25:19)

On this pasuk, the midrash (Midrash Rabbah 63:1) comments, “And these are the generations of Yitzchak


Planning for Continuity

In last week’s parsha of Chayei Sarah, one of the themes we encounter is how Avraham plans for the continuity of the Jewish people through his son, Yitzchak. The haftorah also deals with how King David planned for the continuity of his kingdom through his son, Shlomo.

Avraham took pains to ensure that his son, Yitzchak, would get married to the right sort of


The Future Is Now

Parshat Toldot is very perplexing: How could Esau sell his birthright for a pot of lentil stew? How could Yitzhak be oblivious to Esau’s faults? How could Yitzhak love Esau as the Torah says because the game was in his mouth? Why did Rivka resort to deception and not simply discuss matters with her husband?

The answer may lie in the verse concerning


Being Good Enough

Parshat Toldot introduces a new phase in Sefer Bereishit and in the lives of our avot and imahot. Beginning with our parsha, we are witness to episodes of intra-family tension and conflict. While there was a bit of tension between Yitzchak/Yishmael and Hagar/Sarah, those conflicts disappeared from the text with little overall impact.

Things, however, certainly


Mezuzah for a Storage Room

Question: I am moving into an apartment and want to know whether the storage room (in the building’s basement) requires a mezuzah.

Answer: We will start with the basic question — whether a room used for storage is considered “beitecha” (your home — see Devarim 6:9). The Gemara (Yoma 11a and b) cites conflicting opinions about whether various


Two Trepidations

Twice in his life Yitzchak Avinu trembled with great trepidation. The midrash (Bereishit Rabbah 67b) tells us that the first time was at the Akedah and the second was when he realized that he blessed Yaakov Avinu thinking it was Eisav. The midrash wonders, which of the two was with greater intensity? The midrash answers, when Yitzchak Avinu realized that he blessed the


The Burden of God’s Words

The very opening of sefer Malachi that we are privileged to read this Shabbat makes it clear why Chazal chose this perek, as the haftarah for parshat Toledot. Just as the Torah reading describes the essential differences between Eisav and his twin brother, Ya’akov and, while doing so, includes Hashem’s choice of Ya’akov over his twin to carry on the mission that

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