Thursday, October 06, 2022

Divrei Torah - JewishLink

Parshat Mishpatim: Shabbat Shekalim Responsibility

I have to thank my dear parents, may they rest in peace, for many things. I must especially thank them for having chosen to provide me with a yeshiva day school education.

This was not an obvious choice back in the 1940s, for few parents chose the day school option. Indeed, many of their friends advised


Parshat Yitro: The Maternal Influence

When I was young I was an avid reader of novels. As I’ve grown older, I have found myself more interested in good biographies. I especially appreciate those biographies of great men that try to focus on what exactly made them great. Particularly, I try to discover the roles played by father and mother in the formation of these


Parshat Yitro: Misplaced Judgment

In this week’s Parsha, Yitro, Moshe’s father in law, solves the problem of judicial congestion. Yitro, a foreigner from the land of Midyan, suggests that Moshe create a hierarchical systems of courts to alleviate Moshe’s need to judge the people alone.

Interestingly, according to some Biblical


Politics & Parsha: Yitro 5775: A People’s Court

It may well be—after Joseph’s famine relief planning agency—the next most crucial creation of a government bureaucracy in history. Yisro teaches Moses that he can’t do it alone. The lawgiver must step back, and allow other lesser, less expert judges to rule as well. That is one critical lesson. The other—that Moses was still the


“Don’t Forget the Tambourines!”

It is a familiar domestic scene, one that we have all experienced. The family is about to leave on a well-deserved long vacation. All the suitcases are packed and ready to go. Then, someone, usually the mother, shouts out: “Did we all remember everything? Once we get started, we’re not turning back!”


Parshat Bo: “Tell Me a Story”

Since back in early autumn, when we began reading the Book of Genesis in the synagogue, we have been reading one long story. It has been a very dramatic story, extending over many centuries. It began with the creation of man, and proceeded with the narrative of the transformation of a small family into a large nation.


Unnecessary Anger

In the spring of 1894, the Baltimore Orioles came to Boston to play a routine baseball game. What happened that day was anything but routine. The Orioles’ John McGraw got into a fight with the Boston third baseman. Within minutes all the players from both teams had joined in the brawl. The warfare quickly spread to the stands. Among the


Parshat Shemot: Sleepless Nights

Executive Vice President, Emeritus of the Orthodox Union

Can you sleep at night? There is so much trouble in the world. Violence, wars large and small, natural disasters, disease. We all personally know many who are suffering at this very moment. Some are friends and acquaintances living in plain sight.


Parshas Vayechi “Changing the World”

I’ve always been impressed by something my grandfather told me many years ago. I believe he quoted the following in the name of Rabbi Israel Salanter, the 19 th-century founder of the Mussar Movement, which advocated the perfection of our ethical behavior:

“When you’re young, you think


Yosef haTzaddik–a Message for Us All

Put yourself, for a moment, in Yosef’s place. You have just revealed your true identity to your brothers. An identity that for the past 22 years was totally irrelevant. No one cared. Not about who Yosef was or where he came from. Dreams? The idle thoughts of a teenager long grown up.

But now it all


Obligation and Responsibility

In one of the most moving monologues in the Bible, Yehuda stands before Yosef and takes complete responsibility for his brother Binyamin; he spares no effort to free him from prison, even risking his own life on behalf of his brother. His impassioned plea to Tzaphnat Paneiach–Yosef–demonstrates his complete devotion to his family and


Is Leisure Kosher?

The Jewish attitude to leisure is complex and reveals a fundamental divide over religion. The New York Times reported this summer that a Hasidic camp had ceased sports activities. If taken at face value, the article implies that Judaism, or at least the Satmar version, forbids any leisure activity. Is this an accurate depiction of

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