Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Divrei Torah

Fantastic Dirshu Program for Bachurim Over Bein Hazmanim

The Situation

We are living through unprecedented times. While most of us imagined that by the time summer vacation 2020 was finally here, corona would be a thing of the past and life would be back to normal, the truth is unfortunately not that way at all. At this point in time,


Should Religious People ‘Believe’ in Humanity

The opening verse of parshat Shoftim depicts the formation of a national and local judicial system. Judges are commanded to maintain impartiality and render truthful and accurate verdicts—“mishpat tzedek.” Although the verse profiles the narrow activities of a formal beit din, our Chazal understood this verse (and a parallel


An ‘Accident’ Through Divine Guidance

When I was in 12th grade, I applied to a post-high school yeshiva in Eretz Yisrael. Many of my friends applied to the same place and I was looking forward to a great year. But…I received a letter from the yeshiva saying, “Thank you for applying to our yeshiva. Being that we have numerous applicants and limited space, we cannot accept


Again and Again and Again

All the time. OK, maybe not all time. A Jewish king is required to keep a sefer Torah with him—around the clock, and the Gemara (Sanhedrin 21b) even considered that perhaps he must even keep it with him in the bathroom, but in the final analysis concluded that based on the verse “and it should be with him and he should read from it”


Shoftim—A Misplaced War

It is something of a puzzle that although parshat Shoftim precedes parshat Ki Teitzei, the opening words of Ki Teitzei appear in parshat Shoftim. In the middle of the sixth alyiah of Shoftim (20:1) there appear the phrase words: “כִּֽי־תֵצֵ֨א לַמִּלְחָמָ֜ה עַל־אֹיְבֶ֗יךָ” The verses that follow


The Tremendous Importance of Studying the Zohar

(Courtesy of Matok Midvash) In the holy books of the great sages of Israel, we find countless praises for one who immerses in the study of the holy Zohar, and the incredible spiritual power of such study. While the Zohar is usually associated with deeply esoteric and mystical matters, in reality, more than half of its content deals with


Making Up for Lost Torah Readings

This past Shabbat, the Ohr Saadya community began the project of making up the parshiyot that were missed from the weekly kriyat haTorah while shuls were closed. This took place in a special Shabbat morning minyan put together for this purpose, made up of volunteers who were excited to participate in this special opportunity. It was an


Keeping Our Children Close

I was recently listening to a shiur by noted speaker, Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein, founder of Ohr Na’ava. When he was young, his father was a traveling salesman who would only come home from work on Friday. His father was exhausted from a long week, but he had his priorities! When little Zecharia and his brothers came home from yeshiva on


The Ways of Peace

Parshat Re’eh

Throughout the seven haftarot of consolation that follow Tish’a B’Av, the navi Yeshayahu presents us with descriptions of the final redemption and return to our land. It is difficult for us who live through today’s events to ignore the powerful parallels between the prophet’s



Unkelos translates the word re’eh as chazi, reminding one of the word chazon, the vision of Yeshayahu. When I think of vision, I think of my uncle, Rabbi Genack, who upon introducing the then running for office Bill Clinton, referenced the words in proverbs: “Without vision, you will perish.” This was in response to Bush Sr.’s now


New Inner Vision Glasses for Life: Reflections on Parshat Re’eh

“See, this day I set before you blessing and curse;

The blessing that you will hear…

and the curse, if you will not hear…”

The title of the weekly Torah portion usually epitomizes its content. Moshe Rabbeinu in his fiery


Is Kosher Food Healthier? Does It Matter?

Parshat Re’eh reviews Jewish dietary laws, supplying a sweeping list of banned foods. It catalogues kosher and non-kosher animals, bans the drinking of blood, mentions the prohibition of mixing meat and milk, and also references the procedure of shechita. These comprehensive details regulate the entire experience of eating and