Friday, August 06, 2021

Divrei Torah - JewishLink

Matot: The Promise of Torah

It is almost as if Parshat Matot is trying to be ironic. We read in the preceding parsha about Tzelofchad’s daughters’ desire and effort to inherit a portion of the Land of Israel. In Matot we read how two tribes decided that the recently conquered Transjordan territory was quite sufficient for their tastes. They do not want to pass


When the Means Gets Mean

B’nei Gad v’Reuvain asked Moshe to settle in a land that would help their livestock thrive. They said, we shall build “pens for the flock...and cities for our children” (32:16). Usually, what is most important and a priority to a person is mentioned first, and in fact, Rashi points out that the fact that they mentioned the need for


Fasting, Health Problems, Halacha and Common Sense

Yoma 73b, 79a

Sitting next to my father, the rabbi, on the synagogue dais on Yom Kippur morning, I wondered how long I could last before breaking my fast. The lunch bag my mother gave me to bring to shul seemed to call out to me from the rabbi’s office where I had left it. By 10 a.m. I could stand it


Leading Up to Tisha B’Av

I have the privilege of teaching a few halachot in between Mincha and Maariv each day, and lately we have been reviewing the laws of the Three Weeks leading up to Tisha B’Av. Most people are familiar with the basic restrictions, but there are some contemporary questions that are fascinating. For example, when does the obligation for the



Dov and Ayala, two friends, were walking home from school when it started to rain.

They were wearing short sleeves and they didn’t even have a sweatshirt. The rain was getting harder and harder when they passed a girl from the other class named Limor. Her house was right around the corner, but Ayala


A Chosen People in a Democratic World

This July 4th weekend Americans will celebrate their Independence Day. This annual event commemorates the establishment of the “city upon the hill”—the first modern experiment of democracy. Arguably, the 20th century was the greatest era for democracy, as great democracies allied together to defeat two violent enemies of


The Deeper Meaning of Tefilat Musaf

As Parshat Pinchas discusses the special sacrifices offered in the Temple on the holidays, this week provides us with an opportunity to discuss their biblical meaning.

The daily korban tzibur (communal sacrifice) was simply one lamb in the morning and one lamb in the evening (Bamidbar 28:3-4), while two


The Importance of Maintaining Our Kedusha

A friend of mine took on the responsibility of helping out two boys whose father had passed away. About two years ago, he asked me if I knew someone who had tickets to a professional baseball game. I approached my friend Harry as I thought he might help. “I don’t have season tickets, but my company sometimes has tickets, so let me


Mitzvot on Motorcycles

Susan Matuson, a 78-year-old woman, just had a very difficult year. Aside from having to deal with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and general health problems, her cardiologist convinced her that it was time to undergo a serious heart procedure that she had been putting off. When she pulled through and


Haters Gonna Hate

I remember hearing a humorous story from R’ Ely Allen that went something like this: A father and son were once traveling together but they only had one donkey to ride upon. So the son rode on a donkey while the father walked alongside it. Along their way they bumped into someone who questioned the son: How can you sit on the donkey and


In Gratitude: A Few Thoughts About Birkat HaGomel

About two months ago, my wife, my daughter and I were sideswiped by another car on the Saw Mill River Parkway. Thank God, no one was hurt, but our car was totaled. Needless to say, we were pretty shaken up by the experience.

The next day, before I even called our insurance company to report a


Mr. Clean

“Pinchas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, hath turned My wrath away from the children of Israel, in that he was very jealous for My sake among them, so that I consumed not the children of Israel in My jealousy” Bamidbar 25:11.

Prologue: Settled in Shittim, 24,000 Jewish people were

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