Thursday, July 02, 2020

Divrei Torah

Keeping the Torah on One Foot

As the COVID-19 situation continues, we are charting new territory. Many are coping with loss and others are trying to heal. Some are home all alone and have difficulty accessing food and provisions they need, in addition to having feelings of loneliness. Others who are blessed to be healthy still have their challenges. While working from


Can We Make Up Our Missed Torah Readings?

Most of us have missed the weekly Torah readings since March 21 (Vayakhel-Pekudei), some even from March 7 (Tetzaveh). When the time comes to return safely to shul, do we have to make up for the missed readings?

I. Skip

This isn’t the first time in history such a question has arisen. Rav


The Obligation of Kedusha

Parshiyot Acharei Mot-Kedoshim

The Book of Vayikra revolves around “Mikdash,” i.e., both the eventual Beit Hamikdash and the already completed Mishkan, beginning with the laws of korbanot that would be offered therein and continuing (in Parshiyot Shemini, Tazria and Metzora) with the laws of tumah


The Heroism of Kibbutz ‘Yad Mordechai’

There is a kibbutz just north of the Gaza strip called “Yad Mordechai.” It fought valiantly during the War of Independence, and its tenacious fighting for six days was able to significantly delay the Egyptian invasion. The kibbutz was on the main road between Cairo and Tel Aviv. If not for that delay, the Egyptian army could have


Gedolei Yisroel From America, Eretz Yisrael And Europe Give Chizuk to Klal Yisrael in Seminal Dirshu Tele/Video Conference

No matter where Yidden find themselves throughout the world, the coronavirus is upending their lives in unprecedented ways. The way our religious life and family life has been totally transformed has been extremely unsettling and difficult, to say the least!

This past Chol Hamoed,


Are Porch Minyanim Kosher?

I. Pesach, Prayer And Bentching

In the current phase of the coronavirus pandemic, all shuls around the world are closed and nearly every Jew globally is praying without a minyan. Even during its strictest period, the Israeli government allowed a few minyanim to continue under health department guidelines. In the U.S., I know of a


A Time of Renewal

Parshiyot Tazria-Metzora

As this Shabbat marks the first day of Iyar, we read the special haftarah for Rosh Chodesh, the complete chapter 66 of sefer Yishayahu, the final perek of the sefer. Throughout the Hebrew calendar we mark 11 roshei chodesh (the month of Tishrei is not included, as it is


Payment for Canceled Pesach 2020 Vacations

Rav Schachter: Equity and Compassion

In a ruling of great importance, Rav Herschel Schachter (Piskei Corona number 27) urges those whose Pesach programs were canceled to resolve payment issues in beit din in a spirit of peshara/equity and compassion. Rav Schachter’s brief ruling emerges from


When the Righteous Suffer

Chazal make at least seven suggestions (Arachin 16a) to help us make sense of the cause of the mysterious disease of tzara’as. Presumably, if we understand the disease and its spread, then we can control it, thereby protecting ourselves. However, when multiple reasons are given for a phenomenon, it’s a good indicator that no single


Making the Most of Confinement

In February this year, the famous refusenik, Rabbi Yosef Mendelevitch, spoke for our yeshiva at a community shiur hosted by the Agudas Yisrael Bircas Yaakov. He related how decades ago he was imprisoned in the Soviet gulag for 11 years, often in solitary confinement, for “heinous crimes” such as wearing a yarmulke or keeping Shabbos.


Coronavirus Diary #5: The Holocaust and Its Lessons

The Holocaust was a historical rupture—an unprecedented horror so revolting that it doesn’t fit “neatly” into the stream or flow of history. This nightmare must continue to shape our overall thinking—about our lives, our culture and our Jewish historical mission. The lessons of the Holocaust are timeless but each generation and


Take Nothing for Granted

Sometimes it takes a calamity to remind us of the old adage, “Take it one day at a time.” A little over a month ago, many of us took our daily lives for granted. We worked, shopped, went outdoors and visited our friends and relatives. Who could ever have imagined that all of that would come to a crashing halt due to an invisible