Saturday, December 04, 2021

Divrei Torah - JewishLink

The Snowball (Growth) Effect

In regard to teshuva, our parsha says: “It’s not concealed from you, nor is it far away… it’s not up in the heavens that you should say who will go up to get it for us … nor is it across the sea that you should say who will cross over the sea for us to go retrieve it…rather it is extremely close to you—it’s in your mouth and


The Halachot of Shushing in Shul

I. Talking Destroys Shuls

Talking in shul has been a problem since time immemorial. People who talk about idle matters during the prayer service not only show disrespect for the sanctity of the synagogue and the prayers, they disrupt the prayer experience of others. When there is


Liturgical Repetition: When Singing Becomes Sacrilegious

“Due to the great multitude of our sins, in the past decade, a leprosy has spread among the cantors.”

You know when a halachic authority starts a sentence this way, you better buckle up—because you are in for a treat. Whatever could this terrible sin be?


The Yud Gimmel Middot

The Yud Gimmel Middot, or the 13 characteristics or qualities of Hashem, are a central feature of the Selichot service. They are also recited on fast days and repeated often on Yom Kippur. (Those who follow Nusach Sefard say it daily in their tachanun.) The Gemara (Rosh Hashanah 17b) informs us in the name of R. Yochanan that


Makor Chaim: The Outsourcing of the ‘Source of Life’!

While COVID has not brought many local Jews to Israel, nevertheless it has brought the spirit of Israel to the United States. Booming online study programs have served to spread the Torah of Eretz Yisrael around the globe—even those teachings that involve not just the brain but the


Be Strong and Brave

Sometimes when we face a challenging situation we feel worried. Maybe something will go wrong or things won’t turn out the way we want. This week’s Torah portion teaches us that it’s better to have courage and trust in God at these times rather than to worry. “Be strong and brave,” the Torah tells us. “Don’t be afraid and


Saving Shemitah

The experience of shemitah is both fascinating and iconic. Occurring once in seven years, it carries the mystique of something “extraordinary” or even enchanted. Intended as a seminal national experience, it was rarely practiced in its truest form. In the modern context, our encounter with shemitah has dramatically shifted from


Reciting Selichos Can Grant Us Early Forgiveness

I find it fascinating that the U.S. president can fully override the judicial system by forgiving a person convicted and found guilty of a crime. Indeed, the Constitution of the United States gives the president plenary power “to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.”


Serving Hashem Properly

At the end of the tochacha, the section of the Torah describing the horrific events prophesying what will occur when Bnei Yisrael are exiled from Eretz Yisrael, the verse states: Tachat lo avadetem et Hashem Elokeycha b’simcha u-v’tuv levov m’rov kol, “Because you did not serve Hashem, your God, with joy and a good heart, with much


Waiting for Perfection

Parshat Ki Tavo

In analyzing the seven haftarot of comfort (the “shiva d’nechemta”) that follow Tisha B’Av, we have shared with you, over the past years, the view of Tosafot (Megillah 32b) that this series of comforting visions of Yishayahu was placed in an order of increasing consolation, each


Working on Yourself, For Yourself

We read in this week’s parsha: “Hashem will establish you as His holy nation as He swore to you, if you guard the mitzvot of Hashem, your God, and go in His ways (v’halachta b’drachav)” (28:9).

Guarding Hashem’s mitzvot is understandable, but what does “v’halachta b’drachav”—to go


The Shofar: A Cacophony of Confession

Starting the second day of Rosh Chodesh Elul, it’s minhag of the klal to blow shofar every weekday morning, after Shacharis.

When I was younger, I heard from many a rebbe that the shofar was a clarion call; an alarm to wake our sleeping minds in time for the Days of Awe, just mere weeks away. A few

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