Friday, October 30, 2020

Divrei Torah

Awe Is Awesome

We’ve all been there. We’ve all likely had breathtaking experiences, where the sight of our eyes exceeds the figment of our imagination, where our state of awe sheds away the absorptions of our daily lives. Some might smile with glee, while some will stay focusly captured. Some may laugh at the exquisiteness of the scene, while others


The Torah and a Deck of Cards

Poker seems to be a hot topic nowadays. Folks are playing online and in casinos. Last year (2019), the World Series of Poker had 8,569 players with a top prize of $10 million.

In my earlier, non-Jewish days I too played poker. Was quite good at it: Dropped out of 6 out of 7 hands and won 6 out of 7 that


Bachurim Around the Globe Are Deeply Immersed In the Dirshu ‘B’Zechus HaTorah’ Program

Shiurim given daily by leading gedolei Yisrael.

Yes, a worldwide pandemic has infiltrated virtually everywhere…

Now, there is a worldwide antidote that is illuminating and firing up thousands of bachurim the world over!


Corona Diary #13: COVID-19 and Coveting

Most mitzvot mandate our behavior—which actions are obligated and which are banned. The second more challenging set of mitzvot regulate our thought and our belief system: which ideas are we meant to subscribe to, and which views are heretical. Though “mental mitzvot” are more complex and complicated, they are still reasonably


Why History Matters

The other day, a friend of mine whimsically asked why we bother to commemorate Tisha B’Av these days. “After all,” he opined, “that all happened 2,000 years ago. Does it really matter today? Is it still worth fasting for?” In today’s charged atmosphere where the “cancel culture” has taken a foothold, perhaps this is a


Shabbos Nachamu: The Comfort of Connecting With Hashem

Last week on Rosh Chodesh Av, the Passaic/Clifton community and klal Yisrael suffered a colossal loss: the sudden passing of Rabbi Shmuel Berkovicz, z”l, menahel—principal—of Yeshiva M’kor Boruch where my son attended, rav of Khal Yeraim, and for me personally, a rebbe and close friend. He was my counsel for many chinuch questions.


From Tisha B'Av to Nachamu

I. The Happiness of Tisha B’Av

Tisha B’Av contains contradictory themes that, when considered, completely changes our perspective about this day. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 659:4) says that we do not recite Tachanun prayers on Tisha B’Av because the day is considered a holiday. Since


Want Your Children to Follow the Ten Commandments? Teach Them Wisely

Considered by Maimonides to be the bedrock of Judaism (Peirush Mishnayot, Tamid, 5:1), and by many to be the backbone of Western morality, the Ten Commandments are prominently featured in this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Va’etchanan. Fascinatingly, they remain ubiquitous across all denominations of Judaism, prominently displayed on


The Land of Love

Moshe Rabbeinu was not about to give up. Hashem decreed to the fullest extent that Moshe Rabbeinu would not be allowed into Eretz Yisrael, but Moshe had other plans. Moshe began debating with Hashem, presenting arguments against Hashem, persistently showing Hashem why he should be allowed to go into Eretz Yisrael. And as we know, he prayed


On Prayer

Va’etchanan brings to mind the prayer-like figures, “seeped in the word chanan,” like Chana and Chanina ben Dosa who were so famously known for their deep supplications. In this parsha, however, it is Moshe who depicts his pleas on behalf of the children of Israel, prayers that were likely enshrined in thoughtfulness and


Corona Diary #12: Tisha B’Av and Corona

It is that “time” again. The entire world is mired in an international health crisis that doesn’t distinguish between Jew and non-Jew: The virus impacts and infects everyone alike. Not only are our health vulnerabilities equivalent, but, ultimately, our fates are interwoven. This pandemic can only be controlled or managed if


The Three Weeks

The Three Weeks are always a time for introspection, and COVID-19 makes this year an even more perfect opportunity. COVID-19 hit the observant Jewish community very hard in terms of loss of life, and has made a significant continuing impact on Jewish communal life. Some have asked what long-term lessons can we derive from this year’s