Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Divrei Torah

Infertility in the Torah

In recent Torah parsha readings we seem to come across many instances where our matriarchs had difficulty conceiving. Sarah only had a baby at the age of 90. Rivka waited 20 years to conceive with Yitzchak. Rachel also had trouble conceiving a baby. The Tanach mentions the wife of Manoach, Chanah, the woman from Shunam and Ruth as other


Machatzis Hashekel: The Great Equalizer

Avos d’Rav Nason teaches that when one person gives anything to another, whether it is a gift, assistance, or other act of kindness, the manner in which the act is performed is more important than the value of what is given. Without a smile, even giving a million dollars is worthless. With a smile, even a modest gift is worth more than a


Fulfilling Our True Desire

A well-known yeshiva high school discovered one of their students might not be Jewish. The parents had raised the child as a Torah-observant Jew, but the lineage of the mother was in question. The yeshiva looked into the matter and confirmed that the mother’s mother was not legitimately Jewish. As such, their Torah-observant student was


Keep the Faith

Har Sinai is every­thing!! For the first time in history, God descended into the human realm and revealed Himself to an entire population of three million strong. This epic revelation hasn’t repeated itself in over 3,400 years. Every religion asserts formative events in the evolution of their religious system. However, no


Yitro’s Secret Trait

It is often asked what was it that helped Yitro merit becoming the father-in-law of our greatest leader and teacher, Moshe Rabbeinu. Which of his character traits defined who he was, and thus propelled him to raising a daughter who would marry Moshe? Furthermore, why did he merit to have the parsha with the ma’amad Har Sinai (standing at


Yitro’s Place

Yitro is such a seminal figure in Jewish history that he has his own parsha, but more importantly is singled out by the Torah with descriptive words that connect him to the Torah in a profound manner.

Firstly, names embody destinies, and Yitro’s name rearranged spells tori, allegorically meaning “my


Hashem Doesn’t Laugh. At Us.

Yitro heard, he understood, he took to heart, he implemented, he came, and he became. Yet we know that Yitro was a person who spent his life going from idol to idol, from cult to cult, testing the grounds of worship in a world antithetical to Hashem’s sovereignty. How did Yitro get inspired and join the Jewish nation? Rashi explains what


Join the 10,000-Person ‘Crowd-Learning’ Shmiras Halashon Campaign

(Courtesy of Chafetz Chaim USA) When the Chofetz Chaim saw danger for klal Yisrael looming on the horizon, he urged Jews everywhere to grasp the protection of shmiras halashon. Today, with anti-Semitism on the rise throughout the world, with Iran plotting the destruction of Eretz Yisrael and so much distress within our own ranks as well,


‘Dirshu Is Not What You Do; Dirshu Is What We Are!’

Monumental Dirshu World Siyum ignites klal Yisrael with a passion for ameilus baTorah.

By no stretch of the imagination is Newark, New Jersey, the epicenter of the Torah world. Yet for one evening, the city of Newark hosted the most significant celebration of Torah accomplishments in


Judaism Is Like an Onion

Az Yashir, the epic “song at the sea,” is suffused with classic and evocative phrases. Many of these expressions are familiar to us from our daily Shacharit recital of this section toward the end of pesukei d’zimra. By contrast, the concluding phrase of this section is a very succinct and straightforward phrase—certainly


Shabbat Shira: Song of Milk and Honey

On Shabbat Shira, which always coincides with the week of Tu B’Shevat, we read Shirat HaYam—the Song of the Sea (Shemot 15), praising God for the miraculous salvation from the Egyptian army, and Shirat Devorah (Shoftim 5), a similar national military song against the Canaanite forces, as the haftarah reading. As we sing of independence


Miracles Obvious and Otherwise

Two years ago on Friday, Parshat Beshalach, I was traveling to Long Beach with my wife and father-in law, Rabbi Singer, for the Shabbos sheva brachos of our cousins Pinny and Hadassah Fried. We were 15 minutes away when the transmission of my relatively new car died, in the middle of a busy four-lane road, with no shoulder to pull onto. My