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Monday, May 25, 2020

Divrei Torah

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

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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

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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

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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

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The Merit of Suffering for Another

After having spent three days traveling away from Egypt, Hashem tells Moshe to have the Jews retrace their steps towards Ba’al Tzephon and camp there. Hashem explains to Moshe that he was doing this in order that Pharaoh would think the Jews are stuck in the wilderness: “Pharaoh will say to the Bnei Yisrael, ‘They are imprisoned in

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Gratitude: It’s for the Birds

How much in life do we take for granted? How often do we say “thank you” or otherwise express our gratitude? Our traditions in Judaism and our lessons from the Tanach give us a fascinating lesson in the value of showing gratitude.

There’s a customary minhag to feed the birds on Shabbat Shira. This

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The Secret to Happiness

Tu B’Shevat, the Rosh Hashanah of the trees, informs us of the deep connection between nature and spirituality.

Mankind intuited that trees are essential to our existence, even prior to our perception of rain cycles, photosynthesis and the myriad of functions trees serve for humanity. The allure of

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Klal Yisrael Prepares for Dirshu’s Colossal Celebration of Authentic Torah Achievement

“Our Father is making a simcha! This is a simcha of Hashem Yisborach Himself, who is saying, ‘Chazu banai chavivai—Look at my dear children who forget all their difficulties and immerse themselves in Torah to such an extent that they have taken tests on all of Shas!!’”

These

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Time After Time

Parshat Bo chronicles the dramatic redemption of the Jewish people from a 200-year nightmare of backbreaking slavery and oppression. The great “night of redemption” is punctuated by celebratory rituals that ultimately become incorporated into the Pesach Seder. However, before the Jews are informed of these ceremonies, they are

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Where Do You Belong?

Lot was commanded not to look back at the destruction of Sedom and Am Yisrael were also commanded for the future not to return to Egypt. What is the meaning of this command?

In both cases, it seems that they absorbed quite a bit of the foreign culture that surrounded them. According to our

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Knowing Your Place

When we were living in Eretz Yisrael, my mother, a”h, was very sick. My wife and I visited as much as possible, but flying a few times a year with four little children to America was very difficult and expensive. For this and other reasons, we started thinking about moving back to the U.S. I spoke with one of my rebbeim, Rav Reuven

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An Extra Measure to Prevent Chilul Hashem

Moshe Rabbeinu, when informing the Egyptians of the tenth plague that would arrive, says, “So said Hashem, ‘At around midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt, and every firstborn in the land of Egypt will die…’” (Shemot 11:4-5). Rashi points out that although Hashem’s original message to Moshe was that he would smite the

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