Friday, August 06, 2021

Divrei Torah - JewishLink

The Good Old Days

“We want fish, we want fish!” These ridiculous chants boomed through the Jewish camp as an angry mob clamored for a return to Egypt. Astonishingly, the hordes demanded a return to Egypt, a return to oppression and a return to the puny and putrid scraps of fish they received at the end of each dreadful day of labor. People


Mitzvah Shopping

Yoma 33A

He must be a very important person to get such an important mitzvah, I heard them say, as Mr. Lowenstein, the local assemblyman, stepped up to recite the Torah blessing before the reading of the Ten Commandments. And Mr. Kleppish was too embarrassed to tell his wife that he only got third


Purposeful Travel

I joined up with some friends to treat another friend of our group to a delicious restaurant meal on his birthday. To add to the celebration, we decided to make it a real adventure. We blindfolded our good-natured friend and told him he had to guess the name of the restaurant when we got there. He was up for the challenge…and so were we!


A Process of Progress

This parsha discusses two outstanding events in our history that seem to be in direct contrast to each other. On the one hand we have the Bnei Yisrael departing from Har Sinai after the giving of the Torah (10:33), which Chazal say Bnei Yisrael didn’t just leave politely, but rather rushed away “like a child [tinok] who escapes from


From the Mikdash to the Machaneh

Parshat Behaalotecha continues the theme of Sefer Bamidbar—teaching us of the sanctity of the “machaneh”—the encampment of Am Yisrael as it surrounds the Mishkan in a dynamic state, preparing us for our journey and imminent settlement in the Land of Israel. That’s why numerous laws and narratives that we would have expected to


Outdoor Minyanim: A Discussion

The late Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski, zt”l, once began a lecture on addiction by asking a question. If Noah was a tzaddik, as described by the Torah, how did he let himself get degraded via intoxication, after the flood waters had dissipated? The answer that was submitted, based on chasidic sources, is that Noah was unaware that the world


Rediscovering a Healing Prayer

I recently discovered and then rediscovered an ancient healing prayer. I first learned of it a few years ago in a personal context, and then more recently in conjunction with the COVID-19 vaccine. It is a prayer to be recited prior to taking any medication or undergoing any medical procedure, however minor, even several


Agra D'Pirka Resumes at FountainView

(Courtesy of FountainView) Shecheyunu vhigiyunu lazman hazeh! Boruch Hashem, Agra has resumed at FountainView. After a long 15 months of attendees only being able to hear the shiurim via phone and Zoom, in-person learning has resumed.

The smiles on everyone’s faces were priceless. The


Parshat Beha’alotecha

Leora and Layla, two friends, had been asked by their parents to take their younger sisters to soccer practice. They got there really early, so they let the girls play in the playground while they waited. It was really hot out, and everyone was getting very thirsty, but they had all forgotten to bring water. Leora asked Layla to take care


The Dignity of the Individual

Jews don’t count people. Instead the Torah creates a system of tabulating the population without actually counting human beings. This indirect counting scheme is delineated in Parshat Ki Tisa: each citizen donates a half-shekel to the Mikdash. Calculating the final sum of shekels (and dividing by half) provides an accurate


Becoming the New You

When minyanim restarted again, everyone was so excited. Finally, we’d be back together, charged up to daven with true intensity!

And yet…I received a phone call from someone who was virtually in tears. “I was so excited to return to davening with a minyan and looked forward to a beautiful,


Why Do We Go to Extremes?

Parshat Naso describes the option to become a nazir, prohibiting oneself from drinking wine (and even eating grapes!), cutting one’s hair and participating in the funeral even of the closest relatives. Two of these restrictions parallel those of the Kohanim, taken to the extreme: While a regular Kohen may attend the funeral of his close

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