Sunday, October 24, 2021

Divrei Torah - JewishLink

Tisha B’Av and the 20th Century

Mourning is a deeply personal and emotional experience. Merely “going through the motions” without authentic inner sadness yields a listless and empty experience. Mourning ancient tragedies of Jewish history on Tisha B’Av can be challenging in that way. It has historically been a daunting challenge since we lament events that


Tisha B’Av: Feeling the Love

Sometimes we get Divine inspiration from an action we performed. The Gemara records the episode of Rav Avahu asking his son Rav Avimi to bring him a drink of water. When Rav Avimi returned with a glass of water, his father had dozed off. Instead of putting the water on the table next to his father, Rav Avimi waited, glass in hand, to


The External World That Lies Behind the Internal World

Picking up on the words “v’di zahav” in the first pasuk in our parsha, the Gemara (Berachot 32) says that Moshe Rabbeinu was coming to defend Bnei Yisrael for their misdeed with the golden calf. Moshe argued to Hashem, “You gave them so much silver and gold [hence “zahav”] to the point that they said “dai, enough” of so much


Karnei Farah: On the Horns of a Dilemma

With the reading of Parshiyot Matot-Masei last Shabbat, baalei kriah once again faced the annual question of how to properly cantillate a karnei farah. This trope appears but once in the Torah—echoing its infrequency in all of Tanach, where along with its obligatory mesharet, the yerach ben yomo, it is found a total of only 16 times.


Earning Our Keep

After the first case of murder in history, the murderer was confronted by God Himself.

“Where is your brother, Hevel?” God asked. To which Cain, the murderer, responded. “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Bereishit 4:9).

In what follows next, we, as


NFT Torah Now Available for Purchase

NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, have exploded into the finance scene in recent months. NFTs function as digital collectibles with their data stored on a blockchain, ensuring the asset is unique. In just the past year, the fad of NFT trading cards and artwork has blown up among investors, who are certain these tokens will


Can Modern Jews Grieve?

In a well-documented tale, Napoleon once observed French Jews sitting on the floor of a synagogue, mourning their lost Temple. He was amazed at this historical consciousness that stretched back across thousands of years, despite the lack of a national homeland. Much has changed in the past 200 years, and I wonder how Napoleon would


The Three Weeks: ‘Bein Hametzarim,’ Turning Us to Hashem

With the recent tragedies of the Surfside building collapse, the Meron tragedy and for the Passaic-Clifton community, the recent passing of our special, sweet 14-year-old Binyamin Gonsher (Binyamin Yisrael ben Shlomo Halevi z”l), all of us feel that the time period of the Three Weeks—a time of mourning—was considerably expanded this


What Connects Matot and Masei?

The combination of these two sections of the Torah constitutes the question, raised by all the commentators over the ages, as to whether there really is a connection between these two parshiot or is it just a matter of calendar convenience that unites them in one Torah reading on this coming Shabbat.


Matot: The Promise of Torah

It is almost as if Parshat Matot is trying to be ironic. We read in the preceding parsha about Tzelofchad’s daughters’ desire and effort to inherit a portion of the Land of Israel. In Matot we read how two tribes decided that the recently conquered Transjordan territory was quite sufficient for their tastes. They do not want to pass


When the Means Gets Mean

B’nei Gad v’Reuvain asked Moshe to settle in a land that would help their livestock thrive. They said, we shall build “pens for the flock...and cities for our children” (32:16). Usually, what is most important and a priority to a person is mentioned first, and in fact, Rashi points out that the fact that they mentioned the need for


Fasting, Health Problems, Halacha and Common Sense

Yoma 73b, 79a

Sitting next to my father, the rabbi, on the synagogue dais on Yom Kippur morning, I wondered how long I could last before breaking my fast. The lunch bag my mother gave me to bring to shul seemed to call out to me from the rabbi’s office where I had left it. By 10 a.m. I could stand it

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