Sunday, January 29, 2023


Parsha Memes

By Rabbi Tzvi Pittinsky



In chess, Zugzwang, German word meaning a compulsion to move, is a moment in the game when it is one side’s turn to go but any move they make will result in a loss. This concept is evident in the position shown in Figure 1, which utilizes the idea of opposition. This opposition is an example of Zugzwang


Nachash, Tanin, or Both?

Portland Talmud Torah (otherwise known as PoTaTo) recently received a generous donation from a local family. Magda and Murray Zerrin had sent their children to PoTaTo when the school was just starting out, and now their oldest grandchild was set to begin at the same school. In honor of the occasion, the Zerrins gave a sizable amount of


Friends Forever? I Hope So!

Hi Shayna,

A while ago I was at a bat mitzvah and my parents were talking to these other parents. These other parents were talking about their daughter who is lonely and doesn’t have any friends. They asked me to be friends with their daughter because they were just so sad that every Shabbat their


Jewish Students Are ‘Falling Through the Cracks’

How universities decided that Jewish students don’t deserve protection.

In their zeal to construct an academic setting that reflects the true diversity of the nation and attempts to redress past discrimination and exclusion, universities have created “protected” groups of students


On Not Obeying Immoral Orders

The opening chapters of Exodus plunge us into the midst of epic events. Almost at a stroke the Israelites are transformed from protected minority to slaves. Moses passes from prince of Egypt to Midianite shepherd to leader of the Israelites through a history-changing encounter at the Burning Bush. Yet it is one small, often


The Special Power of Hagbah at a Sephardic Synagogue

Ashkenazic Versus Sephardic Hagbah

Ashkenazic Jews who ask why Sephardic Jews conduct hagbah before Kriat HaTorah are asking the wrong question. The question should be: Why do Ashkenazic Jews lift the Torah only after the Torah reading? — contrary to Nechemia, perek eight. This perek


The Shofar Blast

Parshat Shemot

Finding the connection between the 27th and 28th chapters of Sefer Yeshayahu — the source of this week’s haftarah — to the events of the parsha is not simple. Indeed, we have discussed a number of possibilities over the past years, including the words of the Navi


The Prayer of the Jews in Egypt

Editor’s note: This series is reprinted with permission from “Insights & Attitudes: Torah Essays on Fundamental Halachic and Hashkafic Issues,” a publication of TorahWeb.org. The book contains multiple articles, organized by parsha, by Rabbi Hershel Schachter and Rabbi Mayer Twersky.


Nedarim 78a: Who Heeds You or My Teacher?

I drafted a lengthy article about Nedarim 68-70—about the derashot and interpretations—according to Rava and according to Rabbi Yishmael’s academy. The impetus was that the derashot were distributed across sugyot, in a way that was hard to track all at once. However, that article was complex and essentially repeated


Zera Shimshon on Parshas Shemos

וַיָּ֥קָם מֶֽלֶךְ־חָדָ֖שׁ עַל־מִצְרָ֑יִם אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֹֽא־יָדַ֖ע אֶת־יוֹסֵֽף: (שמות א/ח)

And a new king arose on Mitzrayim who did not know Yosef (Shemos 1/8)

According to one opinion in


Faith and Courage

The new upscale school of Mount Wealthmore had begun its first school year. The students absolutely loved school. There was no homework or tests, because that could trigger undue anxiety. Classes could not be longer than 20 minutes, because it could cause students to become jittery — which could impinge on their ability to focus. Students

Sign up now!