Monthly Archive: כ״ח באב תשס״ח – August 28, 2008

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AishDas

I was recently interviewed by Steve Savitsky, the president of the OU, for his radio show “Around the Dining Room Table“. Here is their description of the show: Not excited about Jewish practice? Have trouble tolerating fellow Jews and their different practices? Steve Savitsky sits around the dining room table with Rabbis Benjamin Hecht and Micha Berger. My goal in...

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Ben Chamishim le’Aitzah

… בן חמישים לעצה … – יהודה בן תימא, אבות ה:כא וּמִבֶּן֙ חֲמִשִּׁ֣ים שָׁנָ֔ה יָשׁ֖וּב מִצְּבָ֣א הָעֲבֹדָ֑ה וְלֹ֥א יַעֲבֹ֖ד עֽוֹד׃ – במדבר ח:כה שמייעץ את אחיו ומלמדם לשמור משמרתם – רש”י שם וְהִגִּישׁ֤וֹ אֲדֹנָיו֙ אֶל־הָ֣אֱלֹהִ֔ים וְהִגִּישׁוֹ֙ אֶל־הַדֶּ֔לֶת א֖וֹ אֶל־הַמְּזוּזָ֑ה וְרָצַ֨ע אֲדֹנָ֤יו אֶת־אָזְנוֹ֙ בַּמַּרְצֵ֔עַ וַעֲבָד֖וֹ לְעֹלָֽם׃ -שמות כא:ו עד היובל או אינו אלא לעולם (קידושין טו) כמשמעו ת”ל (ויקרא כה) ואיש...

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Heroism

I was recently asked for help preparing material for a va’ad on heroism. Shirah Bell, one of the other recipients of the initial email offered this as a typical definition of heroism: The state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution; bravery. Nothing sprung to mind, so...

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Three Desires

In the last entry, I quoted part of Even Sheleimah, 2:1, by the Vilna Gaon. The full paragraph reads: The sum of all evil middos are ka’as[1] (anger), ta’avah (desire), and ga’avah[2] (egotism), which are “haqin’ah vehata’avah vehakavod — jealousy, desire and honor”.[3] Each includes two [parts]. Of ka’as: ra (evil) and mirma (duplicity). Ra is revealed, and mirmah is...

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Hatred

Do not hate your brother in your heart; לֹֽא־תִשְׂנָ֥א אֶת־אָחִ֖יךָ בִּלְבָבֶ֑ךָ; you should surely rebuke your neighbor, הוֹכֵ֤חַ תּוֹכִ֨יחַ֙ אֶת־עֲמִיתֶ֔ךָ and do not carry a sin because of him. וְלֹֽא־תִשָּׂ֥א עָלָ֖יו חֵֽטְא׃ – Vayiqra 19:17 There are a number of questions about this verse that need to be addressed before we can understand it. First, is this verse describing one...

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Gender Differences: Oaths

The Torah uses two different words for husband: ish, in particular when used with the feminine possessive “ishahh” (her man); and ba’al. Interestingly, in the beginning of parashas Matos, the section on annulling vows, only ishahh is used (v. 8, 9, 11, 12, twice in 13, twice in 14, 15; observation made to Avodah by Akiva Miller), ba’al is not...