Yearly Archive: 2005

The Semitic Perspective 2

The Semitic Perspective

In honor of Chanukah, I thought I would finally post my ideas on the differences between the Yefetic and Semitic perspectives. Yefes, and his son Yavan are the progenitors of western thought. Yavan, the...

Anavah (Redux) 0

Anavah (Redux)

In responding to my first attempt to define “anavah” (on “Der Alter“) RYGB wrote, “According to RSRH, anavah is derived from anah, to respond. Perhaps an anav is one who feels an acharayus to...

What is a Berakhah? 2

What is a Berakhah?

Today’s topic: How to make your morning coffee the religious high point of your day.After Shema, which is Torahitic, what is the next most important tefillah? Bentching is also deOraisa, but the text was...

The Point of Decision 2

The Point of Decision

A rather well-known section of Michtav meiEliyahu (vol 1 pg 113) is the Qunterus haBechirah. In it, Rav Dessler compares the decision-making process to a battle. All the fighting occurs at the front lines;...

Havdalah 2

Havdalah

Returning back to the theme raised in the week of parashas Bereishis, In the first part, I drew a progression from the medrash of the earth refusing to make the trees taste like the...

Mima’amaqim 0

Mima’amaqim

Shir haMa’alos: Mima’amaqim qarasikha Hashem A song of ascents: From the depths, I call You, Hashem – Tehillim 120:1 I’ve written a number of essays about tragedy from the perspective of philosophy and theory....

Adam and Pinocchio 0

Adam and Pinocchio

(First, please see part I about the eitz hada’as, the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The following is extrapolated from a thought in an essay by R’ Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer.) Until Adam...

The Origins of Imperfection 4

The Origins of Imperfection

The first we hear of Hashem allowing things to go in something other than the ideal way is in the creation of plants. There is a medrash (Breishis Rabba 5:9) that comments on a...

The power of speech 0

The power of speech

I had an epiphany during leining this past Shabbos (parashas Bereishis). Such things are notoriously difficult to convey, but I’ll try anyway.Usually, shmuessin on the subject of shemiras halashon revolve around showing how much...

Yismach Moshe II 0

Yismach Moshe II

As an example for explaining the idea of tefillah behispa’alus, I raised a number of questions about the meaning of the phrase “Yismach Mosheh“. I wrote: Yismach Mosheh — Moses will be happy bematenas...

The Gift of Justice 0

The Gift of Justice

In the past couple of weeks, I posted a number of essays showing that reward and punishment are the effects of the person’s action. First, that in order for history to progress toward the...

Of Empty Cups 0

Of Empty Cups

In the past couple of weeks, I posted a number of essays about the causal nature of reward and punishment. In short, that sin causes a change in the self, which in turn causes...

Qedushas Beis HaKenesses, part II 0

Qedushas Beis HaKenesses, part II

In an earlier entry, I suggested that we take the feelings generated by seeing the shuls of Azza ransacked, and use them to motivate our behavior in our own synagogues. Including (but not limited...

A Second Covenant 0

A Second Covenant

“To enter into a beris, a covenant, with Hashem your G-d, and in His oath, which Hashem makes with You today.” (Devarim 29:11) The Ramban comments that the beris mentioned here is a new...

Qedushas Beis HaKenesses 0

Qedushas Beis HaKenesses

When a Jew talks during davening in a shul in America, A shul in Netzarim is set aflame. That’s the lesson I took from this Elul. The feelings generated from pictures of the fires...

The Marksman 0

The Marksman

I wanted to share the following thought sent in today’s email from Rabbi Zvi Miller of The Salant Foundation. The Salant Foundation emails a mussar thought and a suggestion for implementing it daily (when...

The Lishmah of Interpersonal Mitzvos 3

The Lishmah of Interpersonal Mitzvos

I recently noticed a paradox when it comes to mitzvos bein adam lachaveiro (interpersonal mitzvos). What is the purpose of such mitzvos? To develop feelings of love and caring toward others; to expand our...

On Destroying Synagogues 0

On Destroying Synagogues

The Israeli Government wanted to have the army destroy the synagogues of Azza, to spare us the shame, the Palestinian triumphalism and the chillul Hashem (not that the government would necessarily use that term)...

Menuchas haNefesh 0

Menuchas haNefesh

Picture being in a box. A large box, plenty of room to walk around, but very much with a “boxy” feel. There is a pervasive smell of tar; the box itself is wood sealed...

Appropriate and Inappropriate Kulos, Good Chumros and Bad 0

Appropriate and Inappropriate Kulos, Good Chumros and Bad

It is this rupture in the traditional religious sensibilities [caused by the Holocaust and the subsequent displacement in geographic location] that underlies much of the transformation of contemporary Orthodoxy. Zealous to continue traditional Judaism...

Did you cry? II 0

Did you cry? II

(This isn’t my usual style or topic for this blog. But as it approaches the deadline, sitting here on Tish’ah beAv afternoon, it would be inhuman not to feel a need to share my...

Did you cry? 0

Did you cry?

This morning (Shabbos parashas Mas’ei) we read about the borders of Israel (ch. 34:1-12). We read that the southwest corner of Israel is to be Nachal Mitzrayim, Wadi el-Arish (R’ Saadia Gaon) or the...