Yearly Archive: 2006

The Devastating Power of Leitznus 3

The Devastating Power of Leitznus

President Ford a”h‘s passing brought something into sharp focus for me. Here is how the OU remembers Mr. Gerald R. Ford: The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish...

Why do we light the new candle first? 5

Why do we light the new candle first?

My son (4th grade) had a class Chanukah party, for which he was aked to prepare a devar Torah. A short vertl, a question and answer to fit in less than a minute. My...

Shiluach haQen 1

Shiluach haQen

This entry is a continuation of the previous one. I – Shilu’ach haQein האומר על קן צפור יגיעו רחמיך ועל טוב יזכר שמך מודים מודים משתקין אותו: One who prays, “Upon the birds nest...

Ruach Memalela 2

Ruach Memalela

I – Ru’ach Memalela Here’s the creation of man, as described in the Torah. וַיִּיצֶר ×™Ö°-הוָה אֱ-לֹהִים אֶת-הָאָדָם, עָפָר מִן-הָאֲדָמָה, וַיִּפַּח בְּאַפָּיו, נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים; וַיְהִי הָאָדָם, לְנֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה. Hashem G-d formed man, dust of...

Parashas Tzitzis 3

Parashas Tzitzis

This week’s shiur rounds out our discussion of Shema with the third paragraph. In the first paragraph we accept Hashem as King, and that evolves to the theme of Vehayah im Shomo’ah, accepting the...

Chayei Sarah – Kibbush and Chizuq 3

Chayei Sarah – Kibbush and Chizuq

1. Buying Ma’aras haMachpeilah It is interesting to note that Judaism’s holiest sites were not conquered but bought. Parashas Chayei Sarah opens with Avraham purchasing the Ma’aras haMakhpeilah and the fields around it. Later,...

Changing Name 6

Changing Name

There are two places in halakhah where the criterion for whether something is significantly changed is whether there was a shinui sheim, a change in name. The first is in the laws of Shabbos,...

Models of Creation 2

Models of Creation

Updated by user suggestion. Element added: tzimtzum. We can’t really understand how the Ribbono shel olam does anything, and so in contemplating the concept of creation we have to fall back on simplifications, models...

Vehayah im Shamoa 2

Vehayah im Shamoa

We entered Shema last week by following the detailed look at the text started with Birchas Ahavah, Kel Melekh Ne’eman and the rich first sentence of Shema. This week we looked at the second...

Veahavta 0

Veahavta

In this shiur, we look at the rest of the first paragraph of Shema. Some of the issues discussed are: Why do we say “Barukh sheim“? How can a person choose to fulfill the...

The Nature of Reality 5

The Nature of Reality

It’s interesting to note that in Jewish terminology, existence is phrased in terms of the thing-as-experienced, not the thing-in-itself, as it would be objectively known if it were possible. For example, the Rambam opens...

Shema Yisrael 0

Shema Yisrael

In this week’s shiur we concluded Birkhas Ahavah and started Shema with the origin of “Kel Melekh Ne’eman” and some thoughts on its first sentence. Some of the topics discussed: Veha’eir eineinu beSorasekha —...

Parshas Vayeitzei: Mountain, Field, House 0

Parshas Vayeitzei: Mountain, Field, House

The Gemara (Pesachim 88a) discusses the future return to the Beis Hamikdash in terms of a quote from this week’s parashah. And R. Elazar said: What is it when it says (Yeshaiah 2) “And...

Urgency, Importance, and the Yeitzer 1

Urgency, Importance, and the Yeitzer

Rabbi Ephraim Becker wrote in a reply to a comment on one of his posts: The Yetzer hijacks our urgency (we get more excited about playing with the latest PDA than about getting up...

Birkhas Ahavah 0

Birkhas Ahavah

The Tefillah: Beyond the Words shiur resumed this week, picking up where we left off, with birkhas Ahavah.Some of the topics discussed: Two dimensions for discussing a middah: “Ahavah Rabba” and “Ahavas Olam” How...

Anu ma’amirekha ve’Atah ma’amireinu 7

Anu ma’amirekha ve’Atah ma’amireinu

Anu ma’amirekha ve’Atah ma’amireinu. Artscroll renders this line from the machzor as referring to we as Hashem’s designated, and Him as our designator.I would like to suggest a different translation. The mishnah says that...

A Fallen Soldier’s Prayer for Peace 3

A Fallen Soldier’s Prayer for Peace

Modified: Transcription of text in Hebrew added. – 30-Sep-2006.(Hat tip to the One Family Fund. May they be put out of business soon!) Benaya Rein Hy”d fell toward the end of the war on...

Frum or Erlich 1

Frum or Erlich

I highly recommend the essay “Frum or Erlich” by Dr. Yitzchok Levine. Teaser: The American Orthodox Jewish community of today is drastically different from the community that existed in America 75 years ago. Orthodox...

The Simplicity of the Shofar 0

The Simplicity of the Shofar

(Hat tip to my daughter Shifra, who made this point the centerpiece of her speech at her bas mitzvah celebration.)Halachically, a shofar must be a simple instrument. If it has a crack or anything...

Something you can do to help the situation 0

Something you can do to help the situation

בעון נבלות פה צרות רבות וגזירות קשות מתחדשות ובחורי שונאי ישראל מתים יתומים ואלמנות צועקין ואינן נענין שנא’ (ישעיהו ט) על כן על בחוריו לא ישמח ×”’ For the sin of vulgar speech many...

Hashgachah Peratis as a level of abstraction 4

Hashgachah Peratis as a level of abstraction

Say you were a chip designer, and you wanted to know why this particular trace (wire) on some particular microprocessor chip went from 0 volts to 3 volts….The answer could be given at various...

Yotzeir Or, part III 0

Yotzeir Or, part III

See the previous discussions of Yotzeir Or here (part I) and here (part II). This week we concluded our discussion of the berakhah of Yotzeir Or, as well as the shiur’s run until after...