Monthly Archive: כ״א בתשרי תשע״ט – Sun, Sep 30, 2018

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Choosing Role Models

Next time you hear a speaker or a rabbi speak about “the goyim” in some disparaging stereotype, ask them about this gemara. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi asks about an apparent contradiction in seifer Yechezqeil. The first pasuq (5:7): לָכֵ֞ן כֹּֽה־אָמַ֣ר ׀ אֲ-דֹנָ֣י ה֗’ יַ֤עַן הֲמָנְכֶם֙ מִן־הַגּוֹיִם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר סְבִיבֽוֹתֵיכֶ֔ם בְּחֻקּוֹתַי֙ לֹ֣א הֲלַכְתֶּ֔ם וְאֶת־מִשְׁפָּטַ֖י לֹ֣א עֲשִׂיתֶ֑ם וּֽכְמִשְׁפְּטֵ֧י הַגּוֹיִ֛ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר סְבִיבוֹתֵיכֶ֖ם לֹ֥א עֲשִׂיתֶֽם׃...

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For He Remembered Us When We Were Low

Tehillim 136, which Chazal call Hallel haGadol, has a long list of things Hashem did for us with the refrain “כי לעולם חסדו — for His Lovingkindness is eternal.” The first three call us to thank Hashem: הוֹד֣וּ לַה֣’ כִּי־ט֑וֹב כִּ֖י לְעוֹלָ֣ם חַסְדּֽוֹ׃ ה֭וֹדוּ לֵֽאלֹקֵ֣י הָאֱלֹקִ֑ים כִּ֖י לְעוֹלָ֣ם חַסְדּֽוֹ׃ ה֭וֹדוּ לַאֲדֹנֵ֣י הָאֲדֹנִ֑ים כִּ֖י לְעֹלָ֣ם חַסְדּֽוֹ׃ Thank Hashem for He is...

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The Blue Does Not Hold Up the White

התכלת אינה מעכבת את הלבן והלבן אינו מעכב את התכלת תפילה של יד אינה מעכבת של ראש ושל ראש אינה מעכבת של יד הסולת והשמן אינן מעכבין את היין ולא היין מעכבן המתנות של מזבח החיצון אינן מעכבות זו את זו. [The absence of] the tekheiles [strings of a tzitzis] does not hold up [the validity of] the white [string],...

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Dip the Apple in the Honey

Here are three thoughts related to the siman, the mnemonic practice, of eating an apple dipped in honey. (Aside from the ear-worm you or your kid learned in preschool that starts with the words in the post’s subject line.) 1- The original Bostoner Rebbe commented on the expression “Shanah tovah umsuqah – a good and sweet new year”, which is...

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Mind and Body, Qabbalah and the Sorites Paradox

I The name of the Sorites Paradox comes from the Greek word for heap, “soros”, a key word in the typical formulation. If someone had one million grains of sand, they would have a heap of sand. If we took away just one grain of sand, it would still be a heap. And similarly, the second grain. But what if...

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Yerushalayim

I’m about to repeat two points by R’ Meir Simchah haKohein miDvinsk zt”l: 1- Yerushalayim is named for being the convergance of two principles: refined middos and perfected intellectual comprehension. 2- There is an old question, “Chazal say that Sheim and Eiver ran a yeshiva that Avraham, Yitzchaq and Yaaqov attended. But that far before the giving of the Torah,...