Aspaqlaria Blog

Redeeming a Wasted Youth 0

Redeeming a Wasted Youth

Someone lamented on Mi Yodeya: I wasted my youth. I am 35 years old. I had a toxic relationship with my parents, especially my mother. My career never started, and I am still looking...

Chazal’s Use of Science 0

Chazal’s Use of Science

The general tendency is not an assertion that the Torah is a source of scientific theory. Chazal simply understood the pesuqim as per then-contemporary science. And it is recorded in the gemara (except according to Rabbeinu Tam) that they changed their opinion when a new theory came along. Just as we today would with our contemporary science.

With G-d’s Help 0

With G-d’s Help

Moshe Steinberg asked on Mi Yodeya on April 2nd, 2018: Does the phrase b’ezras Hashem make sense philosophically and if so, what does it mean? B’ezras Hashem implies to me that a person can do...

Epistemology in the Torah 0

Epistemology in the Torah

There are three verbs in pasuq 31 describing the steps in which being saved at the Red Sea impacted the Jews:

vayyar – they saw
vayyir’u – they felt yir’ah (fear / awe)
vaya’aminu – they believed

Yonah and Perseverance 0

Yonah and Perseverance

A famous rabbi explains the intent behind establishing the book of Yonah as the haftarah for Minchah on Yom Kippur as follows: וכוונתם, כי האדם חושב כמה פעמים לייאש את עצמו שאין יכול לתקן...

Barukh Sheim 0

Barukh Sheim

Reciting Shema on Yom Kippur is unique in that we say the second line, “בָּרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתוֹ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד — Blessed is the name of the Glory of His Rule for all eternity.”...

And with what? With a Shofar 1

And with what? With a Shofar

אמר רבי יהודה משום רבי עקיבא … אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא: … ואמרו לפני בראש השנה מלכיות זכרונות ושופרות. מלכיות: כדי שתמליכוני עליכם. זכרונות: כדי שיעלה זכרוניכם לפני לטובה. ובמה? בשופר. Rabbi Yehudah said...

HaTov Shimkha 0

HaTov Shimkha

We close Birkhas Hoda’ah (“Modim”) “‘HaTov’ shimkha, ulkha na’eh lehodos — your Name is “The Good”, and it is pleasant to praise You.” And yes, it does mean that Hashem’s name, the way we...

Shemeih Rabba 0

Shemeih Rabba

The Arukh haShulchan (OC 56:1,3) discusses the meaning of the opening words of Qaddish “Yisgadel veyisqadeish shemeih rabba“. Praying that Hashem’s Great Name be made great and holy. And since a name is how...

Berakhos and Continuous Creation 0

Berakhos and Continuous Creation

You may have heard the Baal Shem Tov’s thought that the close of the first berakhah before Shema in the morning, “Yotzeir haMe’oros – Who Creates the [Celestial] Lights.” He says that it is...

Do Before Me Like This Order 0

Do Before Me Like This Order

After the Eigel haZahav, Moshe asked to see Hashem’s Glory, and Hashem said a human couldn’t, but to hide in a cleft in the rock of Har Sinai and Hashem would reveal something about...

Rupture and Reconstruction at 25 Years 0

Rupture and Reconstruction at 25 Years

Twenty five years ago, Rabbi Dr. Haym Soloveitchik published “Rupture and Reconstruction: The Transformation of Contemporary Orthodoxy” in Tradition Magazine.1 The paper quickly became the topic of much conversation within the Orthodox community, including being...

Bottom to Top 0

Bottom to Top

1. The Setup A discussion on Facebook made me realize that my own attitude toward halakhah is quite different than Rav Hershel Schachter’s. If I thought there was only one right approach, I’d bet...

18 Av 5689 2

18 Av 5689

In 1929, Arab leadership fomented a wave of violence across Palestine by inventing rumors of a Jewish plans to take over Har haBayis. By Friday, August 23rd, 1929, the local Arabs in Chevron were...

Personal Worth 2

Personal Worth

Tana Devei Eliyahu (Seder Rabba 9:1) asks how it is Devorah came to be shofetes and nevi’ah. Wasn’t Pinechas alive in those days? It answers: מעיד אני עלי את השמים ואת הארץ בין ישראל בין עכו”ם...

Body and Soul 0

Body and Soul

The Shulchan Arukh opens with a discussion of the proper attitude upon awakening and some of the fundamentals of Judaism. And so, the Arukh haShulchan does as well. In Orach Chaim 1:4, R Yechiel...

Torah im Derekh Eretz – Torah uMada 0

Torah im Derekh Eretz – Torah uMada

I wrote the following for a rather informal venue. Lots of acronyms to speed up typing. Given my son Aishey’s upcoming wedding, I don’t have the time to rewrite it, but I wanted to...

Silk Screened Sifrei Torah 0

Silk Screened Sifrei Torah

Over a decade ago, Rabbi Yitzchak Abadi came up with a method for silk-screening Sifrei Torah. The ink is manually pushed through a silk-screen onto a qelaf. Here is a video in which they...

Meshekh Chokhmah – BeChuqosai 0

Meshekh Chokhmah – BeChuqosai

Parashas BeChukosai begins “אם בחוקוני – If you follow My statutes… ” and continues by promising “I will give you your rain .. in its time.” The reward for following Hashem’s laws is measure-for-measure through...

Widen Your Tent on JM in the AM 0

Widen Your Tent on JM in the AM

Nachum Segal interviewed me on the radio during the morning rush hour yesterday. If you’d like to hear something about the book — my objectives, some of the points raised, and a little about...

Meshekh Chokhmah – Behar 0

Meshekh Chokhmah – Behar

Parashas Behar opens with the mitzvah of shemittah. The Meshakh Chokhmah’s first two entries on the parashah are about (1) what shemittah implies about how Hashem gave Eretz Yisrael to us and (2) the...

Meshekh Chokhmah – Emor 0

Meshekh Chokhmah – Emor

Part of parashas Emor (VaYiqra 22:26-23:44) contains a survey of the holy days of the year. It is well known because it is also read on the first day(s) of Sukkos and in the...

Shaarei Yosher – Qedoshim 0

Shaarei Yosher – Qedoshim

Instead of discussing a comment by the Meshekh Chokhmah this week, I chose to present an idea from Rav Shimon Shkop’s introduction to Shaarei Yosher. The thoughts in this shiur are bits taken from...