As the month that builds up to the High Holy Days—Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur—the month of Elul has special significance in terms of mending our ways, repenting our… Read more »
In Parashas Vaeschanan, the Torah teaches us the mitzvah of Kriyas Shema, of which the pasuk writes: vedibarta bom, you shall speak them. Chazal derive from the word bom… Read more »
In the last article on the subject of truth and falsehood, we saw that it is permitted to deviate from the truth for Shalom—for the sake of peace and… Read more »
Parashas Shelach brings us the tragic tale of the meraglim, the spies that Moshe sent to scout the Land of Canaan in advance of the planned entry of the… Read more »
Lag B’omer is a day of rejoicing (see Rama Orach Chaim 493:2). Depending on the various minhagim, the mourning customs of sefirah either conclude or are put on hold for a day, tachanun is omitted, and for those who can, being in Meiron – the burial place of Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai – is an unforgettable experience. Let us now discuss some of the background and minhagim of this most interesting holiday.
“משנכנס אדר מרבין בשמחה” Purim is a festival of joy, of simcha, a holiday full of faith in Hashem. In Adar, we are commanded to rejoice even more than usual. for the upcoming Adar and Purim, We collected for you articles related to the… Read more »
Parashas Pekudei involves a detailed inventory of the materials collected for building the Mishkan, and explains what was done with them: “These are the records of the Mishkan, the… Read more »
Parashas Terumah introduces the Mishkan and discusses its construction. As the Ramban explains, the fundamental purpose of the Mishkan, and later of the Mikdash in the Land of Israel,… Read more »
Acceptance of Mitzvos as Part of the Conversion Procedure Two aspects of this week’s parashah connect the weekly reading with an issue that has recently made headlines in Jewish society… Read more »
וישמע יתרו כהן מדין חתן משה את כל אשר עשה אלקים למשה ולישראל עמו And Yisro, priest of Midian and father-in-law of Moshe, heard all that God had done… Read more »
After introducing the principal halachic issues underlying the concept of arvus, in this third and final installment of the series we will discuss a number of concrete questions that… Read more »
The sefer Tochachas Mussar (Introduction) records a fascinating anecdote involving the great Maharsha. According to the tale, two business partners and close friends, one of whom had committed a grave… Read more »
This week’s parashah quotes the blessings that Yaakov gave to his sons. Rashi, commenting on
the blessing to Zevulun, mentions the unique relationship between Yissachar and Zevulun. We take
the opportunity to discuss the Yissachar-Zevulun partnership. What is the nature of this partnership,
whereby Yissachar takes a portion of Zevulun’s income, and Zevulun takes a portion of Yissachar’s
Torah? How, indeed, is this portion taken? Does the agreement cause Yissachar to lose some of
his eternal reward? Which of the two partners is considered the “greater” of the two? These
questions, and more, are discussed in this week’s article.
In pleading with Yosef on behalf of Binyamin, Yehudah, the leader of Yaakov’s sons, includes the following argument: “For your servant became a pledge for the boy unto my… Read more »
After its beginnings in Parashash Vayeitzei, the rest of Sefer Bereishis focuses on Yaakov’s family. In this week’s article we wish to discuss the relationship between two of Yaakov’s twelve… Read more »
One of the most tragic and delicate halahcic questions of the modern day, which must be addressed both by halachic decisors and by political leaders of the State of Israel, is the question of redeeming soldiers or civilians that are taken hostage by terrorist groups. Invariably, the demands of terrorists include the release of imprisoned terrorists, who generally await their return to their former profession. What does halachah have to say on this matter? Can the monetary ransom demanded by conventional captors be compared with the modern-day requests for release of terrorists? Indeed, how would the demand for monetary payment be seen in today’s halachic eye. Inspired by this week’s parashah, which chronicles the most famous case of ‘kidnapping’ in the history of the world–the sale of Yosef to Egypt–we seek to address these issues in this week’s article.
The opening of Parashas Vayishlach speaks about the envoys Yaakov Avinu sent to his brother Eisav. Opinions differ as to whether these were human or angelic envoys, and the… Read more »
The Torah in Parashas Toldos presents Esav as a hunter: “Esav was a hunter, a man of the field” (Bereishis 25:27). This is in contrast to Yaakov, who is described… Read more »
We all know the importance of the age of thirteen for a boy and the age of twelve for a girl. These are the times when a boy or girl comes of age, and becomes responsible for his or her own actions and obligated in the mitzvos of the Torah.
Yet, although the ages are well-known, the sources that reveal their importance is less familiar. One of the sources for the significance of the age thirteen in a boy’s coming of age – in fact, the only Biblical source for the concept – is found in Parashas Vayishlach, as mentioned by Rashi (Nazir 29b) and the Ra’av (Avos 5:21).
When Shimon and Levi came assailed the city of Shechem, the pasuk states (Bereishis 34:25): “The two sons of Yaakov, Shimon and Levi, took each man his sword.” Levi was exactly thirteen years old at the time, and we thus learn that a thirteen-year-old is called a man.
In the current article we will discuss the concept of a child’s “coming of age.” What defines a child’s entering the obligation of mitzvos – age or physical maturity? Is there halachic significance to each of these independently? Are there differences between different mitzvos and halachic concepts, or is halachic maturity uniform for all matters?
Parashas Vayeitzei brings us to the story of Yaakov, the third and last of the three Avos. Specifically, it chronicles the years Yaakov spent in the house of Lavan,… Read more »
Parashas Toldos opens with one of the most renowned transactions of all time: The sale of the birthright from Eisav to Yaakov. Commentaries write at length about this sale,… Read more »
In Parashas Toldos we find Rivkah going to “seek out [the word of] Hashem” concerning the twins that agitated in her womb (Bereishis 25:22). The verse does not reveal where she went, but Rashi (based on Chazal) explains that she visited the beis midrash of Shem.
Different passages of the Midrash teach us that Yitzchak, Yaakov, Yosef and Yehudah all studied at different periods in the study halls of Shem and Eiver. Although Rivkah went there to receive Divine counsel, neither she, nor any other woman, is recorded as having taken part in the actual study of the renowned study hall. The field of Torah study (even before the Torah was given) was reserved for the Fathers of the nation; the Mothers were not involved in it.
In the present article we will discuss the issue of Torah study for women. Is there a prohibition against Torah study for women? Is it permitted for a woman to study Torah on her own? Is there a difference between different parts of Torah? Is there room to distinguish in this matter between past generations and our own?