Living in Isolation

Divrei Torah - tzara’at.

The Torah portion of Tazria begins with a small section on the procedure to be followed pursuant to the birth of a child: “When a woman conceives and gives birth to a male, she shall be contaminated for a seven-day period … On the eighth day, the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.  For […]

Late to Base

Dvar Torah-G-d asked Noah to occupy his time for 120 years to build an ark in order that anyone who would see him should wonder and ask about it

A story is told of a group of soldiers who were on leave from the Israeli Army.  This group was given a number of hours, perhaps a day or two, to be away from base.  The soldiers were ordered to return by a given time on a given day.  The soldiers immensely enjoyed their time away, taking full […]

With the Crooked You Act Perversely

Divrei Torah - Jacob was a wholesome man, abiding in tents.

In the beginning of the Torah section of Toldot (Bereshit 25:27), we read, “And the lads grew up and Esav became a man who knows trapping, a man of the field; but Jacob was a wholesome man, abiding in tents.”  Regarding these descriptions, Rashi comments that “a man who knows trapping” refers to Esav’s ability […]

Beginning of a Rivalry

Divrei Torah-The reason Yishmael was saved was not only as a result of being judged based on his present status

The Torah section of Lekh Lekha marks the beginning of a rivalry – a long standing rivalry that continues to this day.  We read in this Torah section that our forefather Abraham and his wife Sarah are childless for many years (Bereshit 15:2-3).  Sarah then offers her maidservant Hagar to her husband in the hope […]

Appreciating the Simple Life

 On Pesach, we celebrate G-d’s forging us into a free and independent nation with no one to answer to except for Him.  A couple months later, we celebrate G-d’s bequeathing us His own personally crafted constitution for life.  And, as we begin our New Year, we confirm and fortify our recognition of G-d as Supreme […]

Turn Over a New Leaf but Do not Burn Down the Tree

Every year, after we begin a new Jewish year, as we come to the tenth day of the Jewish month of Tishre, we encounter a very special opportunity in our lives.  In His holy Torah (Vayikra 23:27), G-d proclaims, “On the tenth day of this seventh month [Tishre] shall be a day of atonement.” The […]

Understanding our Position

A concept central to the holy day of Rosh HaShana that marks the Jewish New Year is, as found in the second mishna of the tractate Rosh HaShana, that “On the first of the year, all humankind pass before Him.”  The Supreme Being, sole ruler and Creator of the universe, sits, so to speak, in […]

For the Love of G-d

Divrei Torah - At the beginning of the Shemona Esrei prayer, one beseeches G-d, “My L-rd, open my lips, that my mouth may declare Your praise.”

The venerated father-in-law of this essay’s author, R. Hersh Rosenhan, one of the earliest devoted students in America of the illustrious Torah luminary R. Aaron Kotler, who imbibed much of his beloved mentor’s wisdom, has voiced on various occasions an apparent anomaly.  At the beginning of the Shemona Esrei prayer, one beseeches G-d, “My L-rd, […]

A Question of Joy

Divrei Torah - Lag BaOmer

  As the 18th day of the Hebrew month of Iyyar approaches every year, hundreds and thousands of Jews in Israel and even many from abroad prepare for what is seen as a joyous trek and stay in the northern Israel city of Meron at the location of the grave of the famous second century Tanna, […]

Redemption Can be Swift

Divrei Torah - When we celebrate during this holiday of Pesach, we should not treat it as but a commemoration of what once was

After Joseph’s being exiled to a foreign land, enslaved, falsely accused of a crime and imprisoned, we read (Bereshit 41:14), “And Pharaoh sent and summoned Joseph, and they rushed him from the dungeon.”  Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, had a disturbing dream that could only be interpreted by Joseph and, subsequently, redeemed Joseph from all […]