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Parshas Mikeitz/Shabbos Chanukah 5775 - Voluntary Thanks!

As part of the Hallel we recite all eight days of Chanukah, we include the following pesukim from Tehillim (116) "Ana HaShem ki ani avdecha. Ani avd'cha be...

   
 

Chanukah TOMO Shmuess 5775

Chanukahh Shmuess 5775 As we enter Chanukah, we need to review what the Rambam tells the story of Chanukah and describes who the Greeks were. Mishneh Torah is ...

   
 

Parshas Mikeitz/Shabbos Chanukah 5775 - What Side Are We On?

The Chanukah story took place 2190 years ago in the year 176 BCE. At that time the Jews lived in Israel in relative peace. Yet, while we were living a tradition...

   
 

Parshas Mikeitz/Shabbos Chanukah 5775 - What Yaakov 'Saw' in Mitzraim

“Va’yar Yaakov ki yesh shever b’Mitzraim… • Jacob saw that there were provisions in Egypt…” Genesis 42:1 The followi...

   
 

Parshas Mikeitz/Shabbos Chanukah 5775 - Aderes HaTorah

In this week's parsha, Yosef's men found that Binyamin had "stolen" his goblet. To steal the viceroy's goblet was an extremely serious&...

   
 

Parshas Mikeitz/Shabbos Chanukah 5775 - Hail to the Women! It's Not Just About Latkes!

 There is a fascinating custom that calls for women to refrain from work activity while the Menorah remains lit, or at least for the initial half hour. Thi...

   
 

Chanukah 5775:- The Wisdom of the Dreidle - Comfort in an Impossible World (Photo Essay)

Can a simple top, a delightful toy for children, really speak to me in the aftermath of tragedy? In the aftermath of a Har Nof?  Although some might sugge...

   
 

May Oil of Shmittah Be Used for Ner Chanukah?

The kedusha of peiros shvi’is is mechayev many different halachos pertaining to the way the peiros are to be consumed and treated. For example, the Gemara...

   
 

Insights Into Halacha: The Chanuka Candle / Havdalah Hullabaloo

Chanuka, O Chanuka… Just thinking about the upcoming holiday of Chanuka should be enough to warm the cockles of anyone’s heart. With Menorah light...

   
 

Parshas Mikeitz/Shabbos Chanukah 5775 - Defining Moments

In this week's parsha the שר המשקים, Chamberlain of the Cupbearers, finally remembered Yosef and mentioned him to פרעה, recommending that he re...

   
 

Chanukah 5775 -The Successful Jew

The story of Chanukah teaches us that our mission as a nation is not merely to survive. Our mission is to flourish. Even in our darkest hours, we are forever fo...

   
 

Parshas Miketz - Guest Post by Dr. Michael Samet

In Parshas Vayeishev, the Pasuk tells us that as Yoseif approaches the brothers in Dosan, the brothers conspire to kill Yoseif.  Reuven objects a...

   
 

Parsha Vayeshev - A Cover Up

After throwing Yoseif into the pit, the brothers had clearly paid no attention to Reuvein’s previous demand and were still contemplating killing Yoseif. F...

   
 

Parsha Vayeshev - The Struggle for Peace and Tranquility

 Jacob dwelt in the land of his father's sojournings, in the land of Canaan (Genesis 37:1).  Yaakov had one simple desire, “Bikeysh Yaakov...

   
 

The Heroism of Tamar (Vayeshev, Covenant & Conversation 5775 on Ethics)

This is a true story that took place in the 1970s. Rabbi Dr Nahum Rabinovitch, then Principal of Jews College, the rabbinic training seminary in London where ...

   
 

Parsha Vayeshev - Chanukah 5774: Preparing For Chanukah

[Ed. Note] Out of the respect and recognition of the impact made by longtime BJL friend and contributor, Reb Shaya Gross, z’l, we will maintain a living m...

   
 

Parshas VaYshev - Attachment Parenting

Yosef Hatzaddik was a teenager with most of the Jewish world out to get him. He stayed strong. The wife of his boss Potiphar tried to seduce him but he would no...

   
 

Parshas VaYshev - Being Grateful ' Even for the 'Small' Things

 “Va’yishma Reuven va’yatzilainu mi’yadam. … • And Reuven heard, and he rescued him from their hand …” Gen...

   
 

Parshas VaYshev - 'Biz a Toizent und Tzvei Hundred!' Friends Forever!

After the tortuous events that lead up to the selling of Yosef down to Egypt, and the awareness of  the resulting intense pain and grief their father Yaako...

   
 

Parshas VaYshev - Aderes HaTorah

In this week's Parsha, Yosef Hatzadik finds himself in the house of Potiphar. He is faced with the tremendous temptation of being seduced by Potiphar'...

   
 

Chanukah 5775 - Getting Our Hearts Back In It

Chanukah – Getting Our Hearts Back In It based on a shiur by HaRav Yitzchak Sorotzkin, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva Telz and Mesivta of Lakewood The commentator ...

   
 

Torah or Menorah?

To learn or not to learn? That is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind of halacha to light the Chanukah licht at home thus leaving seder early...

   
 

Celebrity? Stardom? Glory

“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”              &...

   
 

Parshas VaYashev - This Too Is For My Best

In this week's parsha, Yosef's brothers sell him as a slave to a caravan of Arabs headed to Egypt. The Torah tells us that the wagon that the Arabs we...

   
 

Parshas VaYishlach - The Two Sides of Eisav

Before his confrontation with Eisav, Yaakov prays to HaShem (32:12) to save him miyad achi, miyad Eisav, from my brother, from Eisav. Ohr HaChayim addresses the...

   
 

Parshas VaYishlach - Introspective Identity

It was an inevitable reality.  Yaakov knew the day would come when he would have to face his brother, Esav.  Would Esav be seething with anger or had ...

   
 

Parshas Vayishlach - The Seven Headed Snake

The Pasuk tells us that Yaakov bowed down seven times, and then Eisav ran forward and hugged and kissed Yaakov. Rav Shimon Bar Yochai’s opinion is that ...

   
 

Parshas VaYishlach - Aderes HaTorah

This week's Parsha chronicles the members of Eisav's family and the hierarchy of his empire. Those that are of greater importance are called the "Aluf...

   
 

Parshas VaYishlach - A Large Dose of Humility...

“[Va’yomer Yaakov] … katonti mikol ha’chasidim u’mikol ha’emes asher ah’seesah es av’dehcha…  &bull...

   
 

Parhsas VaYishlach - Momma

In the midst of an action packed Parshah; the wrestling match with an angel, the tense-filled moments as Yaakov finally meets up with Esav, the tragic abduction...

   
 

Parhsas VaYishlach - Limiting is Liberating

This week’s Torah portion includes the famous reunion of Yaakov and Esav, brothers at polar opposites of the spiritual spectrum meeting for the first time...

   
 

Insights Into Halacha: The Gid HaNasheh Incongruity

In this week’s parsha, Parshas Vayishlach, after Yaakov Avinu’s epic battle with Eisav’s guardian angel[1], where he got injured in his hip-so...

   
 

'I Have Lived with Laban' Our Galut in the Secular World

The Har Nof slaughter is just the latest atrocity in a history of atrocities perpetrated against Jews.  The wickedness pressing in around us feels relentle...

   
 

Parhsas VaYishlach - HaShem Runs the World

In this week's פרשה, Yaakov learns that עשו and a small army are on their way to attempt to kill him. The pasuk says that "Yaakov feared greatly". T...

   
 

The Halacha and History of the Gid Hanosheh

“And Yaakov was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man realized that he was unable to defeat Yaakov, he struck the “ka...

   
 

Parshas VaYaitzay - Living, Learning, Accepting

It was the dawn of a new age.  The era of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs paved the way for Twelve Tribes and the beginnings of the Nation of Israel.  T...

   
 

Parshas VaYaitzay - Don't Give Up!

One of the most painful dialogues portrayed in the Torah is the conversation that takes place between the beloved but barren wife, Rachel and her husband Yaakov...

   
 

Love Is Not Enough (Vayetse, Covenant & Conversation on Ethics 5775)

Judaism is supremely a religion of love: three loves. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might....

   
 

Parshas Vayaitzei - The Perfect Picture

The beginning of this week's Parsha speaks of Yaakov leaving the Yeshiva of Shem and Ever after 14 years of intense learning. It is now that he has the fam...

   
 

Parshas VaYaitzay - Twelve to One

[Ed. Note] Out of the respect and recognition of the impact made by longtime BJL friend and contributor, Reb Shaya Gross, z’l, we will maintain a living m...

   
 

Halachically Speaking - Thanksgiving and Eating Turkey

 Much has been discussed over the years regarding Thanksgiving dinner. We will discuss whether such a party is allowed, and if turkey may be served. The un...

   
 

Parshas VaYeitzei - Aderes HaTorah

In this week's Parsha, Yaakov Avinu and his family are all in transit towards Eretz Yisroel. Yaakov turned back alone and it was at that vulnerable moment ...

   
 

Failure is Our Only Option; Success is Built on a Foundation of Failed Attempts

Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly. - John F. Kennedy “ Look the day is still long, it is not yet time to bring the livestock in; wate...

   
 

Parshas VaYeitzei - I Can Do Anything

I Can Do Anything  In פרק כט׳ פסוק ב׳-ט׳, we are told that when Yaakov was journeying to Lavan's house, he stopped by a well. The well ...

   
 

Insights Into Halacha: Thanksgiving: Harmless Holiday or Chukos HaGoyim?

One of the interesting aspects of being American and living in the ‘Medinashel Chessed’ is dealing with secular holidays. A day off from work, more ...

   
 

Is it Time for Maariv?

Question #1: Why do we daven maariv on Friday evenings in the summer well before sunset, yet the rest of the week and in the winter we daven mincha immediately...

   
 

Parshas Toldos - Sneaky Appetizer - Dedicated to HaRav Yaakov Moshe Kulefsky, ZT'L, Whose Yahrzeit is Tuesday, 3 Kislev

This week's shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmas my rebbe and Rosh HaYeshivah of Yeshivas Ner Yisroel, Harav Yaakov Moshe Kulefsky, zt"l (Yaakov Moshe...

   
 

Parshas Toldos -Aderes HaTorah

In the onset of this week's Parsha, we find Yitzchak and Rivka davening to have a child. The Pasuk says that "Yitzchak pleaded with Hashem on behalf of his...

   
 

Parshas Toldos - Seeing Different Worlds in a Red Lentil Stew

“Va’yazed Yaakov na’zeed, va’yavo Esav min ha’sadeh v’hu ayeif • And Yaakov simmered a stew, and Esav came in from the ...

   
 

Parshas Toldos - Become the Tzadik!

In honor of my Children Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch and Raizy Haber of Los Angeles, who gave birth to a baby boy last night. May all their children walk in the light of H...

   
 

Parshas Toldos - Don't Place All The Eggs in One Basket

[Ed. Note] Out of the respect and recognition of the impact made by longtime BJL friend and contributor, Reb Shaya Gross, z’l, we will maintain a living m...

   
 

Parshas Toldos - Only The Paranoid Survive

In this week’s parsha we are taught of the “fight” between Yaakov and Eisav that caused their mother great anguish. “Vayisrotzitzu habon...

   
 

Parshas Toldos - Seeing The Value In Others

This week's parsha tells us the narrative of the birth of Yaakov and Esuv, and how each one seemed to have had their path cut out for them from conception....

   
 

Parshas Toldos - Ish Tam Yoshev Oholim

The Rosh haYeshiva gave this shmuess this past Monday night. The next morning the religion of violence murdered a perfect model of the Ish Tam Yoshev oholim, ou...

   
 

The Blessing of a Father - Isaac's 'Blindness'?

The choreography of Yaakov’s “theft” of Esav’s blessing is well-known.  Favored by Rivkah, he conspires with her to take advantage ...

   
 

Parshas Toldos - Wellness

It is alleged by both the Vilna Gaon and Reb Tzadok that the first time any word appears in the Torah therein lies its root and essence, the ‘genetic&rsqu...

   
 

Rav Yehudah Hachassid and his Shidduchin

At the end of our parsha, Yaakov is sent eastward to look for a shidduch. This provides an opportunity to discuss: Rav Yehudah Hachassid and his Shidduchin Que...

   
 

Parshas Chayei Sara - The Sanctity Of The "Average" Jew

In 'פרק כד׳ פסוק סז Rashi explains that when Sara was alive, there were three open miracles that occurred in her tent. Her lamp burned without ...

   
 

Parshas Chayei Sarah: Proper Balance

[Ed. Note] Out of the respect and recognition of the impact made by longtime BJL friend and contributor, Reb Shaya Gross, z’l, we will maintain a living m...

   
 

Parshas Chayei Sara - Rebellion With a Cause

This week's shtikle is dedicated le'ilui nishmas my brother Efrayim Yechezkel ben avi mori Reuven Pinchas whose yahrtzeit was this past Tuesday, ...

   
 

Parshas Chayei Sara - Belssed Souls

As Rivkah is about to take leave to meet her future husband, Lavan and family bestow a parting blessing upon the new bride. “Our sister, may you come to ...

   
 

Parshas Chayei Sara - Aging Gracefully

 “And the life of Sarah was one hundred years and twenty years and seven years; [these were] the years of the life of Sarah (Genesis 23:1).” I...

   
 

Parshas Chayei Sarah - Aderes HaTorah

This week's Parsha begins with the passing of Sara Imainu. Avraham mourns for Sarah and then immediately tends to her burial with the purchase of Ma&#...

   
 

Parshas Chayei Sarah - In District Court

“Va’yaitzai Yitzchak la’su’ach ba’sadeh leefnos ah’rev… And Yitzchak went out to meditate in the field towards evenin...

   
 

In Memory Of Sarah Imeinu: Fasting And Feasting On A Yahrzeit

Question #1: “My father’s yahrzeit falls during the week of sheva brachos for my grandson. May I attend the sheva brachos Question #2: “My ya...

   
 

Parshas Vayaira - Let's Be friends

Imagine life without laughter. Laughter is a sign of joy, friendship and satisfaction with life. But laughter can also indicate derision and cruelty, the cynica...

   
 

The Binding of Isaac (Vayera, Covenant & Conversation 5775 on Ethics)

“Take your son, your only son, the one you love—Isaac—and go to the land of Moriah. Offer him there as a burnt offering on a mount...

   
 

Insights Into Halacha: Ma'aseh Avos = Halacha L'Ma'aseh

When it comes to the parshiyos of sefer Bereishis, many people mistakenly kick back, relax and go on “cruise control”. They think that now is the ti...

   
 

Parshas Vayaira - An Authentic Symphony

[Ed. Note] Out of the respect and recognition of the impact made by longtime BJL friend and contributor, Reb Shaya Gross, z’l, we will maintain a living m...

   
 

Parshas VaYaira - With All Your Heart

When HaShem instructs Avraham to take Yitzchak and perform the akeidah, He commands (22:2), "Please take your son, your only son, that you love, Yitzchak..." Ra...

   
 

Parshas VaYaira - The First Bracha of Shmoneh Esrei

A Mishnah in Brachos (chapter 5) begins: “One who prayed and erred, it is a bad sign for him” [Note: All translations and comments on the Gemarah ar...

   
 

Parshas VaYaira - Aderes HaTorah

This week's Parsha begins with Hashem coming to visit Avraham as he recovers from his Bris Milah. The Pasuk tells us that while Avraham was in Hashem'...

   
 

Parshas VaYaira - Man Of The World

So much happened in the life of Abraham that is not recorded in the Torah. The Midrashim are full of information about Avraham Avinu’s life. When the Tora...

   
 

Making Dairy Bread

The menu of what Avraham served his guests included both dairy and meat, provided an opportunity to discuss the question concerning whether one may prepare milc...

   
 

Parshas Lech Lecha - Walking Ahead

[Ed. Note] Out of the respect and recognition of the impact made by longtime BJL friend and contributor, Reb Shaya Gross, z’l, we will maintain a living m...

   
 

Parshas Lech Lecha - Reflections on Home and Travel

Baruch Hashem it is now a little over a week since my wife and I have returned from our extended visit to Eretz Yisrael, where we joined in the celebration of a...

   
 

Parshas Lech Lecha: The Real Test

A Weekly Shtikle Mazal Tov to my cousin Menachem Seliger of London on his marriage to Malkah Levinson of Manchester today. Mazal Tov to the ganse...

   
 

Parshas Lech Lecha: Father Knows Best

Avraham Avinu, our first Patriarch is poised to accept the command of Milah, circumcision. G-d reveals that subsequent to fulfilling this covenant, Avrohom will...

   
 

Parshas Lech Lecha - Walking Into The Wilderness

Were you ever called upon to walk into the unknown; to step into the wilderness for something you believe in? Were you ever asked to take a risk in order to be...

   
 

Geshem or Gashem?!

On Shmini Atzeres, as per the Mishna’s instruction[1] and codified by the Shulchan Aruch[2], world Jewry started reciting “Gevuros Geshamim B’...

   
 

Parshas Lech Lecha: Tethered to the Past, Reaching for the Future

“And the Lord said to Abram, "Go forth (Lech Lecha) from your land and from your birthplace and from your father's house, to the land that I will sho...

   
 

A Shemittah Glossary

Question #1: Shemittah or shevi’is? “What is the difference between shemittah and shevi’is?” Question #2: Sefichin “What are se...

   
 

Parshas Noach & MarCheshvan- The All Or Nothing Phenomenon

[Ed. Note] Out of the respect and recognition of the impact made by longtime BJL friend and contributor, Reb Shaya Gross, z’l, we will maintain a living m...

   
 

Parshas Noach - What Makes A Forefather?

This past Wednesday, 28th of Tishrei, was the yahrtzeit of my dear friend, Daniel Scarowsky, a"h. This week's shtikle is dedicated leiluy nishmaso, Daniel ...

   
 

Parshas Noach - 'These Are The Flood Waters Of Noah!' - Isaiah 54;9

“These Are The Flood Waters Of Noah!” Isaiah 54;9 Noah said to Moshe: ‘I’m greater than you; I was saved from the generation of the...

   
 

Parshas Noach - Aderes HaTorah

In this week's Parsha, the Torah tells us that Noach, his wife and his children all went into the teiva -"Mipnei  mei hamabul"- because of the wa...

   
 

Parshas Noach - Ticket to Ride

It’s hard to believe that we are already beyond the Yomim Tovim. We were uplifted during Rosh Hashana, inspired on Yom Kippur, joyously celebrated the da...

   
 

Noach - A Human Faith

A priest and a pastor from the nearby parishes stood along the side of the roadway, holding up a sign that reads, “The end is near!  Turn around befo...

   
 

Beyond Nature (Noach, Covenant & Conversation 5775 on Ethics)

Are we naturally good or naturally bad? On this great minds have argued for centuries. Hobbes believed that we have naturally “a perpetual and restless ...

   
 

Parshas Bereishis - You Should Be Blessed

A number of times throughout the gemara and in later seforim as well, with regards to a chumrah, we find the term tavo alav berachah, a blessing shall be bestow...

   
 

Sukka on Shmini Atzeres?

Different minhagim come to the forefront this time of year, and growing up spending many a Yom Tov among Jews of all stripes, in various kosher hotels, makes th...

   
 

Did the Kohanim Eat in a Succah?

The Torah gives us a positive commandment to eat and sleep in a succah for seven days, but did this requirement apply to the Kohanim serving in the Temple as&nb...

   
 

Succos 5775 - Fragrant Midos

A couple of exciting Mazal Tov dedications to start the year: Mazal Tov to my nephew Dovid Nisson Shonek of Far Rockaway on his engagement to Tova Lidsky of Pas...

   
 

Succos 5775 - Aderes HaTorah

The joyous Yom Tov of Sukkos is approaching. For one week a year, we move out of our homes, and into little huts with bamboo roofs. One opinion is that this is ...

   
 

Sukkos 5775: Understanding The Ushpizin

[Ed. Note] Out of the respect and recognition of the impact made by longtime BJL friend and contributor, Reb Shaya Gross, z’l, we will maintain a living m...

   
 

Sukkos - An Overview

As everyone is busy building their Sukkah in preparation of the impending Yom Tov, it is important to realize that we must prepare in other ways too. We shou...

   
 

Yom Kippur 5775 - Back to the Basics

 On the morning of Yom Kippur in the days when the Temple stood the Kohen Gadol would don the four special ‘White Garments’ fashioned from Pelu...

   
 

Yom Kippur 5775 - Aderes HaTorah

The Gemara (Bava Kama 50a) states that one who says that Hakadosh Baruch Hu is a "vatran" (that He dismisses wrongdoings), has forfeited his life. As a source f...

   
 

Yom Kippur 5775 - Soveya is the Difference between Life and Death ' Blessing and Curse

On Yom Kippur we are commanded to employ five methods of self affliction to help achieve atonement for our wrongdoings. We refrain from five pleasurable activit...