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Hallel Wars

Long, long ago, in a continent far far away, there emerged a debate about the recitation of Hallel on the night of Pesach in the synagogue. Should it be said...

   
 

Pesach 5775 - Pieces of a Puzzle

Immediately prior to our recitation of the Hagaddah we take the middle matzah and split it in two. The smaller piece is returned and placed between the remainin...

   
 

Pesach 5775 : The Truth Behind Anti-Semitism (Video)

On Pesach, not only do we celebrate that G-D protects us from our enemies, we also celebrate the fact that our enemies want to harm us! How are we to understa...

   
 

Watch: Possible Parah Adumah (Red Heifer) On Outskirts of Lakewood, New Jersey (Video)

A fully red cow, which appears to be usable as the biblical Red Heifer, has been attracting increasing attention on a small farm outside of Lakewood, New Jers...

   
 

Watch: Eye Opener On Pesach Shiurim - How Much Matza Do You Really Need To Eat At The Pesach Seder? (Video)

 כמה מצה, יין ומרור צריך לאכול בליל הסדר? כנראה, פחות ממה שחשבתם... How much Matza do you realy need to ...

   
 

Pesach 5775 - Kol Chamira and Bitul Chometz

We say this Aramaic text just before Pesach every year. We recite it once in the evening and again in the morning. What is behind the wording of Bitul Chomet...

   
 

Pesach 5775: Magen Avos on Seder night -- Which Bracha is First?

 Question: The gabbai of a local minyan calls with the following question: "I do not remember what we did the last time that Pesach began on Shabbos, but ...

   
 

Parshas Tzav/ Shabbos HaGadol - Location, Location, Location

In this week's parsha, a number of the different types of sacrifices are discussed. With regard to the chatas offering, it is written (6:18) "In the place ...

   
 

Parshas Tzav - Thanks for the Pain [Hakomas Matzeiva for Shaya Gross, z"l, will take place, IY"H, Sunday, March 29 at 5:00 at the Agudah Cemetery in Rosedale]

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

   
 

Pesach: Four Sons Are We...

One of most well-known, best-remembered and most often explained parts of the Pesach (Passover) Seder is the description of the four sons and their questions: t...

   
 

Mizmor Lesodah, Parshas Tzav and Erev Pesach

Question #1: Korban Todah or bensching Goimel? “Which is the better way to thank Hashem for a personal salvation, by reciting birchas hagomeil, or by mak...

   
 

Parshas Tzav / Shabos HaGadol - Aderes HaTorah

The Kohen Gadol would bring a Korban Minchah every day called a Minchas Chavitin. Actually, this was the same Korban that he brought on the momentous ...

   
 

Parshas Tzav / Shabos HaGadol - Keep the Fire Burning

“Tzav es Aharon v’es banav laimor: Zos toras ha’olah, hee ha’olah al mok’dah al ha’meezbayach kol ha’lyla ahd ha&rsquo...

   
 

Parshas Tzav / Shabos HaGadol - Happy Thanksgiving!

There is a fascinating custom recorded by the Rama in Shulchan Aruch regarding the three matzos we use on the Seder night. Quoting the Tur, the Rama says that ...

   
 

Parshas Tzav/ Shabbos HaGadol - A Dose Of Inspiration

A Waste Of Time? The Torah tells us in this week's parshah: "צו את אהרן ואת בניו לאמר זאת תורת העלה... - Command Aharon and ...

   
 

Parshas VaYikra - To Err is Human

This Sunday, 2 Nissan, marks the yahrtzeit of my Bubbie. This week's shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmasah, Yehudis bas Reuven Pinchas.  This w...

   
 

Parshas VaYikra - Keep It Honest

“Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: When any man of you bringeth an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the catt...

   
 

Pesach 5775: Freedom from Exile

This Shabbat is a triple header. It is Shabbat (as it is every week!), it is a special parasha (Parashat HaChodesh, which is read every year on the Shabbat that...

   
 

Parshas VaYikra - Put Down The Fork And Bring The Geula

A common quip to describe Jewish holidays: “They tried to kill us. We won. Let’s eat!” It does seem like much of our time during the chagim i...

   
 

Parshas VaYikra - Resilience

Resilience   Although Hashem forgave us for the Golden Calf, it's very memory can still be a cause of misfortune for us until today. The Torah t...

   
 

Inviting The Non-Observant For Pesach

Pesach is filled with Halachic questions. Halachic Hotlines across the country are ringing off the hook. One of the biggest questions that is often asked, h...

   
 

Parshas VaYikra - It's Time to Wake Up!

One can argue that perhaps one of the most significant of all mitzvos is that of  Vidui, the confessing of our sins before G-d that stems from a sincere de...

   
 

Pesach 5775 - Released to Serve

Yetzias Mitzrayim and Ma’amad Har Sinai are the two events which lie at the heart of the Jewish People’s existence and identity. They shape and form...

   
 

OOPS! is no excuse

“As Freud has shown, blunders are not the merest chance. They are the result of suppressed desires and conflicts. They are ripples on the surface of life...

   
 

Watch: Rabbi G. D. Schwartz Explains A Pesach Minhag From The Chofetz Chaim (Video)

Rav Schwartz tells over a story he heard about the Chafetz Chaim from the Chafetz Chaim's son in law, Reb Mendel Zaks ZT"L ...

   
 

Desktop Gardening or Growing Vegetables in Thin Air

Well, not quite thin air, because plants, like the rest of us, require nutrients and water to grow. Although the word “aeroponics” does not show up ...

   
 

Watch: Parshas VaYakhail/Pekudei -Teaching: The Art of the Heart

In this week’s parsha, (35:30-35) Moshe Rabbeinu informs B’nei Yisrael that Betzalel will be in charge of overseeing the construction of the mishkan...

   
 

Insights Into Halacha: More Mitzvah Use: Of Chanuka Oil and Mishloach Manos

As detailed at length in previous articles, Chazal derived several essential Shemitta halachos pertaining to preserving the sanctity of Kedushas Sheviis produce...

   
 

Parshas VaYakhail-Pekudei - Moshe's Strength

The Talmud in Nedarim tells us that Moshe was strong. He spread the covering over the Mishkan. The Gemara challenges this proof. Maybe Moshe was just large? W...

   
 

Parshas VaYakhail/Pekudei - Aderes HaTorah

In Parshas Tetzaveh we read about the instructions given to Klal Yisrael to build the Mishkan. The building plan was then interrupted by the debacle of the Egel...

   
 

Parshas VaYakhail/Pekudei - Crown Molding

Let the work begin. The book of Shemos concludes with the construction of the Mishkan and its holy vessels – one of which is the Shulchan, the golden tab...

   
 

Parshas Vayakhel/Pekudai - Shabbos; Relaxing or Resting / Being Clean

[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 VaYakhail/Pekudei - Delayed Gratification - Dedicated To My Young And Dear Friend, Yitzy T.

This Dvar Torah is dedicated to my young and dear friend, Yitzy T. who has taught me how to live with positivity always. Please have him in mind in your prayer...

   
 

Parshas VaYakhail/Pekudei - Each and Every Day - Holiness is Step by Step

My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail ...

   
 

Parshas VaYakhail/Pekudei - Forgiveness

After Hashem forgave us for the sin of the Golden Calf, He showered us with many gifts. Although His original intention was for us to construct the Mishkan only...

   
 

Parshas Ki Sissa - What's Going on Hear? Le'iluy Nishmas Reb Moshe Fuller, z'l

Tomorrow, Adar 16, is the yahrtzeit of Reb Moshe Fuller, z"l, of Ner Yisroel. This week's shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmaso, Moshe ben C...

   
 

Parshas Ki Sissa - A Poor Man With An Outstretched Hand

 This past Wednesday afternoon (Taanis Esther), I was on the way home from taking my neighbor downtown to Penn Station. When coming back home to Pikesville...

   
 

Parshas Ki Sissa - What is an 'Ayin Hara'?

God instructs Moshe that when he takes the census of the Israelites, they must be numbered indirectly: every man will give half a shekel, and the money thus c...

   
 

Parshas Ki Sisa - Passion

Our sages question how it was possible that a nation who were given the Torah by G-d Himself, and who reached the spiritual level of prophecy, could fall to suc...

   
 

Matanos L'Evyonim - A Primer

The mitzvah of Matanos L’Evyonim on Purim is to give at least one gift to two different poor people on Purim day. The plural form of the word “L&r...

   
 

Purim, Amalek And Snow: The Dark Side

The blizzard hits and life goes haywire. Understanding the mystical challenge can make it a gorgeous blanket of snow. This has been a difficult winter in A...

   
 

Purim 5775 - Lifnei Hashem

The gemara in Megilla says only a nevuoh which would be relevant to all future generations were included in Tanach. Another gemara says that when the debate was...

   
 

Purim 5775 - It's All About Others

In general, the mitzvos that accompany other festivals bear a logical connection to the festival itself. It is not difficult to understand why we light candles ...

   
 

Parshas Ki Sisa - Here's Lookin' At Ya!

The Torah world was recently abuzz with the amazing discovery of a nearly one hundred year old, brief movie clip of the saintly Chofetz Chaim. If anyone ever wo...

   
 

Klal Yisrael - Purim and the Blessing of Unity

Klal Yisrael.   All of Israel.  One people.  One community.  One.  There is no greater blessing for Jews than unity, and no gre...

   
 

Watch: Purim - A Day of Laughter (Video)

 Purim - A Day of Laughter ...

   
 

Hilchos Uminhagei Purim

The following is meant as a convenient review of Halachos pertaining to Purim. The Piskei Din for the most part are based purely on the Sugyos, Shulchan Aruch a...

   
 

From Cairo to Frankfurt (continued)

Purim Cairo and Purim Frankfurt Is there a halachic basis for the various local observances, such as Purim Frankfurt, Purim Cairo and Purim Ancona? [Ed. Note:...

   
 

Parshas Tetzaveh/Zachor - Fringe Benefits?

Much of this week's parsha deals with the vestments that the kohein gadol and regular kohein wore when they performed the service. Alth...

   
 

Parshas Tetzaveh/Zachor - Aderes HaTorah

 In this week's Parsha, Hakadash Boruch Hu tells Moshe Rabeinu to bring close Aharon and his children to become the Kohanim. The Pasuk says "he has to...

   
 

Parshas Tetzaveh/Zachor - Winning the Lottery!

I don’t know about you, but besides getting junk phone calls every day (for everything under the sun, including energy plans, insurance plans, free vacati...

   
 

Parshas Tetzaveh - On The Clock 24/7

[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...

   
 

Parshas Tetzaveh - It Takes a Village...The Music of a Community

In the movie, Mary Poppins, we are introduced to Dick van Dyke’s character, Bert, when he is performing as a “one-man band.”  It is fasci...

   
 

Parshas Tetzaveh/Zachor - Feasting at the Banquet of Achashverosh

Based on a shiur by HaRav Yitzchak Sorotzkin, shlita, Rosh Yeshiva Telz and Mesivta of Lakewood The gemara in tractate Megilla presents a conversation between ...

   
 

Parshas Tetzaveh - Flying By the Seat Of Our Pants

Of all the traits one might have used to describe our greatest and most persistent enemy, Amalek, the Torah merely states ולא ירא אלהי-ם - דברים...

   
 

Parshas Tetzaveh - The Prerequisite For Holiness

Our sages explain that although we don't necessarily understand the reasons behind the details of the construction and service in the Mishkan, they are all...

   
 

From Cairo to Frankfurt (In Honor of Parshas Zachor)

Purim Cairo and Purim Frankfurt Is there a halachic basis for the various local observances, such as Purim Frankfurt, Purim Cairo and Purim Ancona? Answer: Lo...

   
 

Adar - More & More Simcha!:-)

[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 Terumah - Partners With Hashem

ועשית מנרת זהב טהור מקשה תיעשה...(פרק כה׳ פסוק לא׳)״ Rashi explains that Moshe had difficulty building the menorah. Ther...

   
 

Parshas Terumah - Location, Location, Location

This past Tuesday, 28 Shevat, was the yahrtzeit of my wife's grandfather, Rabbi Yitzchak Yeres. The shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmaso, Yitzchak Ch...

   
 

Parshas Terumah - Re-Experiencing Sinai

As we left Mount Sinai we began building a sanctuary in the desert. Sinai and the Tabernacle were not independent concepts. The Ramban taught that the purpose...

   
 

Parshas Terumah - Kosher Money

“… v’yeekchu li termuah … • Let them take for Me a portion” [Exodus 25:2]. “V’asu li Mikdash, v’sha&rsquo...

   
 

Parshas Terumah - Put Down the Candy Bar and Put on a Coat

A fascinating conversation between the Roman Emperor Antinonus and Rebbe Yehuda HaNasi is recorded in the gemara (Tosafos in Bava Basra, 144b). Antinonus was e...

   
 

Parshas Terumah - Toiling in Torah

This week's Parsha, discusses the various vessels used in the special service in the Mishkan [tabernacle]. One of them is the Menorah. The Gemara in Mena...

   
 

Parshas Terumah - Holy Ashes

This week’s Parsha deals with the building of the Mishkan. In comparison to the past Parshiyos, when we reach Parshas Terumah we seem somewhat disconnecte...

   
 

Parshas Terumah - Great Neighbors

They shall make a Sanctuary for me so that I may dwell among them... This oft quoted verse is perhaps most famous for its expressing the sentiment of G-d&rsquo...

   
 

Parshas Terumah - To Hold a Mirror Up to the Divine - Tzedakah and Gemilut Chasadim

Are all mitzvoth “created” equal?  On the one hand, it would be wrong to suggest a hierarchy of mitzvot; that one is more important than anoth...

   
 

Parshas Mishpatim - With Friends Like These, Who Needs Oxes?

One of the laws dealt with in this week's parsha is that of damages incurred when one's animal gores another. The pasuk states (21:35) "v`chi yigof sh...

   
 

Parshas Mishpatim - Aderes HaTorah

This week's Parsha recounts the incident in which a Jewish person has stolen and doesn't have the means to repay what he stole. He is then p...

   
 

Parshas Mishpatim - Essential Guidelines Following Matan Torah

At the very end of Parshas Yisro – following the giving of the Ten Commandments and the Revelation at Sinai – there is a short paragraph in the Tora...

   
 

Parshas Mishpatim - The Need For A Chosen Nation (Part 2)

This week's parshah discusses civil law, beginning with the proper and respectful way to treat slaves. Why were the laws pertaining to the treatment of sl...

   
 

Parshas Mishpatim - Transformation

Kabbolas HaTorah that concludes in this week’s parsha is also a phase of Yetzias Mitzrayim. The introduction to Kabbolas HaTorah by Hashem tells us that H...

   
 

Parshas Mishpatim - 'My Pleasure!' vs 'Fine I'll Do It'

[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 Mishpatim - Let the Sun Shine In!

What compels a thief to steal? Is it simply a uncontrollable hunger for something he lacks? Don’t we all pine for things we would like but can’t aff...

   
 

Parshas Mishpatim - To Walk Behind God When We Give, Our Greatest Gift is Dignity

The print advertisements for Patek Phillippe, a luxury watch brand, often show a father with his son along with the tag line, “You never actually own a Pa...

   
 

The Lost Gift - Parshas Mishpatim and Shomrim

While learning in my study one day, I was greeted by a knock at the door. I opened the door to find two women, Rivkah and Leah, standing in the doorway. &ldquo...

   
 

The Structure of The Good Society (Yitro, Covenant & Conversation 5775 On Ethics)

In the House of Lords there is a special chamber used, among other things, as the place where new peers are robed before their introduction into the House. Wh...

   
 

Parshas Yisro - Making an Impression

At the beginning of the parsha, we learn that Yisro was so inspired by the news of the great miracles of the Jews' exodus from Egypt that he felt compelled...

   
 

Parshas Yisro - What's In It For Us?

“When HaShem was ready to give the Torah, He first went to all the nations of the world and offered it to them. One after another, the nations all asked, ...

   
 

Insights Into Halacha: More Common Kiddush

Have you ever wondered why after partaking of Kiddush in shul, many people nonetheless make Kiddush again at the onset of their Shabbos Day Seudah? If one alrea...

   
 

Parshas Yisro - Healthy Ears

The Parsha beings with the words ‘Vayishma Yisro’ that Yisro HEARD. All the commentators discuss what he heard and why that motivated him to ...

   
 

Parshas Yisro - The Grass IS Greener on the Other Side!

One of the Six Remembrances we are commanded to remember each day is to recall the receiving of the Torah at Mount Sinai in its full grandeur. There is an anci...

   
 

Parshas Yisro - Who Can Legislate Morality?

If there is no God, everything is permitted. - Fyodor Dostoevsky No one understands better than the Jew that God is the foundation not only for behavior &ndas...

   
 

Parshas Yisro - The Need For A Chosen Nation

In this week's parshah Hashem gave us the Torah, thereby setting us aside as His chosen nation. Before this point in time there was no concept of a Jew. Ad...

   
 

Do People Live in the Zoo, Part 2

Last week, I raised the following questions: Question #1: Checking inside the eruv “Can the eruv fences, walls, and wires be checked religiously every...

   
 

Parshas B'Shalach - Refuah Shlaimah Efrayim Zalman ben Haviva Itta

This week's shtikle is once again dedicated bizchus a refuah sheleimah to our son, Efrayim Zalman ben Haviva Itta, who is once again in the hospital over s...

   
 

Parshas B'Shalach - The Essence of Yosef

“Va’yeekach Moshe es atzmos Yosef eemo … • And Moshe took the bones of Yosef with him ...” Exodus 13:19 While the rest of the Jew...

   
 

Parshas B'Shalach - Heroism

Dedicated to the memories of two very special men, our uncles,  Chaim Ze'ev Quinn (Uncle Willy) and Chaim Fialkoff (Uncle Herman).  Students in...

   
 

Parshas B'Shalach - Destroying Amalek In Our Times

At the end of this week's parshah, the nation of Amalek wages war on the Jewish people. The Torah recounts that Moshe told Yehoshua to lead the Jews in bat...

   
 

Parshas B'Shalach - Mind Your Mannas

The splitting of the sea and the miraculous provision of manna are two fascinating components of the exodus story. Both these two events however took place post...

   
 

Parshas B'Shalach - Watch Rabbi Eli Scheller's One Minute on the Parsha

Parshas B'Shalach -  The Hidden Hand ...

   
 

Life as a Symphony - Shirah and Becoming an Adult

We are each but a quarter note in a grand symphony.                   ...

   
 

Parshas B'Shalach - Combining the Two

Essay 1.     'Combining The Two'                &n...

   
 

Do People Live in the Zoo?

 Question #1: Checking inside the eruv “Can the eruv fences, walls, and wires be checked religiously every week, yet the eruv is invalid?” Qu...

   
 

Halachic Analysis: May I Borrow Your Snow Blower?

The Chofetz Chaim wrote a number of famous works. He wrote the Mishnah Berurah commentary on the Orach Chaim section of Shulchan Aruch. He also wrote Sefer Ch...

   
 

Parshas Bo - Coming or Going?

In the beginning of the Parsha, Hashem tells Moshe to ‘Come to Paroh…..’ Why does it say COME to Paroh? Shouldn’t it say GO to Paroh? ...

   
 

Parshas Bo - Renewal

The first mitzvah that the Jewish people were given in Egypt was Kiddush HaChodesh, the commandment to designate each new month of the lunar cycle.  Why w...