Login  

Register  

 

Parshas VaEschanan / Nachamu - Rest Assured!

Today, the 15th of Av, is the yahrtzeit of my Opa, Mr. George Jakobovits. This week's shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmaso, Tovia Yehudah ben Yoel, z...

   
 

Tu B'Av

The Mishna in Taanis tells us that there are no happier days for the Jewish People than Yom Kippur and the fifteenth day of Av. On those days the maidens of J...

   
 

Parshas VaEschanan / Nachamu - The Land of Love

In Australia there was a man named Tom. He could be difficult to deal with but everyone had patience for him because they knew that his shortcomings were not ...

   
 

Nachamu, Nachamu Ami

On Sunday, Tishah B’Av, we reached the deepest part of the three-week mourning period over the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash. We sat on the floor, w...

   
 

Parshas VaEschanan / Nachamu - Night and Day, Dark and Light

It is a family custom that every now and again, someone will write a ‘family update’ and send out e-mail news about what’s going on in their f...

   
 

Insights Into Halacha: Smoking and Halacha: A Historical Perspective

The question of how smoking is viewed through the lens of halacha is not a new one. In fact, there is abundant halachic literature dating back to seventeenth an...

   
 

Parshas VaEschanan /Shabbos Nachamu /Tu B'Av - The Business of the Torah

Delivered at Telshe by Rosh HaYeshiva Maran HaGaon HaRav Mordechai Gifter, ZT"L on the Holy Shabbos Va'eschonon, 1969 "Beware, lest your heart become allu...

   
 

Tu B'Av and the Secret to Good Marriage

[ED Note:] In honor of Tu B'Av of and the summer wedding season, Rabbi Daniel Rose, author of Building Eternity, will be offering a special series of insig...

   
 

Parshas VaEschanan - You Are Priceless

The Gemara in Sanhedrin דף עד׳ explains that if someone threatens to kill you unless you sin, Hashem commands you to commit the sin and live, as the pasuk ...

   
 

Parshas VaEschanan - Born to Be Happy

כי תוליד בנים ובני בנים ונושנתם בארץ והשחתם...דברים ד כה, When you beget children and grandchildren and will have be...

   
 

Tu B'Av: Getting Up From Shiva

[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...

   
 

Where Does My Shemoneh Esrei End?

Question #1: Slow on the draw “The other day, I was finishing Shemoneh Esrei as the chazzan began Kedushah, but I had not yet recited the sentence beginn...

   
 

Parshas Devarim / Shabbos Chazon - Appreciate His Gift!

A Weekly Shtikle Mazal Tov to Yisroel Meir & Miriam Shonek on the birth of a yet-to-be-named daughter, my first great niece. Mazal Tov to the ganse mishpach...

   
 

Shabbos Chazon Talk: Mourning For Jerusalem

In the first Haftorah of the Three Weeks, Yirmiyahu sees a vision of a bare almond branch.  He describes this to Hashem as “makel shakaid” an a...

   
 

Special Halachos When Tisha B'Av Is 'Pushed Off' Until Sunday and Baltimore Zmanim for Tishah B'Av 5775

Baltimore Zmanim for Tisha B’Av: July 25 - Motzaei Shabbos – Shkiah/Fast Begins 8:25 PM - Z’man Melacha 9:11 PM / 9:38 PM - Sunday: Chatzos 1:...

   
 

Comprehensive Hilchos Tisha B'Av 5775

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

   
 

Parshas Devarim / Shabbos Chazon - Next Week in Jerusalem

For the first time in many years, I will spend Tisha Be'Av in the old city of Jerusalem. Some might say it is easier to experience Tisha Be'Av in Isra...

   
 

Parshas Devarim/Chazon - 'How Are You Doing?'

There is so much suffering in the world. This is all a consequence of Churban. As long as the Temple is not restored we are destined to be challenged with distr...

   
 

Tisha B'av 5775 - The Prerequisite of Shalom-Harmony, To Usher In The One Who Is Shaleim-Perfect

[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 Devarim/Shabbos Chazon:True Greatness

The first four Books of the Torah were written in 3rd person: "Hashem spoke to Moshe saying...". In Sefer Devarim (the final Sefer), however, the Torah often wr...

   
 

Parshas Matos-Masei - Being 'Religious' and the Three Weeks

 Being an artist, illustrator and calligrapher for the past forty years, working free-lance on commissions that come from across the United States, I often...

   
 

Parshas Matos-Masei - Fight the Good Fight

When Moshe Rabbeinu finally settles with the tribes of Gad and Reuvein and allows them to settle in the land to the east of the Yardein, he sets out strict cond...

   
 

Parshas Matos-Masei - Comfort the Father

Today is Rosh Chodesh Av [first day of the month of Av]. Av is usually identified as the saddest month of the Jewish year since it contains the observance of "T...

   
 

Parshas Matos-Masei: Bain Kodesh L'Chol

This week witnessed interesting changes in the global climate. One post I saw from a friend featured Bibi Netanyahu expressing his discomfort with the recent d...

   
 

Insights Into Halacha: Havdalah During the 9 Days

Have you given any thought to how you are going to make Havdalah this Motzai Shabbos? The proper way to perform Havdalah the Motzai Shabbos preceding Tisha B&rs...

   
 

Parshas Matos/Massei - Choosing Friends

[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 Matos/Massei - A Minute Vort: Matos: The Danger of Anger / Masei: The Way to Pray

ויקצף משה על פקודי החיל... Moshe was angry with the commanders of the army… (31:14) T he laws of koshering ut...

   
 

Parshas Matos/Massei - Acceptance: Key for Survival

There is an ancient tradition that the forty two journeys in the desert that are recorded for posterity in Maasei have mystical allusions to all the travels the...

   
 

How to Write the Date During The Month of Av

The Machatzis Hashekel (O.C. 417) quotes the Hagahos Mordechai in the name of the Tosefta that there is no Rosh Chodesh Bentching for the month...

   
 

The Month of Av; A Summary From Sefer HaToda'ah (The Book Of Our Heritage)

Av From Sefer HaToda’ah Summarized by J. Sunness 5772 Associated mazal:  Lion  Also called Menachem-Av:  Comfort after the destruction ...

   
 

The Wise Zeide - The Antidote to the Urgency of Now

But Zeide made us laugh, Zeide made us sing… - “My Zeide” - by Moshe Yess What is the role of a wise, Jewish leader in addressing the wants...

   
 

Parshas Matos/Massei - Life's Journeys

 This week's parshah lists every single journey that our nation made from Egypt to Eretz Yisrael. The question is: we know that the Torah is not a "hi...

   
 

Where's the Beef? - Eating Meat During the Nine Days

Question #1: A frum person invited me to a fleishig sheva brachos during the first days of Av. Can he make a sheva brachos and serve meat during this week? May ...

   
 

Parshas Pin'chas -Finding our Moment - the Lesson of Pinchas

The lesson of Pinchas is to find our moment; to find our purpose; and to find our Neshama that is uniquely ours. When we find that moment we can’t be af...

   
 

Parshas Pin'chas - No Schlemiels Allowed

In reward for Pinchas’s courageous intervention in stifling Zimri, the leader of the tribe of Shimon, in his brazen act of immorality he publicly committe...

   
 

The Three Weeks: The Parchment Burned...The Letters Ascended...(Photos)

We cried out to the Eternal from the harsh sting of Pharaoh’s whip.  We wept by the waters of Babylon, bereft that our glorious Temple had been destr...

   
 

Parshas Pin'chas -The Cure Precedes the Illness

“How goodly are your tents, Yaakov, your dwelling places, Yisroel,” (Bamidbar 24, 5).  Bilaam’s bracha at the end of last week’s p...

   
 

Of Umbrellas and Eruvs

Question #1: Umbrellas and Eruvs “Why can’t I use an umbrella on Yom Tov or on Shabbos within an eruv? Is it a mitzvah to get wet?” Question...

   
 

Parshas Balak - Humility & Conceit

[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 Balak - Don't Worry; Be Happy...ALWAYS!

Sometimes the world seems entirely awful. No light finds its way in, and we are left in this dark and gloomy world, with no good vibes from anything or anywhere...

   
 

Parshas Balak - 'I Am But A Fool And I Believe!'

We can only imagine how startled Bilaam must have been when his she-donkey suddenly opened her mouth to give him a piece of her mind. We are taught that this mi...

   
 

Parshas Balak - Still Travelling - Why Bilaam's Curse Didn't Work

Bilaam and Balak did not see eye to eye. Bilaam had a simple problem; he needed someone to get rid of the Jews. He did some research and found that the way to...

   
 

Parshas Balak - Tzaddik vs. Rasha: What's the Essential Difference?

 “Whoever has the following three traits is among the disciples of our forefather Avraham; and whoever has three different traits is among the discip...

   
 

Parshas Balak - Sleep Like a Lion

קול ישראל     לעילוי נשמת ר' יעקב שלמה בן אפרים וויינבערג   .בלק כ"ד ט'-  כר...

   
 

Parshas Balak - Failure to Communicate

This past Thursday, 15 Tammuz, was the yahrzeit of my wife's grandmother, Mrs. Shirley Yeres, Chaya Sheindel bas Alexander. The previous day was the yahrz...

   
 

Parshas Balak - Self Will Run Riot - Part 2

The definition of insanity attributed to Albert Einstein: “Doing something over and over again, and expecting a different result the next time.” We...

   
 

When Do The Three Weeks Begin?

Several years ago, a certain Talmid Chacham could not find an available wedding hall to marry off his daughter. The only open date was the night of Shiva Assar ...

   
 

Parshas Balak - Longing for Light; The Jewish Year and the Spiritual Quest

As we enjoy the light of the summer sun, basking in its delightful warmth, it is possible to ask, “Have we gotten our calendar all wrong?  Are our lo...

   
 

Parshas Balak - Hashem's Messages

The Torah relates a very strange story involving Bilaam and his donkey: Hashem was upset with Bilaam's decision to go and meet Balak, so He sent an angel ...

   
 

Shaving And Haircuts During The Three Weeks

 Question #1: Bushy presenter “My company sent me out of town to meet a new client, and I forgot to have my hair cut before Shiva Asar BeTamuz. May ...

   
 

Parshas Chukas - Understanding Challenges

[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 Chukas - All's Well that ends Well

Please excuse the simple, solemn nature of this week's shtikle. In scanning through the episodes and topics covered in parshas Chukas, there seems to be a ...

   
 

Parshas Chukas - The Torah Connection

לעילוי נשמת ר' יעקב שלמה בן אפרים וויינבערג ז"ל Listen to the Song of the Spring (כ"א י"ז) אז ישיר ישר...

   
 

Be'ohalei Ha'avos On Pirkei Avos 5

Avos 5, 22: Ben Bag Bag would say: turn it and turn it again, for all is in it; see through it; grow old and worn in it; do not budge from it, for there i...

   
 

Parshas Chukas - The Cow of Infinity

The Parah Adumah or Red Heifer is the classic example of a Mitzvah which is beyond our comprehension. As described in the Bamidbar (19:1-22), the cow had to be...

   
 

Parshas Chukas - Artful Communication

Literally, with one fell swoop all of Jewish history took a drastic turn. Until Moshe had hit the rock he was destined to enter the land where we would’ve...

   
 

Parshas Chukas - Can You 'Google' It? The Power of Paradox and Mystery

Is there a teleological suspension of the ethical? The existentialist philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, asked this question when contemplating the Akeda.  H...

   
 

Parshas Chukas - What Did You Just Call Me?!!

 Why wasn't Moshe Rabbeinu allowed to enter Eretz Yisrael? The commentators explain that it was due to his sin that occurred in this week�...

   
 

This Is The Way We Wash Our Hands

 Question #1: Cup after restroom? “Do I need to use a cup when I wash upon leaving the restroom?” Question #2: Netilah review “Could y...

   
 

Parshas Korach - Recognize Your Gifts

There is an ongoing debate throughout the works of the Jewish philosophers as to the nature of the Jew. According to some philosophers, there is inherent g...

   
 

Parshas Korach - Staff Meeting

After the episode of Korach, B'nei Yisrael continue to challenge Moshe and Aharon's authority. After yet another plague strikes B'nei Yisrael, Mo...

   
 

Be'ohalei Ha'avos On Pirkei Avos 4

"Rabbi Masya son of Cheresh used to say: be first in greeting         every man. Be a tail among lions rather than a he...

   
 

Parshas Korach - Greatness: A Jewish Definition

Determination and strong backbone can be the ingredients of true greatness or it can be the prelude to stupidity. I watched a documentary while on vacation. It...

   
 

Parshas Korach - Bound By Your Hair

קול ישראל R’ Akiva Weinberg לעילוי נשמת ר' יעקב שלמה בן אפרים וויינבערג ז"ל פרשת קרח Bound B...

   
 

Parshas Korach - No Man Is An Island

…Ain't it good to know that you've got a friend? - Carole King  Passion.  Hubris.  Foolishness.  When is a man’s ch...

   
 

Parshas Korach - It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

King David beseeches G-d: (שמרה נפשי כי חָסִיד אני (תהלים פו ב, Guard my soul, for devout I am. The Holy Bnei Yissaschar wonders why...

   
 

Parshas Korach - The Antidote For Jealousy

What caused Korach to rebel? Korach was jealous of Aharon and desired to be the Kohen Gadol. The character flaw that fueled this jealousy and which ultimately b...

   
 

Parshas Korach - Unity

[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 Shelach - A Righteous Gathering

In the end of the parsha we have the episode of the mekosheish eitzim, the one who gathered wood on Shabbos who was given the death penalty for transgression of...

   
 

Parshas Shlach - Beyond the Fringe

Vayomer Hashem el Moshe laimor: Daber el b’nai Yisrael v’amarta alehem v’asoo lahem tzitzis al kanfei veeg’dai’hem l’dorosam...

   
 

Parshas Shlach - The Invisible Man

The Torah states clearly that the objective of the command to place Tzitzis on a four cornered garment is so that we will ‘remember all My commandments an...

   
 

Parshas Shlach - Given Eyes to See - Seeing is Not Always Believing...

 Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. They say that you cannot tell a book by its cover.  True, but more damni...

   
 

Parshas Shelach - Why Tzitzis Should Make You Think

״והיה לכם לציצת וראיתם אתו וזכרתם את כל מצות ה׳ ועשיתם אתם״  "It shall constitute tzitzis for you, so that...

   
 

This is the Way We Bake Our Bread! - Some Practical Questions about Hilchos Challah

Shaylah #1: Mrs. Ginsburg calls me with the following question: “I like to separate challah with a bracha, but I do not have a bowl big enough to hold th...

   
 

Parshas B'Ha'alos'cha - Leaders: A Jewish Definition

A Jewish leader is the man or woman that has demonstrated that he can take the heat, even a beating, on behalf of the Jewish people. My son Yosef Moshe is nam...

   
 

Parshas B'Ha'alos'cha - Relatively Speaking

A very special Weekly Shtikle mazal tov to my niece, Fraidy Shonek of Far Rockaway, on her engagement this week to Shmuel Clinton of Toronto (but formerly of Ot...

   
 

Parshas B'ha'alos'cha - The Science of LEVI-tation

One of the most remarkable and intriguing feats to take place during the sojourn in the desert was related to the unusual manner by which the Levites were desig...

   
 

Parshas B'ha'alos'cha - The Craze of Cravings

The mahn from Heaven wasn’t enough. They wanted meat! Elements among the Jewish People lodged complaints about the miraculous sustenance provided to them...

   
 

Parshas Be'Haalotcha - Come Up To Learn, Come Up To Inspire

Be what you would have your pupils be.  All other teaching is unblessed mockery and apery. -  Thomas Carlyle When God commanded Moshe to instruct Aa...

   
 

Parshas B'ha'alos'cha - Never Changing

[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 B'ha'alos'cha - Eternal Honor

The Torah relates that when the Jews performed their first Korban Pesach services as a nation, there was a group that was unable to participate, due to their be...

   
 

Shidduchim and Loshon Hora

This week’s parsha teaches about Miriam speaking loshon hora about her brother, thus providing an opportunity to discuss the questions about Shidduchim an...

   
 

Parshas Naso - Similar Opposites

This week's parsha includes extensive discussions of the laws pertaining to the sotah and the nazir, one after the other. Their respective tractates of gem...

   
 

L'Zacher Nishmas HaRav Efraim Eisenberg, ZT'L- Shavuos: Zman Matan Toraseinu

שבועות זמן מתן תורתנו -- A day that will always be remembered and cherished by all of ישראל.  It was the day that בני ישרא...

   
 

Parshas Naso - Unconditional Love

הקב"ה, אנחנו אוהבים אותך! There is an ancient Jewish tradition for parents to formally bless their children. In addition to the traditional...

   
 

Parshas Naso - Because Hashem Loves You

In פרק ו׳ פסוק יא׳ the Torah says that that after a Nazir (Nazarite), [one who accepts upon himself to refrain from drinking wine, taking haircuts, ...

   
 

Parshas Naso - Rodef Shalom - Peace, Peace You Shall Pursue...

 We live in a world of turmoil – political, geopolitical, spiritual.  Too often it seems that turmoil and strife are fundamental to our natures,...

   
 

Parshas Naso - Aderes HaTorah

In this week's Parsha, the Pasuk mentions the laws of Matnas Kehunah adjacent to the laws of a Sotah. Rashi tells us that someone who does not bring his gi...

   
 

Parshas Naso - Where You Could Be Holding

[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...

   
 

To Fold or Not to Fold? The Shabbos Tallis

It is Shabbos morning after Shacharis in shul and a man is putting away his tallis. Mr. Schwartz approaches him with an admonishment: “You know, you are...

   
 

The Mitzvah of 'Duchening' - Birchas Kohanim

In Parshas Naso, the Torah teaches about the beautiful mitzvah of Birchas Kohanim, wherein the kohanim are commanded to bless the people of Israel. This mitzvah...

   
 

Be'ohalei Ha'avos On Pirkei Avos - Perek 6

Avos (Kinyan Hatorah 4) 6, 4:  Pirkei Avos has five perakim. In most printed editions there is a sixth perek that really consists of beraisos and is an ap...

   
 

Shavuos 5775 - Get High!

On Shavuos, we celebrate the giving of the Torah to B'nei Yisrael after they came out of Mitzrayim. On this day we experienced a level of spirituality high...

   
 

Shavuos 5775 - Torah is our Ruler

Sefiras Ha’omer is a preparation for Shevuos in many ways. Klal Yisroel left Egypt after a year of preparation. During the year of the 10 makkos, they wer...

   
 

Hilchos Uminhagei Shavuos

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

   
 

Parshas Bamidbar/Shavuos - Some Thoughts on Receiving the Torah

This Shabbos is Parshas Bamidbar and, beginning Motzei Shabbos (Saturday night), we begin the celebration of Shavuos, which we lovingly refer to as “Zman ...

   
 

Shavuos 5775 - The Need For A Chosen Nation

[From Parshas Yisro]  The Need For A Chosen Nation  When Hashem gave us the Torah, He thereby set us aside as His chosen nation forever. Before this...

   
 

Shavuot/Yizkor - Remembering

Remembering In the Past, We See Our Future The past is never dead.  It’s not even past. - William Faulkner We Jews are a people of memories. ...

   
 

Parshas Bamidbar/Shavuos - Vital Attraction

I recently had the privilege of hosting at my Shul two classes of adorable first graders, my lovely granddaughter Chayele among them, from the local Bais Yaakov...