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Parshas Ki Savo - The Chase is On!

The bulk of this week's parsha is taken up by the tochacha, literally the rebuke, in which we are warned of the terrible consequences of not heeding HaShem...

   
 

Parshas Ki Savo - Using Visualizations - (Video)

“Moshe Rabbeinu told the Jewish people, “Today HASHEM has commanded you to fulfill all of the statues and laws. . .” — Devarim 26:16 R...

   
 

Parshas Ki Savo/Slichos - Life Without Regrets

Al tash’li’chai’nu l’eis zik’nah; kich’los ko’chainu al ta’az’veinu v Do not cast us into old age; when ou...

   
 

Parshas Ki Savo/Yomim Noraim - What Justifies The Continued Existence Of This World?

Elul is a month of cheshbon hanefesh. In less than two weeks time is Rosh Hashono which is the Yom Hadin. It is an important day because we stand in from of Has...

   
 

Parshas Ki Savo - Marking Time: A Blink of an Eye and The Moments of Our Lives

I knew a man who once told me, Time passes in the blink of an eye.  When he told me, I was a young man and I could not comprehend what he was saying. ...

   
 

Parshas Ki Savo - Bikurim & Blessings or Condescension & Curses

[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 Ki Savo - Judaism Is A Relationship

This week's parshah describes the great rewards which we will receive when we perform the mitzvos. The Torah also lists the graphic and severe punishments ...

   
 

Parshas Ki Savo - The Happiest People on Earth

The Torah informs us that if only we would succeed in serving G-d out of happiness would we be blessed. Our failure to serve G-d joyously, we are admonished, is...

   
 

Between Yishtabach and Borchu

There are numerous references in this week’s parsha, Ki Savo, to blessings, praises and thanksgivings to Hashem. This provides excellent opportunity to di...

   
 

Ki Seitzei - Everyone's Business

This week’s parshah is the basis for the phenomenon commonly known as shanah rishonah. The Torah tells us that if the Jewish people are fighting a war, an...

   
 

Ki Seitzei - Why Do We Do What We (Don't) Do?

A hearty Weekly Shtikle mazal tov to my wife’s Uncle Josh & Aunt Maidy Frankel on becoming a great grandfather yesterday, to the grandparents, Cemmie ...

   
 

Ki Seitzei - Dealing with the Enemy

Ki  saitzai  la’milchamah  al  oy’veh’cha  u’n’sah’no  Hashem  Elokecha  b’ya&...

   
 

Parshas Ki Seitzei - The Saga Of Yosef

[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...

   
 

Ki Seitzei - The Gratitude Attitude

In this week's parsha the Torah forbids us to marry an Ammonite or Moabite (even if they become a Jew) *. On the other hand, we are commanded to allow...

   
 

Ki Seitzei - Losing Control is Very Bad

This week’s parsha presents us with the tragic figure of the “בן סורר ומרה – the wayward and rebellious son.” This is a highl...

   
 

To The Third And Fourth Generations (Ki Tetzei, Covenant & Conversation 5775 On Ethics)

There is, on the face of it, a fundamental contradiction in the Torah. On the one hand, we hear, in the passage known as the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy, the...

   
 

Parshas Ki Seitzei - I Saw the Beautiful Cloak of the World to Come!'

 The son of the Holy Maggid of Kozhnitz retells how an ignorant villager once approached his saintly father with what seemed to be a foolish question. The...

   
 

Elul - An Overview

Since many yeshivos, seminaries and schools are now beginning, and camps and summer vacations are ending – we need to start contemplating what Elul is a...

   
 

Parshas Shoftim - A Matter Of Perspective

In this week's parsha, the Torah commands us to adhere to our Sages' guidance and instructions. Rashi illustrates this concept with the following exam...

   
 

Parshas Shoftim - Changing Tactics In A Changing World

[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 Shoftim - Fuggedaboutit

The Torah tells us in Parshas Shoftim (17:22) – You should not erect a ‘Matzeiva’ – a monument, which your G-d hates. This Pasuk was on...

   
 

Parshas Shoftim - Who Are You, Mr. Ploni?

Do you know who you really are? Have you ever questioned your purpose on this planet? Did the ‘injustices’ of life ever discourage you from even c...

   
 

Parshas Shoftim - Righteous Judgment

Shoftim v’shotrim tee’ten l’cha b’chol she’ah’re’cha … v’shaftoo es ha’am mishpat tzedek v  Ju...

   
 

Parshas Shoftim - Are Red Hots Really A Righteous Reward?

  “צדק צדק תרדף – Righteousness, righteousness you shall purse,” (Devarim 16, 20). The verse in this week’s parsha is i...

   
 

Parshas Shof'tim - The Eyes Have It!

A very special Weekly Shtikle mazal tov to my niece, Fraidy Shonek, on her forthcoming marriage to Shmuli Clinton (formerly of Ottawa) later today. Mazal Tov to...

   
 

Parshas Shoftim - The Value of Life

“…we’re more protected from a bad tuna fish sandwich than a nuclear bomb…”  – Jackie Mason (commenting on the Iran n...

   
 

Semicha and Sanhedrin Controversies of the 16th and 21st Centuries

This article is dedicated as an iluy neshamah for Esther Raizel bat Yechiel Michel Halev I wrote this article a number of years ago. Although the news story f...

   
 

Parshas Re'eih - A Cliffhanger

In this week's parsha, we are taught about the meisis, the sinner who tries to seduce another to commit idolatry. We are instructed to deal with the meisis...

   
 

Parshas Re'eh/ELUL - The Only Thing We Can Control

The letters of the word Elul stand for ani l’dodi v’dodi li: I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine. It should be no surprise that the name ...

   
 

The Quest For Jerusalem

Behold! I put before you today the blessing and the curse! Can there be peace in Israel? We are all so frustrated by what seems to be a problem without any so...

   
 

Parshas Re'eh - Jerusalem Moments

I am sitting comfortably perched on a balcony overlooking the beautiful setting sun as it casts its magnificent golden hue upon the incomparable skyline of Jeru...

   
 

Parshas Re'ay - An Overview

This Sidra has 20 Parshios 1. Choosing – Moshe tells us see that I placed before you a blessing and a curse. If we choose to follow Hashem’s path...

   
 

Parshas Re'eh - Why Do We Learn Torah?

This week’s parshah discusses the laws pertaining to a Wayward City, an entire Jewish city that serves idols (עיר הנידחת). The Gemara in Sanhedri...

   
 

Parshas Re'eh - Enjoying This World

[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 Aikev - All Wrapped Up about Shema

There are a number of interesting little differences between the first parsha of keriyas shema, which we read last week, and the second which we read this week....

   
 

Parshas Aikev - The One Thing that Really Matters

While it is hard to learn any parsha in the Torah without encountering a mention of Eretz Yisrael, this week’s parshah contains the most eloquent descript...

   
 

Parshas Aikev - It's Hug Time

The three weeks and the nine days are behind us and the High Holidays are not yet here. So, it’s party time. Concerts, barbecues, hiking and a lot of ju...

   
 

Parshas Aikev - A Matter of Perspective

V’haya eikev teesh’m’oon ais ha’mish’pa’teem ha’ay’leh u’sh’martem va’ah’see’sem o...

   
 

Parshas Aikev - Never Let Go

Now, O Israel, what does G-d, your Lord, ask of you? Only to fear G-d, your Lord...(דברים י יב) This is how Parshas HaYirah, the portion in the Torah t...

   
 

Parshas Aikev: The Challenge of Wealth

The commonly held view is that wealth is an impediment to a meaningful spiritual life; that wealth is accompanied by necessary hubris that makes humility and go...

   
 

Parshas Aikev - Count Your Blessings

"ועתה ישראל מה ה׳ אלקיך שאל מעמך כי אם ליראה את ה׳ אלקיך ולאהבה אתו ולעבוד את ה׳ אלקיך בכל...

   
 

Where Does My Shemoneh Esrei End? Volume II

Question #1: A proper ending “Someone told me that I am not required to say the prayer Elokei, netzor leshoni meira at the end of Shemoneh Esrei. Is this...

   
 

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...