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Watch: Purim - A Day of Laughter (Video)

 Purim - A Day of Laughter ...

   
 

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...

   
 

Parshas Bo - No See, No Problem

 לכבוד שבת      ואת בכורינו הציל (Yes, I know, not a precise quote) This week's shtikle is dedicated bizc...

   
 

Parshas Bo - You Go First!

G-d said, “…And also I heard the cries of the Children of Israel as they are slaves in Egypt; and I will remember My covenant.” G-d also hea...

   
 

Parshas Bo - Aderes HaTorah

In this week's Parsha, as the Makkos are coming to an end, the Egyptians are stricken with the plague of  Choshech- intense darkness.  Durin...

   
 

Parshas Bo - Knock Out!

This week the Torah directs us how to educate and respond to the “children” who in future generations will ponder the historical events of the exodu...

   
 

Parshas Bo -Time and Meaning Each Second, Each Moment

The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.              &nbs...

   
 

Parshas Bo - Watch Eli Scheller's One Minute on the Parsha

Parshas Bo - The difference between FALLING and FAILING ...

   
 

Insights Into Halacha: Kedushas Sheviis Produce: Shemitta Basics Part II

One of the most imperative aspects of observing Shemitta concerns the proper treatment of produce that has Kedushas Sheviis, Shemitta sanctity. Not a simple tas...

   
 

Who Is The True Redeemer? Discussin the Mitzvah Of Pidyon Haben

Question #1: Deadbeat dad Mrs. Gerusha* calls me with the following question: “I am a divorced baalas teshuvah with two young children, a son and a daug...

   
 

Enough!

 It is easier to take Jews out of Galus than to take the Galus out of the Jews - Chasidic Master Ever been accused of “being your own worst enemy&r...

   
 

Parshas Va'Aira - Hail to the Chief

In the plague of barad, hail, HaShem brought down hail accompanied by kolos, thunder. The hail also seemed to include rain. However, points out Minchas Yitzchak...

   
 

Welcome Rabbi Eli Scheller to Baltimore and BJL - Watch: Parshas Va'Aira - The Definition Of Greatness Is... (Short Video)

Baltimore, MD - Jan. 16 - BJL Welcomes Rabbi Eli Scheller to Baltimore  - Take 1:22 (that's a minute twenty two seconds)  to watch his vort. Abo...

   
 

Parshas Va'Aira: Connecting to G-D ' Middah K'negged Middah

“Y’hee chas’d’cha Hashem aleinu, ka’asher yee’chalnu lach • May Your kindness, Hashem, be upon us, just as we have year...

   
 

Parshas Va'Aira - The Sweet Taste of Charoses

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

   
 

Parshas Va'Aira - Wise Guys

Among the cast of characters in the story of the exodus from Egypt the Chartumim, those ancient Egyptian sorcerers seem to go through a rapid transformation. A...

   
 

Parshas Va'Aira - Choose Wisely

Over the course of the last two Parshios, Moshe and Aharon have emerged as the men who would lead the Jewish people to freedom.  The Torah records a shorte...

   
 

Parshas Va'Aira - Aderes HaTorah

In last week's Parsha, Moshe went to Pharaoh telling him to let the Jewish Nation go. Not only did Paraoh refuse, he increased the Jews'...

   
 

Parshas Va'Aira - A Man Without A Name

In Australia I ran a beginners minyan. One Shabbos morning an older man came in. He wasn’t the usual type of attendee, he stood out. He was an old-timer, ...

   
 

Parshas Vaera - A New Parsha

Parshas Shemos ends on a seemingly dark note. Moshe, in his mission to end the servitude of Bnei Yisroel under Pharaoh, fails. In fact the servitude gets even...

   
 

Parshas Va'Aira - Greatness from Within

Parshas Va’eira begins with a curious conversation between HaShem and Moshe. HaShem reassures Moshe that the redemption is at hand, but Moshe questions hi...

   
 

Parshas Va'Aira - Passionate Prayer

This week's parsha begins with Hashem reiterating to Moshe that He "remembers" the covenant that He made with our forefathers and will now redeem the Jews....

   
 

What Was Being Served for Haftarah for Parshas Sehmos?

 BJL apologizes for not sending this out last week.... Question #1: What Haftarah does Klal Yisrael read on Shabbos Parshas Shemos?  Question #2: Wh...

   
 

Parshas Shemos - Giving Life

At this beginning of this week's parsha, Shifrah and Puah are faced with the daunting challenge of defying Paroah's orders to kill all firstborn males...

   
 

Parshas Shemos: Moshe - A Leader?

Moshe was eighty years old when he stumbled upon the burning bush. He was a senior shepherd entering into the final trimester of his life. He was a poor man. Th...

   
 

Parshas Shemos - A Blessing In Disguise

There is an enigmatic Gemara in Sotah concerning a Pasuk in this week’s Parsha. The Pasuk says  .ותתצב אחתו מרחק לדעה מה יעשה...

   
 

Parshas Shemos - Life's Distractions

This weeks dvar torah is dedicated לעלוי נשמת my great grandmother Etya Feiga bas R' Mordechai ע״ה.  Life's Distractions The Jews w...

   
 

Parshas Shemos - A Sign of the Times

On the night of Pesach we retell how G-d brought us out of Egypt with a ‘strong hand’ and an ‘outstretched arm’ and with ‘great te...

   
 

Parshas Shemos - Waiting for the Perfect Opportunity

The cries of an afflicted nation proved too intense to go unanswered.  God tells Moshe that he will be the Divine emissary to emancipate the enslaved Jewis...

   
 

Parshas Shemos - The Redemptive Power of Brotherly Love

“Va‘teeftach va’teer’ayhoo es ha’yeled v’hee’nay na’ar bocheh va’tach’mole ah’lav … &bu...

   
 

Parshas Shemos - How's Your Yiras Shamayim

A new king emerged in Egypt who did not know of Yosef. Yosef's contribution to Egypt was enormous. He developed the country into the dominant empire in the...

   
 

Parshas Shemos

This week's parsha speaks about the miraculous story of how Moshe Rabeinu came into this world and how he developed and matured to become the savior of the...

   
 

Insights Into Halacha: Understanding Shnayim Mikra V'Echad TArgum

There is a well known Gemara in Brachos[1] that states “A person should always complete his [study of the parsha] with the congregation - [by studying] sh...

   
 

Parshas Shemos - Derech Eretz Kadma L'torah -To Be A Mensch

When I was growing up, a friend whose parents were not home when school let out often came to my home after school.  We enjoyed our afternoons together; we...

   
 

Parshas VaYichi: Keeping Your Word - Le'iluy Nishmas Rabbi Joseph Schecter, z'l, Whose Yahrzeit is 12 Teves

A special Mazal Tov to my nephew, Dovid Nisson Shonek on his upcoming marriage to Tova Lidsky of Passaic and to my cousin Nechama Tzirel Jakobovits of Lakewood ...

   
 

Parshas VaYichi - Seeds in Winter

This is the time of year when the seed catalogues begin arriving in the mail. I am an avid vegetable gardener, and a get a large part of my seeds through mail-o...

   
 

Parshas VaYichi - Decisions & Direction

 And Jacob concluded commanding his sons, and he drew his legs [up] into the bed, and expired and was brought in to his people (Genesis 49:33) With his so...

   
 

Parshas VaYichi - Aderes HaTorah

Sefer Bereishis is now drawing to a close. In this week's parsha, the final installment in the saga of the lives of the Avos and the Shevatim, Yaaov Avinu ...

   
 

Parshas VaYichi - To Smile is Divine

As Yaakov is about to bless Yosef’s children he contemplates the irony of the moment by exclaiming, “I dared not accept the thought that I would see...

   
 

Parshas VaYichi - Diamonds

In this week's parshah, Yaakov blesses Ephraim and Menashe saying that for all future generations, Jews will bless their sons that they should be just like...

   
 

Parshas VaYichi - Unique Blessing Each Student, Each Person

The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all its grace is as the flower of the field; The grass withers, the flower fades; wh...

   
 

Parshas VaYichi - Curses or Blessings? Judging the Yetzer Hara

[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...

   
 

Insights Into Halacha: The Many Facets of Asarah B'Teves

Baltimore: Asara B'Teves - Fast Begins Jan. 1, 2015 -  6:00 AM Fast Ends: 42-5:37 PM / 50 - 5:45 PM / 72 - 6:07 PM Although to many the only notable ...

   
 

What Is An Otzar Beis Din, And Is It Good For The Jews?

Well, what do the words “Otzar Beis Din” mean? And, as an old friend of mine would ask, “Is an Otzar Beis Din good for the Jews or bad for the...

   
 

Parshas VaYigash - Learning To Let Go

The mounting tension reached a pinnacle with Yosef’s revelation of his true identity to his brothers.  The much anticipated reunion finally occurs.&n...

   
 

Parshas VaYigash - Journey to Gan Eden

Concerned that Yaakov might be dangerously startled by the news of Yosef being alive the brothers approach their young niece Serach, the daughter of Asher, to b...

   
 

Parshas VaYigash - Shame - The Arbiter of Truth

Silenced by shame. The brothers couldn’t speak. Yosef had just revealed himself, climaxing a 22-year ordeal initiated by their jealousy and misplaced just...

   
 

Parshas VaYigash - Aderes HaTorah

This week's Parsha relates how Yosef Hatzadik wanted to incarcerate Binyomin for his "theft" of the goblet, telling his brothers that Binyomin shall remain...

   
 

Parshas VaYigash - Who Was That Masked Man?

A special Mazal Tov to noted Weekly Shtikle reader, critic and contributor David Farkas and his wife Sara on the birth of their son, Chanan Nachman. I...

   
 

Parshas VaYigash - Things Never Said

A young boy runs his fingers over the leather spine of the story book he receives as a Hanukkah gift.  He loves the feel of the beautiful lettering playing...