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Halachically Speaking: Refraining From Foods During The Yomim Noraim

We are all familiar with the simonim that are eaten on Rosh Hashanah. However, there are some foods which are not eaten during Rosh Hashanah and until as late a...

   
 

Parshiyos Netzavim/Vayelech - It's All About Torah

This week’s parsha is Moshe Rabbeinu’s last speech to Klal Yisroel as a group. Moshe Rabbeinu tells Klal Yisroel that after forty years of growth th...

   
 

Parshiyos Netzavim/Vayelech - Nuclear Threat & Teshuvah

[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...

   
 

Parshiyos Netzavim/Vayelech - Aderes HaTorah

In this week's Parsha Hakadosh Baruch Hu expresses his disappointment with Klal Yisroel and says: "V'Anochi haster astir panai "- Hashem will hide His...

   
 

Parshiyos Netzavim/Vayelech - Standing Ovation

Have you ever found yourself riveted to the dynamic words of a powerful speaker, to the inspiring music of a virtuoso violinist, to a poignant and dramatic perf...

   
 

Parshas Ki Savo - Location, Location, Location

This week's parsha begins with the laws pertaining to the bringing of bikurim. The bringing of the bikurim is accompanied by a recitation of a number of ve...

   
 

Parshas Ki Savo - The Power of A Prayer

In this week’s Parsha, we are given the mitzvah of Bikkurim, the mitzvah to bring one’s first fruits of the year to the Bais Hamikdash and upon whic...

   
 

Rosh Hashannah - The Beginning of Change

Rosh Hashanah is not just the ‘New Year’ for the Jewish nation – it is much more than that. It is also the Yom HaDin, the Day of Judgment when...

   
 

Parshas Ki Savo - Bringing it Home!

This Dvar Torah was inspired by my dear son Mutti. May it be a merit for his quick recovery.  One of the most exciting events in ancient Jewish tradition ...

   
 

Enlarge 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 - Aderes HaTorah

In this week's Parsha, Moshe Rabeinu instructs Klal Yisroel to do something that they will never be asked to do again. As Klal Yisroel crosses the Yarden,&...

   
 

Holding the Torah Upright

According to some rishonim, the mitzvah to raise the Torah (hagbahah) is mentioned in parshas Ki Savo. Question #1: Holy roller "I was in a shul, and when the...

   
 

Parshas Ki Seitze - Holy Plow

In this week's parsha we are taught of the prohibition against plowing with an ox and a donkey together (22:10). Rashi writes that this prohibition applies...

   
 

Parshas Ki Seitze - Bringing The Beauty Home

 A Jewish man goes to war and there at war he encounters amongst the enemy a beautiful woman. The Torah says that he can take her home but he must cut off ...

   
 

Parshas Ki Seitze - It 'Is' The Thought That Counts!

Life often throws us curve balls. When you least expect it you suddenly find yourself facing a challenge you never dreamt of, one that detours harshly from the ...

   
 

Parshas Ki Seitzei - Ki Si'hyena L'ish (Lashon HaKodesh)

בענין 'כי תהיין לאיש שתי נשים...' כתוב בפרשת כי תצא (דברים פרק כ"ב פסוק ט"ו - י"ז) "כי תה...

   
 

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...

   
 

Parshas Ki Seitzei - Aderes HaTorah

In this week's Parsha, the Torah tells us about the concept of "Ben Sorer Umoreh" - a rebellious and wayward child who, if he meets certain criteria, must ...

   
 

Parshas Ki Seitzei - We Forget Amalek at Our Peril

We are incredible beings for so many reasons, perhaps none so much as our ability to embody so many seeming contradictions with such ease.  We are both sou...

   
 

Parshas Ki Seitzei - The Greatness of Man (Text & Video)

“If a man shall commit a crime whose judgment is death, he shall be put to death, and you shall hang him on a tree.” — Devarim 21:22 The punis...

   
 

Parshas Ki Tetzei 5774 - Against Hate

Ki Tetzei contains more laws than any other parsha in the Torah, and it is possible to be overwhelmed by this embarrass de richesse of detail. One verse, howeve...

   
 

Parshas Shof'tim - Keep Your Eye on the Prize

The four Hebrew letters of the month of Elul [alef • lamed • vav • lamed] are also the rashei taivos for the well-known verse from the Song of So...

   
 

Parshas Shof'tim - No More Haters

The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated to the following Israeli soldiers: Amir ben Tzipporah, Daniel Aharon ben Esther, Binyamin Avraham ben Mindel Sarah, Elichai...

   
 

Parshas Shof'tim - ELUL!!

Five thousand seven hundred and seventy five years ago, G-d founded a corporation. He organized a board of directors, a mission statement, and a corporate frame...

   
 

Parshas Shof'tim -Aderes HaTorah

Towards the end of this week's Parsha, the Torah describes the eventuality of war taking place against our formidable enemies. The  Pas...

   
 

Insights Into Halacha: Of Elul L'Dovid and Golems

There is near universal Ashkenazic custom during the month of Elul to recite the Chapter of Tehillim (27) “L’Dovid Hashem Ori” during davening...

   
 

Parshas Shof'tim - All Part of the Whole; The Value of Each Life

Whosoever saves a single life, it is as if he saved an entire world. – Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5 A fundamental Jewish principle is that man is created &ldqu...

   
 

Parshas Shof'tim - An Encounter to Remember

When the unfortunate discovery of a corpse that has been murdered occurs, the elders and judges of the city in closest proximity to the body  must perform ...

   
 

Parshas Shof'tim - If I Were a Rich Man (Text/Video)

“Place upon yourself a king…He shall not greatly increase silver and gold for himself.” — Devarim 17:16-20 The Torah commands us to ap...

   
 

Parshas Re'eh - Words Matter

The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated to the following Israeli soldiers (list expanded to include family members): Amir ben Tzipporah, Daniel Aharon ben Esther, ...

   
 

Parshas Re'eh - Getting Ready for Elul

“Re’eh, Anochi nosain leef’naichem hayom bracha oo’k’lala – See, I present before you today blessing and curse.” [Deut...

   
 

Parshas Re'eh - Aderes HaTorah

In this week's Parsha the Torah repeats the discussion of the Halachos concerning freeing an Eved Ivri. However, a new idea is introduced- t...

   
 

Parshas Re'eh - True Blessings

The passuk in this week’s parshah says “Es habracha asher tishmi’u el mitzvos hashem elokechem,” that the brachos will ensue a...

   
 

Parshas Re'eh/Shabbos Mevarchim Elul - The King is in The Field

This Shabbat, in addition to reading the weekly parasha of Re'eh, we will also announce the arrival of Rosh Chodesh Elul, the beginning of the Hebrew ...

   
 

Everyone Eats; Why Are Jews Different?

 Everyone eats.  Every man, woman, child.  Thief, sinner, or saint. Everything eats.  Every beast of the field.  Every insect.  E...

   
 

Parshas Re'eh - Lookin' Good

In ancient times self-mutilation was a typically pagan response to overwhelming grief and disappointment. This display of fatalism and worthlessness was the nat...

   
 

The Kashrus of Raisin Juice and Raisin Wine

Since parshas Re’eih contains many of the basic laws of kashrus, I bring you a related topic:  Question #1: Kosher Conundrum "How can two kosher, p...

   
 

You Can't Take It with You -- Moving and Removing Mezuzos

Question #1: “We are moving residences, and I understand that I must leave the mezuzos in my old home. However, they are beautiful, mehudar mezuzos that I...

   
 

Parshas Aikev - Step Forward

This week we read what can arguably be called the most important verse in all of Torah. Now, O Israel, what does Hashem, your God, ask of you? Only to fear Has...

   
 

Parshas Aikev - Sustaining Both Body and Soul

 “V’achalta v’savata u’vai’rachta es Hashem Elokecha al ha’aretz ha’tova asher nasan lach – And you will ea...

   
 

Parshas Aikev -The Special Fruit of Eretz Yisrael

The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated to the following Israeli soldiers (list expanded to include family members): Amir ben Tzipporah, Daniel Aharon ben Esther, ...

   
 

Parshas Aikev - Aderes HaTorah

The Medrash on this week's Parsha makes note of the fact that the Petirah of Aron Hakohen is written right next to the incident of the breaking of the Luch...

   
 

Parshas Eikev - Limiting Beliefs (Text & Video)

“And now Yisroel, what is HASHEM, your G-d asking of you? Merely to fear HASHEM, to go in all of His ways, to love Him, and serve Him with all of yo...

   
 

Parshas Va'Eschanan - Aderes HaTorah

This week's Parsha speaks about how Klal Yisrael will be in Galus and will stray from the path of their forefathers. In an attempt to return to Hashem, the...

   
 

Parshas Va'Eschanan - The Eyes Have It!

This coming Monday, the 15th of Av, marks the yahrtzeit of my Opa, Mr. George Jakobovits. This week's shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmaso, Tovia Yeh...

   
 

Parshas Va'eschanan - Contemplate Before Pouncing

[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...

   
 

What Makes Our Laws 'Jewish'?

Everyone has rules.  Every society, culture, family and group.  Having rules and laws hardly makes one distinct.  From the ancient Laws of Hammur...

   
 

Parshas Va'Eschanan - Lessons In Prayer

In the beginning of this week’s parsha, Moshe Rabbeinu recounts how he beseeched Hashem to enter the land of Israel. Chazal tell us that the gematria, or ...

   
 

Parshas Va'Eschanan - Where's Feivish?

One of the most oft quoted verses is the one that directs us to preserve and protect our health and physical wellbeing. ונשמרתם מאד לנפשתכ...

   
 

Parshas Va'Eschanan - The Middah of Rachamim (Video & Text)

“And pays back His enemies in their lifetime to destroy them.” — Devarim 7:10Rashi explains this posuk to mean that HASHEM pays back His enemi...

   
 

What Happens When We Do Something Wrong?

Since the Aseres Hadibros which include the laws of Shabbos are in Parshas Va’eschanan, we have an opportunity to discuss what happens when we do somethin...

   
 

Nachamu: It's Hug Time!

In many circles Shabbos Nachamu spells vacation. The great summer breather. The three weeks and the nine days are behind us and the High Holidays are not yet he...

   
 

The Tenth Commandment

Ma’amad Har Sinai was about establishing a relationship between Hashem and B’nei Yisrael.  In Rav Eisemann’s discussion of Ma’amad ...

   
 

Reflections on TIsha B'Av 5774

The Kina by Reb Yehuda HaLevi, ציון הלא תשאלי לשלום אסיריך, which we read today, starts by asking Tzion (Zion) to inquire after her priso...

   
 

Tisha B'Av 5774 - Courage: Rabbi Yisroel Spira, Zatzal, Of Bluzhev - Dignity Before History Dignity Before God

Ours is a time of confusion.  Neither Orwell nor Jonathan Swift could have better imagined a world in which black is white, left is right, or up is down.&n...

   
 

Parshas Devarim - Star-like Potential

The Weekly Shtikle is dedicated to the following Israeli soldiers (list expanded to include family members): Amir ben Tzipporah, Daniel Aharon ben Esther, ...

   
 

Tisha B'av: 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 - Chazon

"Chazon Yeshayahu”. A vision of Yeshayahu! The Medrash [Shir Hashirim Rabbah Ch. 3] taught that there are ten levels of prophecy. Sometimes prophecy comes...

   
 

Parshas Devarim - Hallel, Protection & Redemption

 This past Monday was Rosh Chodesh (the New Month) of Menachem Av. As is the custom on every Rosh Chodesh, we recite Hallel (Psalms 113 through 118) in the...

   
 

Parshas Devarim - Winning the Ultimate Battle

Once again we seem destined to commemorate yet another Tisha B’av in sorrow and tears. The growing number of casualties in our battle against our enemies...

   
 

Parshas Devarim/Shabbos Chazon: I Hate Criticism (Video &Text)

“And it was in the fortieth year, in the twelve month, on the first day of the month, when Moshe spoke to the Bnai Yisroel according to everything that HA...

   
 

Parshas Devarim - Believe!

In Parshas Devarim, Moshe Rabbainu recounts many of the sins and blunders of the Jewish nation throughout their forty year journey in the desert. In r...

   
 

Parshas Masei - 42 Journeys

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

   
 

Parshas (Matos)/Massei - Emulating The Gadol Hador

[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 Masei -The Power of Prayer (Video & Text)

“And the congregation will save the killer from the redeemer, and they shall return him to the city of refuge where he will sit until the death of the Koh...

   
 

Parshas Masei - Aderes HaTorah

This week's Parsha is Parshas Maasei, which discusses the travels of Klal Yisroel. It is also the week of Shabbos Chazak, when we finish one of the five&nb...

   
 

Parshas Masei: Masei and the Journey of Our Lives

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end. - Ernest Hemingway  Imagine yourself on a commuter train.&nb...

   
 

Parshas Matos - You Do Your Best...

“Va’y’daber Hashem el Moshe laymor:  N’kom nikmas b’nai Yisrael mai’ais haMidyanim; achar tai’a’saif el ah...

   
 

Parshas Matos - Counting Sheep - Dedicated Bizchus Amir Ben Tzipporah Im Kol Chayalei Yisrael.

I recently signed up with a very special program, The Shmira Project, which pairs ordinary people with soldiers putting their lives on the line in defense of ou...

   
 

Parshas Matos - Corageous Soldiers

Israel is again at war against Amalek. I dedicate this week’s divrei Torah to our holy soldiers of Tzahal, from privates to major generals, from regular a...

   
 

Parshas Matos - Aderes HaTorah

The end of this week's Parsha speaks about the Arei Miklat that were established in Eretz Yisroel and Ever L'Yarden. Moshe Rebbeinu, who was not Zoche...

   
 

Parshas Matos - The Final Battle

Moshe Rabbeinu is told that he is to take vengeance against the Midianite nation. The Midianites had just successfully carried out a devious plan seducing 24,00...

   
 

Parshas Pinchas- Bad Neighbours

This Shabbos is the Yahrzeit of R' Yaakov Yitzchack Ruderman, zt"l, the first Rosh HaYeshivah of Yeshivas Ner Yisroel.  This Sunday is the ...

   
 

Parshas Pinchas - Peace on Israel

“Lachain eh’mor hee’nehnee nosain lo es bree’see shalom • Therefore say [to Pinchas]: Behold! I am giving him My convenant of Peace...

   
 

Parshas Pinchus - Conquering Trauma

One of the greatest tragedies to occur to the burgeoning nation, in their journey towards the promised land, is only hinted at in this week’s portion. &n...

   
 

Parshas Pinchus - Aderes HaTorah

In this week's Parsha,we are told of the brave and heroic act of Pinchos in killing Zimri and Kuzbi.  Pinchus is rewarded with Kehunah for his act of ...

   
 

Parshas Pinchas - Video: A Leopard Can't Change Its Spots

 A Leopard Can't Change Its Spots ...

   
 

Parshas Pinchus - Ka'naaut Zealotry and the Argument Against the Extreme

We live in an age of extremism.  Whether in “personal expression”, politics, art, music or religion, we seem to be overrun by people who live ...

   
 

Parshas Pinchas - The Voice Inside

“Pinchas, the son of Elazar, the son of Aharon HaKohain, appeased My anger against the Bnai Yisroel by taking My revenge amidst them, and so I didn’...

   
 

Hamakom Yinachem Eschem b'Soch Sha'ar Avelei Tzion v'Yerushalayim

[R' Shay Schachter was sent by his shul [the White Shul in Far Rockaway] to be menachem avel the Shaer, Frenkel and Yifrach families.] "I honesty do not k...

   
 

Parshas Balak - Le'iluy Nishmos Eyal Ben Uriel Yifrach, Yaakov Naftali Ben Avraham Frenkel And Gil-ad Michael Ben Ofir Shaar, H'yd

Following the unfortunate discoveries in Eretz Yisrael this week, it is only appropriate this week's shtikle be dedicated le'iluy nishmos Eyal ben Uri...

   
 

Parshas Balak - Behold A People

Dedicated in Memory of  Eyal Gil-ad & Naftali, H'yd Bilaam was the most successful gentile, of that generation and possibly in history. He was t...

   
 

Parshas Balak - How to Achieve Ahavas Yisrael

“Vayar Balak ben Tzipor ais kol asher asah Yisrael la’Emori • Balak the son Tzipor saw all that Israel has done to the Amorites” [Numbers...

   
 

Parshas Balak - REVENGE!

REVENGE! Once again we face a cowardly enemy who ruthlessly extinguished three brilliant lights. We are a resilient people. No matter how hard they try to def...

   
 

Parshas Balak - Parsha Pearls - Easy Come, Easy Go

And Hashem came to Bilam…” (22:9) Chazal say that Hashem gave prophecy to Bilam in order that the nations should not be able to say that had they ...

   
 

Parshas Balak - Aderes HaTorah

This week's Parsha records the incident of Bilam with his donkey, on his way to curse the Jewish People. The donkey has strayed from its normal path and ve...

   
 

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 - Through the Eyes of History (Video)

“Pinchas, the son of Elazar, the son of Aharon HaKohain, appeased My anger against the Bnai Yisroel by taking My revenge amidst them, and so I didn’...

   
 

Parshas Chukas - Just Do It!

Parshas Chukas begins with the laws of Parah Adumah, the Red Heifer, which was used to purify those who became impure by means of coming in contact with a dead ...

   
 

Parshas Chukas - A Special Message for Edom

This week's parsha contains two episodes which are very similar and yet, at the same time, drastically different. After traversing mostly uninhabited desse...

   
 

Parshas Chukas - Knowing and Not Knowing

A little less than two weeks ago, our youngest daughter, her husband and their one-and-a-half year old daughter were traveling back from Cincinnati, Ohio after ...

   
 

Parshas Chukas - The Red Heifer

This week’s parsha discusses the mysterious law of “parah adumah”, the red heifer, which is used for purification, but contaminates those who ...

   
 

Parshas Chukas - Rebuke, The Right Way

[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 me...

   
 

Parshas Chukas - Counter-Terrorism

Each Shabbos we recite Psalm 134 that describes G-d’s continuing role in supervising and guiding history. It was He Who smote many nations and slew kings...

   
 

Parshas Chukas: Parsha Pearls - We're Only 'Visitors' in This World

“This is the chok of the Torah…and they shall take to you a Para Aduma (Red Cow)…19:2) The mitzva of Para Aduma is classified as a chok, me...

   
 

Parshas Chukas: To Sing a New Song...Our Children and Students

When my children were small, they all attended school where I was the principal.  As you can imagine, while I cared about all my students, I took delight i...

   
 

The Right Type of Help - Review of Bishul Akum

Since one of the sources for the prohibition of bishul akum is in parsha Chukas, this presents an ideal time to review these laws. Household help Shirley* ask...

   
 

Parshas Korach - The Power of Prayer

“Va’yichar l’Moshe m’ode vayomer el Hashem al taifen el minchasam … • And Moshe was greatly distressed and he said to Hashem...

   
 

Parshas Korach - United We Stand!

[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 me...