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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...

   
 

Parshas Bamidbar - Individuality

 ״איש על דגלו באתת לבית אבותם יחנו בני ישראל (ב׳,ב׳)״ "The Children of Israel shall encamp, each man by his banner...

   
 

Serving Dairy Bread on Shavuos

What about small amounts, and does the prohibition apply only to bread? Question #1: The Whey to Celebrate Shavuos! “May I add dairy ingredients to bre...

   
 

Shavuos 5775 Seeing...is Believing

The holiday of Shavuot is nearly here. One can only begin to imagine what it was like for the Jewish people to have the divine encounter that is described for u...

   
 

Parshas Behar/B'Chukosai - Shemittah: Relation to Mount Sinai

“Va’y’daber Hashem el Moshe el Moshe b’Har Sinai laimor. Daber el b’nei Yisrael v’amarta a’laihem ki sa’vo&rsquo...

   
 

Parshas Behar/Bechukosai - Why We Are Responsible for Evil That Befalls Us - And Why That is Good

The 26th chapter of Vayikra sets out with stunning clarity the terms of Jewish life under the covenant. On the one hand, there is an idyllic picture of t...

   
 

Parshas Behar/Bechukosai - The Cry of The Shofar

I recently came across the ‘tzavaa’, or the ethical will of Rav Menachem Mann Shach OBM, famed Rosh Yeshivah of Ponevez. This document was written...

   
 

Parshas Behar/B'Chukosai - The Merit of the Many Outweighs the Merit of the Few

This past Tuesday was the yahrtzeit of my great aunt, Lady Amélie Jakobovits, a"h. The shtikle is dedicated le'iluy nishmasah, Mayla bas Eliyahu. T...

   
 

Seven - The Power of Numbers

Numbers have power and significance.  Some numbers have greater significance than others, often due to their properties as primes or unique, or their role ...

   
 

Be'ohalei Ha'avos On Pirkei Avos - Perek 5

Shabbos Behar ירושלים עיה"ק תו"ת  Avos 5, 1 The fifth perek in Pirkei Avos starts off with an explicit theme of the number ten. Each of th...

   
 

Parshas Behar/B'Chukosai - Social Insecurity

The Torah foretells of a time when the Jewish nation will fall short in their commitment to G-d and suffer the terrible consequences of their poor choices. They...

   
 

Parshas Behar/B'Chukosai - Kol Yisrael

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

   
 

Parshas Behar/B'Chukosai - I Make A Difference

In Parshas Bechukosai, Hashem tells us that if we adhere to the Torah we will receive an abundance of blessings.  The Mishna in Pirkei Avos states that if...

   
 

The Why's and Whey's of Gevinas Akum

Although it is still more than a week until Shavuos, I thought this is an appropriate time to study up on some of the halachos germane to eating milchig.The Why...

   
 

Parshas Emor - Kohanim: Keep Out!

The very first comment of Rashi in this week's parsha deals with the seemingly redundant phrase, "Emor el hakohanim b'nei Aharon, ve'amarta aleih...

   
 

Parshas Emor - Understanding Sefiras Ha'omer

[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 ...

   
 

Parshas Emor - Defining Greatness

In Kedoshim, the portion of the Torah that teaches us how to be holy, we learned that being a holy person, is primarily focussed on interpersonal relationship...

   
 

Parshas Emor - Aderes HaTorah

At the end of this week's Parsha the Torah tells about the "Ben Isha Yisraelis" who went out and was mechalel shem Shamayim by cursing the Name of Hashem. ...

   
 

Parshas Emor - Teach Them To Your Children

“V’yomer Hashem el Moshe emor el ha’Kohanim b’nei Aharon v’amarta aleihem … • Hashem said to Moshe, say to the Kohanim...

   
 

Parshas Emor - How Do You Measure Up?

For the past thirty three days we have been ‘counting the Omer’. We recite the blessing prior to actually counting and mention how G-d sanctified us...

   
 

Parshas Emor - Peace = Utopia

There are some laws in the Torah that are referred to as chukim, meaning that we don't necessarily understand the reasons behind them. The special laws reg...

   
 

Parshas Emor - This Day...Derech Eretz and the Study of Torah

Our modern culture teaches us to “stop and smell the roses.”  To relax, “take a load off”.  We push ourselves too relentlessly...

   
 

A Shemittah Glossary

 Question #1: Shemittah or shevi’is? “What is the difference between shemittah and shevi’is?” Question #2: Sefichin “What ...

   
 

Tonight/Tomorrow is Pesach Sheni; What is it?

Pesach Sheni - the "Second" Pesach is today, 14th day of Iyar, May 14, 2014 First, a little background: One who was ritually unclean, ta'mai, was not al...

   
 

Parshas Acharei Mos/Kedoshim - Holy Surroundings

It is not difficult to establish a connection between Acharei Mos and Kedoshim. For example, the subject of illicit relations is discussed in both. But there is...

   
 

Parshas Acharei Mos/Kedoshim - Proper Protesting & Respecful Rebuking

Parshas Acharei Mos: The Medrash says that when Iyov heard that the two sons of Aharon died he became very worried.  Why? Chazal say that the reason Iyo...

   
 

Parshas Acharei Mos/Kedoshim -Be Holy! Kedoshim Tihiyu

The title of the Parsha is Kedoshim. This is a section about holiness. Moshe commanded the Jewish people to be holy, what are the parameters of holiness and e...

   
 

Parshas Acharei Mos/Kedoshim - Two Sides of Kedusha

We can’t escape it. Both individually and nationally, a Jew is obligated to achieve kedusha (to be holy - elevated and distinguished). A “גוי ק...

   
 

Parshas Acharei Mos/Kedoshim - Aderes HaTorah

In this week's Parsha, the Torah commands us to rise out of respect for an elderly person. Chazal tell us that the term "zakein" does not refer only to an ...

   
 

Parshas Kedoshim - Love is More Than The Negative Of A Negative - The Lesson Of Kedoshim

Why does God give us the Ten Commandments?  Why does He make explicit that we are not, for example, to murder?  The most obvious answer is that God co...

   
 

Insights Into Halacha: The Tattoo Taboo and Permanent Make-Up Too

There is a widespread myth, especially among secular American Jews, that a Jew with a tattoo may not be buried in a Jewish cemetery[1]. This prevalent belief,...

   
 

Be'ohalei Ha'avos on Pirkei Avos

Shabbos Emor (Eretz Yisrael) ירושלים עיה"ק תו"ת Avos 4,1 In the first mishna of this week's perek in Pirkei Avos the tanna Ben-Zoma makes ...

   
 

Parshas Acharei Mos/Kedoshim - Be All That You Can Be

״דבר אל כל עדת ב״י ואמרת אליהם קדשים תיהו״ "Speak to the entire assembly of the children of Israel and say to them: You shall...

   
 

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

This week’s reading is either Acharei Mos/Kedoshim or Emor depending on whether you are in Chutz La’aretz or in Eretz Yisrael. Either way, Kohanim f...

   
 

Parshas Tazria/Metzora - Together Alone

Most of this week's parshios deal with the laws of the metzora. We are told (13:46) that the metzora must be sent outside of the camps and must dwell alone...

   
 

Parshas Tazria/Metzora - The Danger of Renaissance

Rav Yanai was a giant in his generation, the generation immediately following the leadership of Rebbe Yehudah Hanasi. After a long period of persecution by th...

   
 

Parshas Tazria/Metzora - Chacham Einav b'Rosho

“Ve’ra’ah hakohein acharei hukabeis es ha’nega v’hinei lo hafach ha’nega es eino v’ha’nega lo fasa… &bull...

   
 

Be'ohalei Ha'avos on Pirkei Avos (Israel: Shabbos Acharei Mos ' Kedoshim 5775)

In this week's Perek of Pirkei Avos the Mishna tells us that Rabbi Akiva used to say "dear is man for he was created in in the image (on a metaphysical lev...

   
 

Parshas Tazria/Metzora - Aderes HaTorah

In this week's parsha we learn about the laws and circumstances of  Tzara'as that could occur on a person's body, clothing or home. Upon the...