Is Hanukkah merely a holiday telling us a heroic story of battles won and political victories gained, like the American Fourth of July or the French Fourteenth of July? A political event, even one of the greatest importance, can be celebrated only as long as the people view it as a turning point in history, […]
The story of Hanukkah is typical of all our confrontations in the Galut, the Diaspora. In aristocracy, each family has a coat of arms, an emblem. What was the emblem of Joseph? It was the ketonet passim, of course, the multicolored coat, a coat composed of stripes that his father made for him (Gen. 37:3). […]
I remember hearing or reading that R. Moshe Feinstein blamed the mass defections from Jewish observance in America during the first half of the twentieth century on a simple phrase: “S’iz shver tzu zain a Yid – It is difficult to be a Jew.” Because parents would tell their children how difficult it was to […]
Sarah’s biblical epitaph enumerates the years of her life in an unusual fashion, with the word “years” repeated three times: “one hundred years and twenty years and seven years” (Genesis 23:1). Rashi quotes a midrashic interpretation comparing a hundred-year old with a twenty-year old and a twenty-year old with a seven-year old, explaining that Sarah […]
When the three travelers, angels in disguise, came to visit Abraham, the ailing patriarch chose to disrupt a conversation with God in order to greet them (Gen. 18:1-2). Thus Chazal said that to receive lonely travelers on a hot day and give them water to drink, tell them to wash up and serve them food, […]
Finding the Holy “And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Shechem… and the Lord appeared to Abraham and said: To your seed will I give this land; and he built there an altar unto the Lord who appeared to him” (Gen. 12:6-7). Why was it necessary to say “who appeared to him”? […]
The Mishnah (Berakhos 15a) records a dispute over whether you can fulfill your obligation to recite the Shema if you are not careful in how you pronounce it (kara ve-lo dikdek be-osi’oseha). The Shulchan Arukh (Orach Chaim 62:1) rules that you fulfill your obligation after the fact (bedi’avad). While there is room to discuss the […]
This is a test of the emergency broadcast system.