Orthodox Union

Hanukkah and Independence Day

December 24, 2009, by

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, […]

Rav Soloveitchik on Parashat Vayeshev

December 14, 2009, by

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). […]

Difficult Judaism

November 18, 2009, by

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 […]

Rav Yitzchak Blau on Parashat Chayei Sarah

November 18, 2009, by

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 […]

Rav Soloveitchik on Parashat Vayera

November 18, 2009, by

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, […]

Rav Soloveitchik on Parashat Lekh Lekha

November 5, 2009, by

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”? […]

Saying Shema Better

October 28, 2009, by

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 […]

Test

October 1, 2009, by

This is a test of the emergency broadcast system.