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Parshat Parah

April 9, 2014, by

“This is the decree of the Torah, which Hashem has commanded, saying: Speak to the Children of Israel, and they shall take to you a completely red cow, which is without blemish, and upon which a yoke has not come.” (BaMidbar 19:2) This is an example of Law of the Torah which is considered completely […]

Shabbat Shekalim

April 9, 2014, by

Resh Lakish said “On the first of Adar, an announcement is made concerning the Shekalim.” (Masechet Megillah) The first of the Four Special Shabbatot is Shabbat Parshat Shekalim. It occurs either on the last Shabbat of the month of Shevat, or on the Shabbat which in that year coincides with Rosh Chodesh Adar, or on […]

Sefirat HaOmer – the Basic Meaning

March 10, 2014, by

The word “Sefirah” basically means “counting” or “the count.” What is being counted? One counts things of value. One counts units of time till a desired goal; for a child, it might be, “How many days till vacation?” For an adult, “How many weeks or months till I get my degree?” or “How many years […]

Basic Laws of Sefirat HaOmer

March 9, 2014, by

What are the Biblical sources? We find in the Third Book of the Torah, “VaYikra,” or Leviticus (so-called because much (but far from all) of its content is directed, for practical purposes, at the Tribe of Levi) Chapter 23, verses 15-16, the following: “U’Sefartem lachem Mi’Mochorat HaShabbat,…” “And you shall count for yourselves – from […]

Basic Law Difference – Purim vs. Sefirat HaOmer

March 8, 2014, by

Vive le Difference! It would seem that in connection with Purim, the obligation is one of “Mikra Megillah,” “Reading the Megillah.” The definition of communal “Reading” is “Mashmia L’Ozen,” “Making known to the Ear;” that is, transferring information from the parchment where the living words lie dormant, to the (heart and brain via the) ear. […]

The Four Shabbatot

March 4, 2014, by

As an introduction to this topic, a (relatively) short introductory note would be helpful. On a regular Shabbat, the Parshah of the Week, which is divided into seven portions, is read publicly in the shul, or synagogue. For each of the seven portions, one congregant is “called up” to make “brachot,” or blessings, on the […]

Fast of Esther

March 1, 2014, by

The Fast of Esther is observed in commemoration of the Fast observed by Mordechai and Esther and all Israel. On that very day, the enemies of the Jews had planned to subjugate and destroy them. The opposite, however, occurred and the Jews ruled over their enemies. The practice of fasting was observed by the people […]

The Puzzling Story of the Megillah

February 28, 2014, by

The story of Esther tells us in the most lively, realistic fashion, with a tinge of refined yet biting sarcasm, about paradoxical, absurd events, which are both tragic and comical at the same time. We are told a story of a king who, as our Rabbis have already remarked, killed his beautiful, beloved, young queen […]

Shabbat Shekalim by Rabbi Menachem Leibtag, Yeshivat Har Ezion

February 26, 2014, by

In Memory of Rabbi Abraham Leibtag Parshat Shekalim Just a short ‘vort’ on Parshat Shekalim (Shmot 30:11-16) which we read for maftir this week. A ‘BASE’ AND A ‘CROWN’ What did Bnei Yisrael do with the money collected for the “machazit ha’shekel”? From the commandment at the beginning of Parshat Ki-tisa it is not very […]

Parshat Zachor

February 26, 2014, by

“Zachor Et Asher Asa Lecha Amalek BaDerech Betzetchem MiMitzrayim” “Remember what Amalek did to you on your way out of Egypt! (Dvarim 25)” On the Shabbat that precedes Purim, two Torah scrolls are taken from the ark; one for the regular parsha and one for the Maftir – ‘Remember what Amalek did to you’ (Dvarim […]