OU Staff

Shabbat HaGadol

April 9, 2014, by

Shabbat HaGadol, the Sabbath preceding Passover, derives its name (The Great Sabbath) from the importance of the approaching festival and from the Haftarah reading of the day that closes with an allusion to the “Coming of Elijah on the Great Day of the L-rd”.

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 […]

Parshat 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: An Overview

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 […]

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 […]

Bows and Arrows

February 26, 2014, by

Obviously, bows and arrows are military symbols. In this context, they are doubtless a reminder of the Revolt of the Jewish People, led by Bar Kochba, against the Romans in 135 C.E. (some 1,865 years ago). In this revolt, which took place some sixty-five years after the Destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans […]

Lag B’Omer From Torah Tidbits

February 26, 2014, by

Lag BaOmer is an enigmatic semi- holiday, of which the Shulchan Aruch speaks in terms of “a bit of joy”, which grew to a festive day of major proportion in the Chassidic world. Lag BaOmer should be seen in the context of the whole Omer period, in order to be properly understood. From the perspective […]

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