Parshat Pekudei: Time, Space, and Man

Excerpted from Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages — Exodus, co-published by OU Press and Maggid Publishers In our traditional Jewish literature, especially our Kabbalistic literature, all of life, experience, and existence are conceived of as consisting of three dimensions: olam, shana, and nefesh. Literally, these mean world, year, and soul. Actually, […]

Parshat Ki Tisa: Stubbornness

Excerpted from Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages — Exodus, co-published by OU Press and Maggid Publishers   It was Rabbi Simcha Zissel, one of the giants of the Lithuanian Mussar movement, who pointed out an unusual aspect of God’s reaction to the worship of the Golden Calf by the Israelites. The […]

Parshat Tetzaveh: Channeling Change

Excerpted from Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages — Exodus, co-published by OU Press and Maggid Publishers   One of the main and most fundamental contentions of all moralists of all ages is that human nature is not basically unchangeable.Ask any teacher of religion whether change is possible in Man, and his […]

Parshat Bereishit — Reflections on the Divine Image

Excerpted from Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages — Genesis Parashat Bereshit teaches us one of the most fundamental concepts of our faith. It is something we speak of often, and that is perhaps why we frequently fail to appreciate its depth and the magnitude of its influence. The concept of […]

Parshat Ki Tavo: Selihot – The First Fruits of the New Year

  Excerpted from Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages — Deuteronomy   At the beginning of today’s sidra we read of two institutions which were legislated for our ancestors by Moses. The first is the bikurim, the commandment to bring the first fruit to the kohen (priest). The second is the ma’asrot, […]

Parshat Re’eh – Absent Presence: A Personal Retrospective

Excerpted from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s Unlocking the Torah Text – Sefer Devarim Context By rabbinic mandate, the section of Parshat Re’eh detailing the agricultural and festival cycle of the Jewish year1 is among the Torah passages read in synagogue on the festivals of Pesach, Shavuot and Shmini Atzeret (the independent holy day attached as an eighth […]

Parshat Va’Etchanan: The Dialogue of Prayer

Excerpted from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s ‘Unlocking The Torah Text: An In-Depth Journey Into The Weekly Parsha- Devarim‘ Context Although a distinct, separate obligation, the mitzva of Kriat Shma is not performed in isolation. Instead, the three paragraphs of the Shma are woven into, and recited as part of, central sections of the morning and evening prayer […]

Parshat Shelach: Having Self-Respect

Excerpted from Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages — Numbers  There is an old proverb, in the finest and juiciest vernacular, which expresses a great and unfortunate truth – “As the Gentile goes, so goes the Jew.” This pointed and biting comment on the Jew in exile is amply attested to […]

Parshat Beha’alotecha: A Definition of Anivut

Excerpted from Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages — Numbers  Our sidra this morning introduces us, rather casually and incidentally, to one of the most important and highly celebrated virtues in the arsenal of religion – that of anivut. We read in today’s portion, “And the man Moses was the most […]

Parshat Naso: A Jewish Definition of Power

Excerpted from Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages — Numbers  Our haftara this morning tells of the birth of one of the most colorful personalities in biblical history, Samson. He is the only biblical figure known in Jewish literature as a gibor, a hero or strongman. His power was proverbial. This […]