Parshat Matot: Changing World, Unchanging Law

Excerpted from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s ‘Unlocking The Torah Text: An In-Depth Journey Into The Weekly Parsha- Bamidbar’ Context As Parshat Matot opens, Moshe outlines the laws governing nedarim, personal vows. These edicts underscore the seriousness with which such verbal commitments are to be treated. In contrast to men, who remain personally responsible for all vows taken, […]

Parshat Balak: From Curse to Blessing

Excerpted from Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages – Numbers The opening verse in the daily order of public prayer is the familiar “Ma tovu ohalekha Ya’akov, mishkenotekha Yisrael,” “How good are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel” (Numbers 24:5). It must be quite an important verse to be […]

Parshat Chukat: An Abundance of Mystery  

Excerpted from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s Unlocking the Torah Text – Bamidbar: An In-depth Journey into the Weekly Parsha Context With the phrase Zot chukat haTorah, “This is the statute of the Torah,”God introduces the laws surrounding the purifying ritual of the para aduma, the red heifer. In summary, the Torah mandates that an individual who […]

Parshat Korach: Reenacting an Old Drama

Excerpted from Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages – Numbers   The rebellion of Korah and his co-conspirators against Moses and Aaron, of which we read this morning, is the first great, direct test of the leadership of Moses. The quelling of the rebellion of this band of malcontents reestablished and […]

Parshat Shelach — Chet Hameraglim 1: Unfair Blame?

Excerpted from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s ‘Unlocking The Torah Text: An In-Depth Journey Into The Weekly Parsha- Bamidbar’ Context As the nation stands poised to enter the land of Canaan, Moshe selects twelve meraglim, spies, to tour Canaan and bring back a detailed report concerning the land and its inhabitants. Upon their return, the spies issue an […]

Shavuos: The Torah’s Mystery Man

Excerpted from Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Festivals of Faith: Reflections on the Jewish Holidays  The Book of Ruth read on Shavuot is a beautiful and inspiring story, instructive to us in many ways. The story itself is fairly simple, and most of us are, or should be, well acquainted with it. The cast of characters is well-known: […]

Parshat Naso: Sinner or Saint?

Excerpted from Unlocking the Torah Text –Bamidbar by Rabbi Shmuel Goldin Context Conflicting signals mark the Torah’s attitude towards a man or a woman who vows to become a Nazirand thus accepts the personal obligation to refrain from 1. Consumption of wine, grapes and any grape product 2. Haircuts 3. Any defiling contact with a human corpse […]

Parshat Bamidbar – Beyond Mitzvot

Excerpted from Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages – Numbers by Rabbi Norman Lamm  Our haftara for this morning, from the second chapter of Hosea, begins on a high optimistic note: “And the number of the Children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered” (2:1). […]

Bernard Revel Arrested for Socialist Agitation

Excerpted from “Bernard Revel: Builder of American Jewish Orthodoxy” by By Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff The ideals of social justice and human betterment were of paramount concern even within the yeshiva world. Many yeshiva students abandoned their studies and completely cast their lot with the revolutionary groups. Others envisioned plans whereby these secular ideologies could be merged […]

Rabbi Eliezer Silver Meets President Taft

Excerpt from the new OU Press book, The Silver Era: Rabbi  Eliezer Silver and His Generation, by Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff   On June 12, 1912, [Rabbi Eliezer Silver] was part of a delegation which called upon William Howard Taft, the twenty-seventh president of the United States. It was the first time that such a group […]