Headlines: Shooting Down a Hijacked Plane – Killing a Few to Save the Lives of Many

Excerpted from Dovid Lichtenstein’s Headlines: Halachic Debates of Current Events Shooting Down a Hijacked Plane:  Killing a Few to Save the Lives of Many   The devastating tragedy of 9/11 introduced to the world a frightening new form of terrorism — the use of hijacked planes as torpedoes to blow up crowded buildings and skyscrapers, רחמנא […]

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 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 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 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 […]

Had Gadya, One Little Goat

Excerpted from Dr. Erica Brown’s ‘Seder Talk: A Conversational Haggada,’ co-published by OU Press and Maggid Books   One little goat Had Gadya is a fanciful whimsy of a song, likely of medieval German origin. This type of folksong that introduces characters who each have a destructive relationship with the previous character creates an image […]

Parshat Teruma: Living Up to Your Image

Excerpted from Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages– Exodus We read in this morning’s sidra of the instructions given to Moses to build the Tabernacle. Among other things, he is commanded to build the Ark, containing the Tablets of the Law. This aron, Moses is told, should be made of wood […]