Festivals of Faith – Rosh HaShana: The Sense of Shame

Excerpted from Rabbi Dr. Norman J. Lamm’s Festivals of Faith: Reflections on the Jewish Holidays The Sense of Shame* We moderns have, to a large extent, lost the ability to feel ashamed. Young people grow up with an attitude of sneering cynicism, and moral restraint is treated like an anachronism, an outdated inhibition. Shame is unknown. Our theaters […]

Parshat Ki Tavo: One Nation, All Alone, Under God

Excerpted from Rabbi Dr. Norman J. Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages – Deuteronomy, co-published by OU Press and Maggid Books One Nation, All Alone, Under God* In the portion of this week’s reading which describes the blessings that will come upon Israel, we read one verse that is outstanding by its magnificence: “And […]

Parshat Ki Tetzei: Mandated Memory

Excerpted from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s Unlocking the Torah Text – Devarim, co-published by OU Press and Gefen Publishers. Context With the final three sentences of Parshat Ki Tetzei, the Torah turns its attention to the mitzva of remembering the crimes of the nation of Amalek, the archenemy of the Jewish people. Zachor, remember that which Amalek did to […]

Parshat Shoftim: A King in Israel

Excerpted from Rabbi Dr. Norman J. Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages – Deuteronomy, co-published by OU Press and Maggid Books A King in Israel* The Torah’s concept of a limited monarchy, with a king subservient to the law and to God, is first outlined in this morning’s sidra: “When you reach the Promised […]

Parshat Re’eh: Truth or Consequences

Excerpted from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s Unlocking the Torah Text – Devarim, co-published by OU Press and Gefen Publishers Context As Moshe turns his attention to a series of internal forces that might endanger the nation after his death, he begins by outlining the potential challenge presented by a navi sheker, a false prophet. He warns of the […]

Parshat Ekev: An Unusual Sales Pitch

Excerpted from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s Unlocking the Torah Text – Devarim, co-published by OU Press and Gefen Publishers Context On two separate occasions in Parshat Ekev, Moshe describes the nature of the land promised to the Israelites. Towards the beginning of the parsha, Moshe declares: For the Lord your God is bringing you to a good land: […]

Parshat Ekev: One Small Detail

Excerpted from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s Unlocking the Torah Text – Devarim, co-published by OU Press and Gefen Publishers Context As Moshe recounts the events following the sin of the golden calf, he adds a detail not mentioned in the original version of these events, recorded in the book of Shmot. Moshe relates that when God commanded him to […]

In The Narrow Places: Day 21 – 8 Av

Excerpted from In the Narrow Places: Daily Inspiration for the Three Weeks by Dr. Erica Brown, co-published by OU Press and Maggid Books Day Twenty One: 8 Av – Words on Fire On Tisha B’Av, we think also of another book burning, far more ancient and closer to the heart of the day. In chapter 36 of […]

Parshat Vaetchanan: Being Commanded to Love

Excerpted from Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm’s “Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages – Deuteronomy,” co-published by OU Press and Maggid Books  Being Commanded to Love* The entire book of Deuteronomy, when compared to the first four books of the Torah, is found to have a unique character, a personality all its own. Whereas in […]

Parshat Pinchas: Righteous Reward

Excerpted from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s Unlocking the Torah Text – Bamidbar, co-published by OU Press and Gefen Publishers Context As Parshat Pinchas opens, God details the divine reward to be bestowed upon Pinchas for his courageous defense of God’s honor during the episode of Ba’al Pe’or: “Therefore, proclaim: Behold! I give him My covenant of […]