Parashat Bo: Of Fire and Water

Excerpted from Rabbi Dr. Norman J. Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages – Exodus, co-published by OU Press and Maggid Books Of Fire and Water The words “fire” and “water,” as we shall be using them, describe two supplementary modes of God’s relationship with the world, and our human reactions to Him. These two times, […]

Parshat Va’eira: Pharaoh’s Free Will

Excerpted from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s Unlocking the Torah Text – Shemot, co-published by OU Press and Gefen Publishers Pharaoh’s Free Will Context At the core of Jewish theology lies a taut balance between three components which define the very parameters of our lives. While the details of this balance have been debated across the centuries, the majority approach […]

Parashat Shemot: How to Raise a Moses

Excerpted from Rabbi Dr. Norman J. Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages – Exodus, co-published by OU Press and Maggid Books How to Raise a Moses The birth of Moses, which is described in this morning’s scriptural reading, is mentioned by the Rabbis in a most interesting and extraordinary Talmudic passage (Song of Songs Rabba […]

Parshat Vayechi: A Retrospective – Was All This Really Necessary?

Excerpted from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s “Unlocking the Torah Text – Bereishit,” co-published by OU Press and Gefen Publishers A Retrospective: Was All This Really Necessary? Context Jewish history effectively begins twice. An introductory, pre-national era is launched when Avraham journeys to Canaan at God’s command. This period, the patriarchal era, comes to an end with Yaakov’s death. Our […]

Parashat Vayigash: On Being Consistent to a Fault

Excerpted from Rabbi Dr. Norman J. Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages – Genesis, co-published by OU Press and Maggid Books On Being Consistent to a Fault The drama of Joseph and his brothers, which draws to a climax in this sidra, is a source of endless fascination. One significant aspect of this […]

The Light That Unites: Day 5 – Making A Miracle Great

Excerpted from The Light That Unites by Rabbi Aaron Goldscheider Making A Miracle Great Nes gadol hayah sham, “A great miracle happened there.” These beloved words are symbolized by the four initials nun, gimmel, heh, shin, which appear on the dreidel, referring of course to the miracle of Chanukah. Moses stands at the burning bush […]

The Light That Unites: On the Thirty-Six Candles of Chanukah

Excerpted from The Light That Unites: A Chanukah Companion – Blessings, Teachings, and Tales by Rabbi Aaron Goldscheider A Kabbalistic Perspective on the Thirty-Six Candles of Chanukah Did you know that the thirty-six candles we light correspond to the thirty-six hours that Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden? So says Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech of […]

Parshat Vayishlach: To Appease or Not to Appease

Excerpted from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s Unlocking the Torah Text – Bereishit, co-published by OU Press and Gefen Publishing  To Appease or Not to Appease Context Yaakov adopts a subservient attitude towards Esav both prior to and during their fateful reunion. The patriarch initiates communication with his brother, repeatedly refers to Esav as “my lord,” plies his brother with gifts, […]

Parashat Vayetzei: The Stone on the Well – Boulder or Pebble?

Excerpted from Rabbi Dr. Norman J. Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages – Genesis, co-published by OU Press and Maggid Books The Stone on the Well – Boulder or Pebble?* In reading this sidra we are puzzled by some extraordinary incidents there recorded. Jacob, we read, had chanced upon a group of shepherds waiting to […]

Parshat Toldot: Finding Yitzchak

Excerpted from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s Unlocking the Torah Text – Bereishit, co-published by OU Press and Gefen Publishing Finding Yitzchak Context Yitzchak, the second of the three patriarchs, emerges as the most enigmatic. In stark contrast to the dramatic lives of both his father, Avraham, and his son, Yaakov, Yitzchak’s life (aside from the Akeida) seems unremarkable. He is […]