Parshat Yitro: The Top Ten?

Excerpted from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s Unlocking the Torah Text – Shmot, co-published by OU Press and Gefen Publishers Context Finally God commences the process of Revelation with the transmission of the Ten Declarations to the Israelites: “I am the Lord your God…; You shall have no other gods before Me…; Do not take the name […]

Parshat Beshalach: What Makes A Jewish Song Jewish

Excerpted from Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages – Exodus, co-published by OU Press and Maggid Books What Makes a Jewish Song Jewish?¹ In discussing the theme of this sermon, “What Makes a Jewish Song Jewish?,” I speak as a rabbi, not as a musician or connoisseur of the arts. I […]

Parshat Va’eira: Belated Introductions

Excerpted from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s Unlocking the Torah Text-Shmot, co-published by OU Press and Gefen Publishers Context When Moshe’s birth was chronicled in Parshat Shmot, the text deliberately omitted any description of his lineage, choosing instead to preface his birth with the mysterious sentence “And a man went from the House of Levi and he […]

Parshat Shemot: Menschlichkeit

Excerpted from Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages – Exodus, co-published by OU Press and Maggid Books In Yiddish, the word for “man,” mensch, represents more than a biological species, the Homo sapiens. A mensch is also one who has a mature personality, a fully developed character, a sense of finesse and […]

Parshat Vayechi: Rising to Leadership

Excerpted from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s “Unlocking the Torah Text – Bereishit,” co-published by OU Press and Gefen Publishers Context A hidden struggle courses beneath the surface of the Yosef story as, unknowingly, each of Yaakov’s sons strives for a prize of overwhelming responsibility and inestimable value. By the time the narrative reaches its conclusion a […]

Half the Hanukkah Story

Excerpted from Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Festivals of Faith   Two themes are central to the festival of Hanukkah which we welcome this week. They are, first, the nes milhamah, the miraculous victory of the few over the many and the weak over the strong as the Jews repulsed the Syrian-Greeks and reestablished their independence. The second […]

Variations on the Hanukkah Theme

Excerpted from Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Festivals of Faith: Reflections on the Jewish Holidays Tonight, immediately after the Sabbath is over, we shall be confronted with the observance of two precious mitzvot: the kindling of the Hanukkah candles, for Hanukkah begins tonight; and the Havdalah, which marks the end of Sabbath. The question of which shall be performed […]

Parshat Vayishlach: Under the Terebinth

Excerpted from Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages — Genesis, co-published by OU Press and Maggid Books   A strange ceremony is enacted by Jacob in this sidra. After the unhappy incident of the violation of Dina by Shechem, and the destruction of the city by Dina’s brothers, the sons of Jacob, […]

Parshat Vayishlach: Growing Pains

Excerpted from Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages – Genesis, co-published by OU Press and Maggid Books   In one chapter of our sidra, the Torah mentions no less than four times the relationship between Esau and Edom (“Esav hu Edom” – “Esau is Edom”) – either describing their mutual identity, or […]

Concise Code: Lighting Shabbat Candles

Excerpted from “The Concise Code of Jewish Law – Vol. 2: A Guide to the Observance of Shabbat“ by Rabbi Gersion Appel, co-published by OU Press and Maggid Books   2. It is a mitzvah to light many candles in the home in honor of Shabbat. Some are accustomed to light ten candles, others seven candles. One of […]