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 […]

Parshat Chukat: Punishment Fitting the Crime?

Excerpted from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s Unlocking the Torah Text – Bamidbar, co-published by OU Press and Gefen Publishers Context Immediately following the death of Miriam, the nation rises in complaint against Moshe and Aharon due to a lack of water. When Moshe and Aharon turn to God at the entrance of the Sanctuary, God instructs Moshe: […]

Parshat Korach: Rebel and Revolutionary

Excerpted from Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages – Numbers, co-published by OU Press and Maggid Books Rebel and Revolutionary* The rebellion against the leadership of Moses and Aaron is one which had tragic consequences and which left an indelible impression upon the collective Jewish memory. The Torah lists the […]

Parshat Shelach: Fringe Element

Excerpted from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s Unlocking the Torah Text – Bamidbar, co-published by OU Press and Gefen Publishers Context Parshat Shelach closes with a discussion of the mitzva of tzitzit, the commandment to place fringes on the corners of all four-cornered garments worn by men. While the majority of the tzitzit threads are to be white […]

Parashat Beha’alotekha: A Definition of Anivut

Excerpted from Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages – Numbers, co-published by OU Press and Maggid Books 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, […]

Chumash Mesoras HaRav – Parshas Bamidbar

Excerpted from Chumash Mesoras HaRav – Sefer Bamidbar, The Neuwirth Edition, featuring the commentary of the Rav, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, compiled by Dr. Arnold Lustiger שְׂאוּ אֶת רֹאשׁ כָּל עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל – Take a census of the entire assembly of Israel. What was the purpose of this census? Nachmanides (verse 45) offers two explanations. The […]

Parshat Behar: In Praise of Impracticality

Excerpted from Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages – Leviticus co-published by OU Press and Maggid Books In Praise of Impracticality* Our sidra opens with the words, “And the Lord spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai (behar Sinai), saying…” (Leviticus 25:1). What follows this introduction is a portion that deals with the […]

Parshat Kedoshim: An Impossible Directive

Excerpted from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s Unlocking the Torah Text – Vayikra, co-published by OU Press and Gefen Publishers. Context Roughly midpoint in the text of the Torah, at the culmination of the series of vital interpersonal laws of Parshat Kedoshim, lies a three-word mandate considered by sages such as Hillel and Rabbi Akiva to be the […]