Chanukah: On the Threshold

Excerpted from Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Festivals of Faith: Reflections on the Jewish Holidays In its discussion of the proper placement of the Hanukkah menorah, the Talmud (Shabbat 22a) decides in favor of R. Shmuel mi-Difti: one must place the menorah at the left of the doorpost as one enters, with the mezuzah on the right. Maimonides codifies […]

Sukkot: The Illusions We Live By

Excerpted from Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Festivals of Faith: Reflections on the Jewish Holidays The Halakhah is generally rich in the use of illusions, and especially in its treatment of the laws of Sukkot. There is, for instance, the law of lavud. This means that even if there exist empty spaces in the sekhakh, or the covering of […]

Coming of Age: Parashat Ki Tetzei

Excerpted from Dr. Mandell Ganchow’s Coming of Age: An Anthology of Divrei Torah for Bar and Bat Mitzvah   Parashat Ki Tetzei By: Rabbi Moshe Krupka   Ahavat Hashem is a foundation of Yiddishkeit and especially meaningful for boys reaching the pivotal age of bar mitzvah, when a young man becomes responsible for everything he does. […]

Parshat Shoftim: Stained Hands and Clouded Eyes

Excerpted from Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages – Deuteronomy, by Rabbi Norman Lamm This week, after a good two-month vacation, our children will return to their classrooms and again continue the development of their minds and spirits. It will be a momentous occasion, no doubt, for the children themselves. These past few days they […]

Parshat Balak: From Curse to Blessing

Excerpted from Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages – Numbers The opening verse in the daily order of public prayer is the familiar “Ma tovu ohalekha Ya’akov, mishkenotekha Yisrael,” “How good are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel” (Numbers 24:5). It must be quite an important verse to be […]

Parshat Chukat: An Abundance of Mystery  

Excerpted from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s Unlocking the Torah Text – Bamidbar: An In-depth Journey into the Weekly Parsha, co-published by OU Press and Gefen Publishers Context With the phrase Zot chukat haTorah, “This is the statute of the Torah,”God introduces the laws surrounding the purifying ritual of the para aduma, the red heifer. In summary, […]

Parshat Korach: Reenacting an Old Drama

Excerpted from Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages – Numbers, co-published by OU Press and Maggid Books   The rebellion of Korah and his co-conspirators against Moses and Aaron, of which we read this morning, is the first great, direct test of the leadership of Moses. The quelling of the rebellion […]

Parshat Shelach — Chet Hameraglim 1: Unfair Blame?

Excerpted from Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s ‘Unlocking The Torah Text: An In-Depth Journey Into The Weekly Parsha- Bamidbar’ co-published by OU Press and Gefen Publishers Context As the nation stands poised to enter the land of Canaan, Moshe selects twelve meraglim, spies, to tour Canaan and bring back a detailed report concerning the land and its inhabitants. […]

Shavuos: The Torah’s Mystery Man

Excerpted from Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Festivals of Faith: Reflections on the Jewish Holidays, co-published by OU Press and Ktav Publishers. The Book of Ruth read on Shavuot is a beautiful and inspiring story, instructive to us in many ways. The story itself is fairly simple, and most of us are, or should be, well acquainted with […]

Parshat Naso: Sinner or Saint?

Excerpted from Unlocking the Torah Text –Bamidbar by Rabbi Shmuel Goldin Context Conflicting signals mark the Torah’s attitude towards a man or a woman who vows to become a Nazirand thus accepts the personal obligation to refrain from 1. Consumption of wine, grapes and any grape product 2. Haircuts 3. Any defiling contact with a human corpse […]