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 […]

Parashat Tazria-Metzora: God, Man, and State

Excerpted from Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot – A Commentary for the Ages: Leviticus, co-published by OU Press and Maggid Books God, Man, and State* The conjunction of the two sidrot we read today, Tazria and Metzora, is remarkable. The first speaks of birth, the second of a kind of death (a leper is considered […]

Parshat Vayikra: Chance or Providence

Excerpted from Rabbi Norman Lamm’s Derashot Ledorot: A Commentary for the Ages – Leviticus, co-published by OU Press and Maggid Books CHANCE OR PROVIDENCE* A fundamental question, that has no doubt occurred to many of us here today, is: What is it that makes one person religious and another irreligious? True, there are obvious differences in […]

The Mitzvah of Kiddush HaChodesh

Excerpted from Rabbi Elchanan Adler’s Yerach Tov: Birkat HaChodesh in Jewish Law & Liturgy Chapter 2: The Mitzvah of Kiddush HaChodesh (click here for Chapter 1: Announcing Rosh Chodesh) Hashem spoke to Moshe and Aharon in the land of Egypt, saying: this month is for you the head of the months; it is the first for […]

Announcing Rosh Chodesh

Excerpted from Rabbi Elchanan Adler’s Yerach Tov: Birkat HaChodesh in Jewish Law & Liturgy  Background On the Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh, it is customary to recite Birkat HaChodesh. Birkat HaChodesh, as practiced by Ashkenazic Jewry, is comprised of five elements: The paragraph of Yehi Ratzon, announcement of the molad, the paragraph Mi She’asah Nissim, announcement of […]

Parshat Ki Tisa: A Sin for the Ages

Excerpted by Rabbi Shmuel Goldin’s Unlocking the Torah Text-Shmot, co-published by OU Press and Gefen Publishers Context Rooted at the base of Sinai, the Israelites grow restive as they wait for Moshe to descend from the mountain’s summit. Turning to Aharon, they demand, “Rise up, make for us gods who will go before us, for Moshe […]