No Results Found.

Preparation for Birkat HaMazon
by in
The Torah, after expanding on the praises of the Land of Israel, orders us: פAnd you shall eat and be satisfied, and you will bless HaShem your God for the good land which He gave you.צ (Devarim 8:10.) This is the Torah commandment to say the birkhat hamazon, the grace after meals. Ideally, we should […]
Plowing in the Land of Israel
by in
The Mishna in Shabbat enumerates 39 distinct archetypical labors, or melakhot, according to a number of series. The first is the series of making bread, which begins with sowing and is followed by plowing (Shabbat 73a). The gemara objects that in practice plowing precedes sowing; why does the Mishna reverse the order? The answer: the […]
Order of Blessings
by in
Our parsha contains the Torah mitzva of birkhat hamazon, the grace after meals.This is the only blessing on food which is mandated by the Torah, but serves as one source for the Rabbinical commandment to make a berakha before any food (Berakhot 48b). When faced with a variety of foods, we give precedence to certain […]
Learning Torah on Tish’a b’Av
by in
One of the expressions of mourning on Tisha beAv is that we refrain from studying Torah, just as a mourner does (SA OC 554). The gemara bases this rule on the verse from Tehillim (19:9) “The commands of HaShem are straight, rejoicing the heart” (Taanit 30a). However, this prohibition is not absolute. The same passage […]
The blessing “HaGomel”
by in
Someone who has been safely delivered from a dangerous situation makes a special blessing in public, thanking G-d “Who bestows good on the culpable, Who has bestowed all goodness on me”. The mishna and thus the Shulchan Arukh give four examples: (1) one who returns safely from a perilous trip by sea; (2) or through […]
Wisdom of Secrets Part 3
by in
The last two weeks we have been studying the blessing “the wise One of secrets”, CHACHAM HARAZIM, blessing God Who knows the secret thoughts and views of each individual. We make this blessing when we see “multitudes” of Israel; then we are specially aware of God’s presence and wisdom as each person’s unique view- point […]
Tearing the Hair in Mourning
by in
“You are the children of HaShem your G^d; don’t cut yourselves, nor make baldness between your eyes for the dead” (Devarim 14:1). The second half of the verse forbids a pagan mourning custom of tearing out the hair; it is clear that “between your eyes” actually refers to the hair above the forehead (SA YD […]
Spices at Havdala
by in
At havdala at the close of Shabbat the custom is to make a blessing on pleasant fragrances. Early authorities mentioned two reasons for this custom: [1] Shabbat, the fires of hell are extinguished. Even the sinners get a reprieve from their punishment one day a week. As Shabbat goes out, the flames are fanned again, […]
Overcharging
by in
Commercial life involves human interactions as well as material enrichment. Both are important, but which is the means and which the end? Chamor and Shekhem view human interaction as a means to material enrichment. They urge their subjects to befriend Yaakov’s family and allow them to trade (Bereshit 34:21) – but their goal is to […]
Windows in Shul
by in
“A person should pray only in a house with windows, as it is written (Daniel 6:11), ‘and his windows opened from his loft towards Yerushalayim'” (Berakhot 34b). While there is an opinion that this applies only to prayers in a private house, most Rishonim and the Shulchan Arukh (OC 90:4) learn from this that a […]