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Parshas Vaeschanan
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Why Va’eschanan Follows Tisha B’Av      Just as explanations are given as to why it is that parshas Devarim always immediately precedes Tisha B’Av, so too must there be a reason why it is that Va’eschanan always follows Tisha B’Av. Rav Simcha Bunim Mi’Peshischa said that it is because Va’eschanan contains the Aseres Ha’Dibros which, as Rashi cites from Rav Saadya Gaon, contain the entire Torah. Because Klal Yisrael is not […]
Making Love Last
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Over the past few months I’ve been having conversations with leading thinkers, intellectuals, innovators and philanthropists for a BBC series on moral challenges of the 21st century. Among those I spoke to was David Brooks, one of the most insightful moralists of our time. His conversation is always scintillating, but one remark of his was particularly […]
If At First…
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It is not your responsibility to finish the work [of perfecting the world], but you are not free to desist from it either – Rabbi Tarfon, Pirkei Avot 2:16 Failure will make you better – Anonymous Our culture is relentless in driving us forward to do! do! do!   Everything is black and white.  You succeed, or you […]
Remembering Shabbos and Guarding Shabbos
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שָׁמוֹר אֶת יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת לְקַדְּשׁוֹ כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוְּךָ ה’ אֱלֹקֶיךָ Safeguard the Shabbos day to sanctify it, as Hashem, your God, has commanded you (5:12) The Fourth Commandment Our Parsha contains a retrospective description of the event of hearing the Aseres HaDibros at Har Sinai. As is well-known, there are certain differences between the Aseres HaDibros […]
Va’etchanan: “Nu? New!”
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There is a Yiddish expression which has made it into the spoken English language. The expression is a simple one, with just two letters. I’m referring to the expression, “nu”. Most English dictionaries classify it as an “interjection”, and define it as meaning, “Well? So? So, what?” I grew up thinking that the word “nu” […]
Cognitive Restructuring
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“Do not covet the house of your neighbor. Do not covet the wife of your neighbor; his slave and maid servant, his ox, his donkey, and all that belongs to your neighbor.” – Shemos 20:14 The Even Ezra explains that people are perplexed by this mitzvah. How is it possible not to desire that which […]
Devarim 5778
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Vilna Gaon: What makes Sefer Devarim unique in contrast to the first four books of the Torah? Download the mekorot here Delivered at the OU Israel Center, 7 Av 5778 (July 19th, 2018)