Aug. 17, 2018 |
THE CONCEPT OF MONARCHY
Recently, my wife and I were privileged to travel to Russia
for a brief but fascinating trip under the leadership of Rabbi Aryeh Katzin, a principal
force behind Russian kiruv in the U.
S. Rabbi Katzin heads RAJE (Russian-American Jewish Experience) and founded
Sinai Academy. He grew up under Communism in Russia, learned Torah in
Yerushalayim, and was recruited some thirty years ago by leading American rabbis,
principal among them Rabbi Elya Svei zt”l.
Aug. 10, 2018 |
THE ANATOMY OF LOSHON HARA
This Shabbos and Sunday are Rosh
Chodesh Elul! One month until Rosh
Aug. 03, 2018 |
We are now in the Season of Teshuva (repentance). Next Shabbos
is Rosh Chodesh Elul, but – after all
– the entire summer is a time of teshuva.
Is this not what The Three Weeks are all about?
Jul. 27, 2018 |
SHEMONEH ESREH AS A PATH TO TESHUVA
Moshe Rabbeinu] implored Hashem at that time.” (Deuteronomy 3:23)
Jul. 20, 2018 |
THERE MAY YET BE HOPE!
“Eulogize the pious
and proper ones who sank in the treacherous waters. At the memory of this, my
soul is grieved.” (Kinnah 22, Tisha B’Av)
Jul. 13, 2018 |
“YOUR THOUGHTS ARE NOT MY THOUGHTS”
“These are the
commandments and the ordinances that Hashem commanded through Moses to the
Children of Israel in the plains of Moav at the Jordan River by Jericho.” (Numbers
Jul. 06, 2018 |
COVENANT OF PEACE
As the Three Weeks begin, we hear news that the government
of Great Britain intends to implement rulings that would force all schools in
England to adhere to a curriculum which is antithetical to Truth as revealed by
Jun. 29, 2018 |
Why do people hurt themselves?
Jun. 22, 2018 |
day in davening we say: “V’ha’ofanim v’chayos hakodesh … Then the
Ofanim and the holy Chayos… raise themselves toward the Seraphim facing them.
They offer praise and proclaim: Blessed is the glory of Hashem from His Place.”
What are Ofanim, Chayos and Seraphim?
They are heavenly beings, but how are we to relate to them?
Jun. 15, 2018 |
What can we learn from the frightening events described in this
week’s Torah Portion, Korach?
Jun. 08, 2018 |
WE WILL BE LIKE DREAMERS
The American Dream.
Jun. 01, 2018 |
TRAVELING WITH THE ARON
There is a unique passage in this week’s Torah portion.
May. 18, 2018 |
THE LEMON TREE
In Israel we have a small garden behind our home. It has a
border of soil, maybe two feet wide. Not much space, but there are beautiful
flowers. My wife, bli eyen hara,
understands plants, and this place looks like Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden) to me. Besides the flowers, there are
a few trees. One is a lemon tree.
May. 11, 2018 |
THE HIDDEN WORLD
“The heavens declare the glory of G-d, and the expanse of
the sky tells of His handiwork. Day following day brings expressions of praise,
and night following night bespeaks wisdom. There is no speech and there are no
words; their sound is unheard.” (Psalm 19)
May. 04, 2018 |
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WALL
I love the
season of Sefiras Ha Omer, the forty-nine days between Passover and Shavuos
during which we count the Omer. They are elevated above ordinary
days. They themselves feel like a Yom Tov!
In fact, the Ramban, in his commentary to
Leviticus 23:36, explains that Shavuos is related to Passover as Shemini Atzeres is related to Sukkos. Sefiras Ha Omer is the “Chol Hamoed” linking Passover to Shavuos.
Apr. 27, 2018 |
SURROUNDED BY TORAH
“Does a non-Jew
really understand the pleasures of this world? Did he ever wake up a few hours
before sunrise, drink a hot coffee, and then, with a clear mind, study Torah
without interruption for two hours, followed by immersion in a hot mikveh as
preparation for an inspired, fiery davening? Does he have any idea of the true
pleasures of this world?”
Apr. 20, 2018 |
IT IS TIME
I write these words
after Shabbos, as the Yom Tov of Pesach is leaving
Apr. 13, 2018 |
THE SMALLEST NATION
This week’s Torah
Portion describes the inauguration of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle.
Mar. 29, 2018 |
OVERTURNING HOMES AND HEARTS
A grandson of Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman zt”l said, “When I served [my grandfather] food, he would … ask if I wanted to
eat…. I often told him that I am a baal taavah and the food he ate would not be
sufficient for me…. He would sigh and comment, ‘Eating is for me like fasting
for you.’” (Quoted in Yated Ne’eman, 29 Adar)
Mar. 23, 2018 |
MASTERS OF TIME
Before we became observant, life was like a carousel. We
rode round and round. When the music stopped, we got off … at the same place we
Mar. 16, 2018 |
LEARNING FROM THE “VOV”
This momentous Shabbos
ushers in the Month of Miracles.
Mar. 09, 2018 |
ONE HUGE STEAK
A prominent rosh yeshiva once remarked to me, “I never ate a steak in my life.”
Mar. 02, 2018 |
IF YOU ARE QUIET, YOU WILL HEAR
When my wife and I were college students, we joined the “Peace Movement,” protesting the Vietnam War. This was before we became aware of our Jewishness; we were looking for something to fill up the spiritual vacuum, but there was no peace in the Peace Movement.
Feb. 23, 2018 |
Just seven words. It was not a Gemora, not a Rashi. It was a few words from a commentary explaining a Tosfos. I was sitting in Yerushalayim early Shabbos morning and trying to understand those seven words.
Feb. 16, 2018 |
WHAT WE HAVE LOST
“Al naharos Bavel … by the Rivers of Babylon, there we sat and also we wept when we remembered Tzion…. If I forget you, then let my right hand forget its skill; let my tongue adhere to my palate, if I fail to remember you, if I fail to elevate Yerushalayim above the foremost of my joys….” (Psalm 137)
Feb. 09, 2018 |
ONE THING I ASKED OF HASHEM!
Our grandson, Shmuel ha Levi Jungreis, was kind enough to buy us a copy of the Artscroll volume “Rav Pam on the Haftaras,” in which the late Rosh Yeshiva offers his beautiful insights on the relationship of the haftaras to the respective Torah Portion and the contents of the haftaras themselves.
Feb. 02, 2018 |
During one of those recent, frigid days, my wife noticed a lady wheeling a stroller with one hand, and, with the other, holding onto a young boy. The boy was crying loudly and bitterly. My wife saw that his coat was hanging off one arm, completely open; he was obviously freezing. Her heart went out to him, and she said to the lady, “Maybe you’d like to close his jacket.” The lady looked directly at my wife and said, “No.”
Jan. 26, 2018 |
HOW CAN WE SING WHEN WE ARE IN MOURNING?
Rabbi Raziel Shevach was murdered several weeks ago near his home in the Shomron (north of Yerushalayim). I never met him, but I understand he was a beloved person who extended himself greatly for his fellow Jews. That makes it hurt even more. It hurts when the haters are strong and those who bless the world are suffering. This is extremely painful.
Jan. 19, 2018 |
“WHO CAN STAND BEFORE HIS COLD?”
Did we ever have a winter like this? Who can remember such cold? On the Shabbos of January 6, wind chills in the New York Metropolitan Area reached minus twenty degrees!
Jan. 12, 2018 |
Why did I not visit Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin in prison? Only after his release did I realize that he had been imprisoned in New York and not Iowa. I could so easily have gone there. I know what it means to visit a prisoner. Decades ago, when Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis was scheduled to speak to Jewish prisoners in Rikers Island Prison in New York City, an emergency arose and she asked me to fill in for her.