Newsletter

TORAH TAVLIN


Why do people hurt themselves? 

view
FIRE


Every 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?  

view
KETORES


What can we learn from the frightening events described in this week’s Torah Portion, Korach

view
WE WILL BE LIKE DREAMERS


The American Dream. 

view
TRAVELING WITH THE ARON


There is a unique passage in this week’s Torah portion. 

view
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. 

view
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) 

view
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

view
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?” 

view
IT IS TIME


I write these words after Shabbos, as the Yom Tov of Pesach is leaving us. 

view
THE SMALLEST NATION


This week’s Torah Portion describes the inauguration of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle. 

view
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) 

view
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 had started. 

view
LEARNING FROM THE “VOV”


This momentous Shabbos ushers in the Month of Miracles. 

view
ONE HUGE STEAK


A prominent rosh yeshiva once remarked to me, “I never ate a steak in my life.” 

view
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.  

view
SEVEN WORDS


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. 

view
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) 

view
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. 

view
RATIONAL BEHAVIOR


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.” 

view
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. 

view
“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! 

view
SUDDEN REDEMPTION


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. 

view
THE PURPOSE OF THE U.N. IN HASHEM’S PLAN


“A new king arose over Egypt, who did not know of Joseph… and [the Egyptians] became disgusted because of the Children of Israel.” (Exodus 1:8-12)  This is amazing. How could Joseph have been forgotten? He saved Egypt! 

view
THE LAMPS ARE GOING OUT


"The lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our life-time." 
  

view
A TEN-STRINGED INSTRUMENT AND A LYRE


As I have mentioned in the past, this week’s Torah Portion is to me the emotional high point of the entire Written Bible. Who can fail to be shaken by these words? 

view
LIGHT CARVED FROM UNDER THE THRONE OF GLORY


Chanukah is about light. 

view
DO YOU WANT YOUR NAME TO BE ERASED

“In the generation when [Moshiach] the son of Dovid will come, Torah scholars will decrease. And [as for] the rest [of the people], their eyes will become worn out through grief and anxiety. Numerous troubles and harsh decree will be appearing anew. Before the first [trouble] is over, a second one will … appear…. The meeting place will be [used] for licentiousness [and]… whoever turns away from evil will be [considered] foolish….” (Tractate Sanhedrin 97a) 

view
THE ROSES OF EDEN


There is a long and rather surprising end to this week’s Torah Portion, beginning with the words, “these are the offspring of Esau ….” (Genesis 36:9) I counted thirty-four verses, listing name after name of the descendants of possibly the most evil person in history! Why does the Torah want us to know the descendants of Esau? 

view
REAL PEOPLE CRY AND LAUGH


“Then Yaakov … raised his voice and wept.” (Genesis 29:11)  

view

 

Recent Posts


Tags

Ten Commandments bird bris milah Final redemption Genesis Miraglim Adam biblical shofar rabbi secret mikveh, Sabbath Judgement Day sacrifices sun yeshiva Tefillin pray Shavuos Zechariah night Rabbi Akiva lights spirituality violence terrorist Beit Hamikdash light Sea of Galilee Rome Torah portion Tzuk etan Heavenly Mercy Holiness Chafetz Chaim God earthquake automobiles heaven evil Abraham Rebecca missiles plague Psalm Yerushalayim Moab shield of Abraham idol kosher Red Sea stars redemption Canaan forefathers compassion Chanukkah flood rosh chodesh culture Temple Mount stones eternity Jewish People Rosh Hashanah kiddush Rabbis Jewish Nation of Israel Shabbos Malbim Passover Solomon seder Garden of Eden King Solomon minyan persecution Maccabeans Moshaich Greeks Protective edge India Yaakov Joseph water menorah spiritual Jew Geula Parsha miracles dreams prayers Tu b'Av rain self-worship chaos Ruth survival Zion holy Esther meraglim Midrash brotherhood Holocaust Matriarchs heavenly gates mitzva deluge Angel of Death Bilaam fragrance siddur priests Edom Ishmeal Chanukah Terror Attack in Jerusalem Creator cries alone Esau mitzvos evil inclination Tallis Chol haMoed Sodom Amalek messiah Ammon ethics Father in Heaven evolution Divine presence peace resurrection terror tears Golus Solar eclipse enemies Macabees pain Isaac Judah Miriam Sabbath Jacob Hasmoneans Europe Mount Zion keys Eglon End of Days King David Ishmael Zohar angels materialism esrog Avraham soul Western Wall Shushan Magog barley Moshiach creation spies Red Heifer fear Song of Songs Faith Laban Moses Rebbe Golan slavery Yom Kippur Mordechai salvation Western World Rosh Hashana tablets prophets trees blessing Mount Sinai moon High Priest Jewish festival Hebrew Day of Judgement America prayer book Talmud Master of the Universe mikveh Elul Bais Hamikdosh Rachel paradise Moshe Achashveirosh Earth David Babylonia Purim Sarah Dead Sea Golden Calf Jeremiah tabernacle Sukkos Holy Temple locusts purity Matisyahu Jewish holidays song Prophecy holiday Day of Atonement Mount Hermon shmittah repentance prophet miracle Holy land Torah scholars Samuel chessed media yarmulke cholent war Jerusalem Land of Israel Eve Ishamael Sages Isaiah Egypt terrorists Maimonides darkness Abrahem tremors Repentence Pharaoh world to come Exodus Israel Zion, Angel King of the Universe sanctity Blame Jews prayer Hagar Benjamin Lot G-d hubris Haman Torah Balak idolatry Judaism Boaz kesuba Noah Temple Psalms Banias Chofetz Chaim exile kinneret incense Babylon Hashem Shechina Leah ancestors Passover Seder repent 2020 Vision terrorism matzos murder logic eternal leprosy Sefiras haOmer slaves Teshuva United Nations gossip Tu b'Shvat death commandment danger judgement patriarchs'matriarchs Ashkenazi prophet Samuel angel bible Amram Aharon High Holy Days Second Temple king redeemer Sukkah Baku Lunar eclipse Rashi Holy Ark sin fault Galil fires liberation Raiders of the Lost Ark Children of Israel New Moon Sephardi Ezekiel Pinchas Samuel the Prophet three weeks patriarchs Tisha b'Av synagogue heavenly throne Gog

Archive