Does Zionism Equal Judaism?

Does Zionism Equal Judaism?

Is Zionism part and parcel of Judaism? This question has been argued for more than a century with no conclusive answer in sight. I’d suggest there is no clear answer;…

An Interview with Chaya Chertok

An Interview with Chaya Chertok

It was a breezy night in Jerusalem. People from around the world were dining in fancy restaurants in the city center. Chaya Chertok, a close friend of mine from Chicago,…

Moshe and Aharon; Models of Brotherhood and Leadership

Moshe and Aharon; Models of Brotherhood and Leadership

Moshe and Aharon – brothers and leaders – both appear in this week’s Parsha, Parashat Te’zav’e, though in very different ways…Since his appearance on the biblical stage in Parshat Shmot until the ending of the five Chumashim, this week’s Parsha is the only one where Moshe’s name does not appear, though he is referred to constantly as the entire Parsha is addressed to him.

The Mishkan and Jewish Donations – who’s doing whom the favor?

The Mishkan and Jewish Donations – who’s doing whom the favor?

“People some times ask me – rabbi, doesn’t it make you a little uncomfortable traveling around the world asking people for money? I tell them – no, not in the least! I know that these schools are our future and that the work they do is wholly, aimed at bettering the Jewish people and the world entire”.

Yitro, Stephen Harper and John Kerry – Advice vs. “Advice”

Yitro, Stephen Harper and John Kerry – Advice vs. “Advice”

To what degree should we listen to the advice of our allies and other nations? One could argue that we should take it very seriously. Moshe
takes the advice of his non Jewish father in law, a political and religious leader of a foreign, pagan, nation on a very sensitive topic – how to run our judicial system.

High Fashion, Auto Anti-Zionism and The Plague of Darkness

High Fashion, Auto Anti-Zionism and The Plague of Darkness

Let’s say my name is Jim, I speak English and I happen to wear Calvin Klein shirts. Or that my name is Natasha, I speak Russian and I happen to wear ‘Zara’. Do any of these practices constitute a transgression of Torah or any paragraph in the Shulchan Aruch? No, they do not. Why then, of all things, did we merit being redeemed from Egypt for “not changing our language, our names and our dress”?

Hilchot Shabbat: Chicken Grease on Fingers

Hilchot Shabbat: Chicken Grease on Fingers

Avramy ate chicken at the Friday night seuda. Now his hands are greasy. He remembered that last week his father, after eating a pomegranate, cleaned his hands with water as opposed to with a cloth napkin. Avramy is now wondering if he must do the same.

On Parshat Shmot: It’s up to YOU!

On Parshat Shmot: It’s up to YOU!

In this week’s parsha, Shmot, we witness the coming to power of a new Pharaoh who “did not know Joseph” and the subsequent enslavement of the Jewish people. It’s in this parsha that the baby Moshe is delivered out of harms way; placed and sealed into a tiny basket by his parents, Amram and Yocheved, and found by Pharaoh’s righteous daughter, Batya.

More Soup, Please!

More Soup, Please!

Mr. Goldberger loves eating hot soup on Shabbos. He often takes seconds. Lately, he heard in Hilchos Shabbos shiur that one should be careful not to re-heat liquids that cooled down. After enjoying his first bowl, Mr. Goldberger started wondering: should he dry the ladle before taking seconds?

“He Who Lives Outside of ‘The Land’ is Like he Who Has No God:” Insights on Parshat Va’yetze

“He Who Lives Outside of ‘The Land’ is Like he Who Has No God:” Insights on Parshat Va’yetze

Ramban, on the other hand, says that (translated from Hebrew): This is not a condition as Rashi says, but a vow and “unless I return to my father’s home, I will not follow in the ways of Hashem in the Promised Land at the location of this stone where I will built a House of G-d and bring the ma’aser. And there’s a (secret) in this matter (from כתובות ק”י): Anyone who lives outside of ‘The Land’ is like he who has no God.”

Hanging Things on a Tree During and Before Shabbat

Hanging Things on a Tree During and Before Shabbat

A Mishna in masechet Shabbat2 lists kotzer (reaping) as one of the avot melachot. The definition of kotzer is detaching a living thing from its source of nourishment3. This melacha applies even to things that are not growing from the ground. For example, the Gemorah says that a person transgresses Shabbat if he removes mushrooms that grow on the edge of a bucket, since they receive their nourishment from the water that is located there4.

Two Sides of a Coin: On Parshat Bereshit

Two Sides of a Coin: On Parshat Bereshit

There’s a popular saying that there are “two sides to a coin.” In last week’s Torah reading, we witnessed the creation of the world. Throughout the פרשה, we witnessed a lot of “two-sided coins.”