The Vilna Gaon was once asked what the hardest mitzva to perform in the Torah is. He replied by saying that he had examined all the mitzvot, and that the hardest one to perform is undoubtedly the mitzva to rejoice during Succot. The Torah explains that one must rejoice every instant of the seven days and nights of the festival. During that time, it is forbidden to have any sad thoughts whatsoever. That, the Vilna Gaon said, is indeed the hardest mitzva to… Continue
Added by Jason Behar on September 30, 2009 at 10:33am —
שבת טעם החיים האזינו- תשובה-יום כיפור תש"ע
Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Haazinu-Shuva-Yom Kippur 5770
Repentance is a state of joy
This week is referred to as Shabbos Shuva, Shabbos of Repentance. What is the association between Shabbos and repentance? It is said that the word Shabbos is derived from the word shav, return. Thus, on Shabbos, everything returns to its source. Yet, one must wonder, how this idea is connected to repentance?
Prohibition of… Continue
Added by Rabbi Binyomin Adler on September 24, 2009 at 9:26pm —
The widespread custom on the Shabbat before Yom Kippur the Rabbi or more accurately the Rabbi who is the leading Torah personality of the city address the community at large.(Mateh Ephraim 602:41). The content of this oration is evidently a matter of debate .
Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Ladi ZT’L ZY’A in Schulchan Aruch 429:2 comments that the content of pre-Yom Kippur Shabbat speech originally an outline of the laws of Succoth and the four species. [Often the Sabbath before Yom Kippur is also… Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on September 24, 2009 at 7:20am —
"When I call out the name of Hashem, ascribe greatness to our G-d." (Devarim, 32;3).
The Gemara (Berachot, 21a) states that we learn from this pasuk that one must recite Birkat Hatorah prior to learning Torah.
What's the significance of reciting Birkat Hatorah?
The Gemara (Nedarim, 81a) asks: Why is it unusual for torah scholars to have sons who are also torah scholars? To which the Gemara answers, because they neglect to recite… Continue
Added by Jason Behar on September 22, 2009 at 3:30pm —
Shofar: Biblical Interpretations
Mysticism: Shofar as Thunderous Blast
Exodus chapters 19:16-19 pictures the Israelites receiving the Ten Commandment at the foot of Mt. Sinai. Violent upheavals of nature — thunder, lightning, a dense cloud upon the trembling mountain — conveying in terms familiar to us something of the awe-inspiring impact of the event present the presence of the awesome God.
Interestingly, these four verses repeat word kol. Literally voice or… Continue
Added by Arthur Finkle on September 18, 2009 at 6:23pm —
The Jewish New Year is called “ . . . a day of rest, a memorial of Treuah a day declared Holy..” (VaYikrah 23:24 Rashi ZT’L ZY’A explains this refers to the portions of the Mussaf service on Rosh HaShana called Zechronoth, remembrance and Shofaroth ,sounding the shofar in order to recall the merit of the Patriarch Yitzchak A’H who was prepared to be offered as a sacrifice was exchanged for a ram.
The Shofar apparently is the quintessential symbol of Rosh HaShana. The sounds which… Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on September 17, 2009 at 6:30am —
This month’s dedicated learning will take place on Thursday night, 24 September, 2009 during the “10 Days” (Asseret Y’mei Teshuva) and ALL Jews are urged to join in, via prayer (tefillot), learning and chessed (kind deeds for one’s fellow Jews).
Please, I urge all of you to take part next Thursday so that we can “Storm the Heavens” for Jonathan Pollard’s freedom and return to the Jewish brethren in Eretz Yisrael.
To view the entire blog post: click… Continue
Added by Moshe Burt on September 17, 2009 at 1:24am —
There is a new online video course that helps even total beginners read and understand the Tanakh in the original Hebrew -- immediately.
Please pass this along to the people you know that would benefit from it:
Added by Moshe Burt on September 16, 2009 at 7:41pm —
Rosh Hashana (known as the Day of Judgment) is the day in which Hashem decides all earthly matters.
But guess what? Instead of judging the whole world Himself, Hashem allows each and every person to be the judge for themselves!
The Gemara (Shabbat, 127b) states that one who judges others favorably will in return be judged favorably by Hashem. In fact, Chazal say that Hashem judges us exactly
how we judge others! For this reason, Rabbi Chaim… Continue
Added by Jason Behar on September 15, 2009 at 5:20pm —
שבת טעם החיים ראש השנה תש"ע
Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Rosh HaShanah 5770
Standing and Kingship
Last week’s parasha, Nitzavim, commences with the words (Devarim 29:9) atem nitzavim hayom kulchem lifnei HaShem Elokeichem rosheichem shivteichem zikneichem vishofteichem kol ish Yisroel¸ you are standing today, all of you, before HaShem, your G-d: the heads of your tribes, your elders, and your officers – all the men of Israel. The commentators write that this… Continue
Added by Rabbi Binyomin Adler on September 14, 2009 at 7:15pm —
A Selichos vort
While saying Selichos today, try to think of those things for which you want Hashem to forgive you, and those things for which you want Him to forgive all of clal Yisrael. Then, when Selichos are over, instead of rushing away or talking to your friends, take a little time and specifically ask Him to forgive you and us for each one of those things that you thought… Continue
Added by Dovid Shmuel Irwin, MD on September 13, 2009 at 2:01pm —
For this new year, we have a teachable moment (if fleeting) to tell the story of Shofar. Its influence on prayer and its historical antecedents going back to the Temple sacrifices.
For full explanation, go to
Shofar Sounders WebPage
Added by Arthur Finkle on September 11, 2009 at 9:01am —
The nexus between season and sidra continues as the year draws to a close. Devorim 30:1-10 is commonly called Parashat HaTeshuvah, the chapter of return/repentance.
The Torah testifies that eventually after experiencing the blessing and curse, all the events and travail of exile to distant nations and cultures that were hostile to Judaism Upon reflection and contemplation individually and nationally Jewry arrives at the conclusion, it all came from G-D and it all was necessary 30:1… Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on September 10, 2009 at 7:30am —
In this week's parsha we have the mitzvah of hakhel (Once every 7 years, on the first night of Chol HaMoed during Succot, the entire nation would gather together and listen to the king read selected passages from sefer Devarim).
The Gemara (Chagigah, 3a) relates that one day Rabbi Yehoshua asked 2 other Rabbi's what piece of torah was said by Rabbi Elazar ben Azaryah that day. At first they refused, but eventually they were persuaded. They related… Continue
Added by Jason Behar on September 7, 2009 at 9:45pm —
In this week's parsha, Moshe tells the nation of Israel to do teshuva (meaning: repentance, see: 30;2). This month in the Hebrew calendar is the month of Elul, known as the month of teshuva. Therefore, let's learn the greatness of teshuva...
The Rambam (Hilchos Teshuva, 1;3) states, "Teshuva atones for all sins." Later on (Hilchos Teshuva, 2;1) the Rambam states, "Even if he transgressed throughout his entire life and repented on the day of his death… Continue
Added by Jason Behar on September 7, 2009 at 9:44pm —
While we're all waiting for the real geulah to happen, bimheirah b'yomainu!, the following 5 “Elul vorts” can help you with your own, personal geulah in the meantime.
It’s been said that the Chozeh of Lublin, on each Rosh Chodesh, would tell his students what kind of a month the coming month was going to be. Although I haven’t been able to predict the months (maybe you will be… Continue
Added by Dovid Shmuel Irwin, MD on September 6, 2009 at 8:41pm —
שבת טעם החיים פרשת נצבים-וילך תשס"ט
Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Parashas Nitzavim-Vayeilech 5769
Teshuvah is right around the corner
In this week’s parasha, Nitzavim, it is said (Devarim 30:11-14) ki hamitzvah hazos asher anochi mitzavecho hayom lo nifleis hi mimcho vilo richokah hi lo vashamayim hi leimor mi yaaleh lanu hashamaymah viyikacheho lanu viyashmieinu osah vinaasenah vilo meiever layam hi leimor mi yaavar lanu el eiver hayam viyikacheha lanu… Continue
Added by Rabbi Binyomin Adler on September 6, 2009 at 8:30pm —
I'd like to inform everyone of my new Torah-based website, The Geulah Company
. It is geared toward helping a person towards his or her own personal geulah – teaching principles of Torah, mussar and Chasidus, through 135 free, effective, fun-to-use, product ideas and products, which offer concrete help with getting closer to Hashem, learning, emunah and bitachon, davening, being a tzaddik, controlling the yetzer hora (smoking,… Continue
Added by Dovid Shmuel Irwin, MD on September 3, 2009 at 7:44pm —
The whole month of Elul is a time of eis ratzone – a time of favor and grace from Hashem. It is one of the times of the year that is set aside for doing tshuvah.
But really doing tshuvah (instead of just talking about it or thinking about it) is very hard to do, since you have to be able to honestly face up to your faults and the things you’ve done wrong (and we people have a tendency to want to deny or not think about them). Therefore, on each day of this month, take some time and… Continue
Added by Dovid Shmuel Irwin, MD on September 3, 2009 at 7:30pm —
Rosh HaShana, Yom Kippur and Succot are rapidly approaching thought Succot is specifically called the season of rejoicing the Days of Awe are nonetheless days of celebration. Understanding what G-D wants Jewry be keep in mind at times of celebration would be very important in taking observance from merely following the forms of observance to level where they are filled with substance as well.
Despite Ki Tavo opening with the Bikurim First Fruits ritual observed on Shavuoth the Sidra… Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on September 3, 2009 at 5:37am —