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The Holy Rabbi Yehoshua Asher of Prisov ZT’L ZY’A taught everyone reads through the whole Torah every year. One who is a clear thinker when one reaches those parshyot about the Tabernacle one should look at every word in depth attaching oneself to each word. However when one reaches those Parshyiot that feature strife and controversy like Korach one reads those quickly. One whose intellect is not in order will do the reverse.
Korach initiated a rebellion against Moshe’s leadership.…Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on June 7, 2013 at 5:42am — No Comments
Biblical narratives are much more than historical accounts or stories. The Torah is a D-vine document therefore whatever is part of scripture generally and the Torah specifically belongs to the Eternal so that it is applicable to every Jew in every place throughout time.
Chapter 12 in BaMidbar tells the story of Miriam suffering the leprosy-like affliction of Tzarat. Miriam and her brother Aaron spoke disparagingly about their baby brother Moshe. G-D Himself points out to both Aaron…Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on May 23, 2013 at 7:59pm — No Comments
Rabbi Aaron of Belz ZTVK’L ZY’A would repeat on the Shabbat of Parashat Nasso “I each generation there are unique individuals who if they wished could bring Mashiach, Messiah. And if they desired to summon Mashiach he would be compelled to come. Why then do these people not wish to bring Mashiach? What stops them from acting? Mashiach must come through an arousal of D-vine compassion [and not compulsion]”
Mashiach’s arrival and the fundamental change in the human condition that is the…Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on May 17, 2013 at 7:23am — No Comments
Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac of Zitochav ZT’L ZY’A celebrated Lag B'Omer by telling stories of faith and trust in G-D. Obviously there is something about Lag B’omer that arouses a need or an affinity with faith and trust in G-D moreso that generally.
If anything, explains Rav Yaakov Emden ZT’L ZY’A Lag B’ Omer corresponds to the sifra of HOD Sheb’ HOD. glory within glory, a circumstance that is characterized by being completely surrounded on all sides with harsh judgments. The Rabbi compares…Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on April 26, 2013 at 8:09pm — No Comments
The Mishna recites how G-D’s presence is amid those who study Torah. However the MAHARAM AL-SHAKAR ZT’L ZY’A observes the cited proof texts show a relationship between the number of participants and the intensity of G-d’s presence.
The proof text brought to demonstrate that even a solitary Torah student merits the D-vine Presence visiting and bestowing blessing appears to be taken completely out of context. The Second half of Shemoth 20:21” . . . [I]n all places where I cause my name…Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on April 18, 2013 at 6:20pm — No Comments
The Late Slonimer Rebbe ZT’L ZY’A in Netivoth Shalom wonders what distinguishes this Mishna from How Rebbe began this Chapter “ . . . which is the upright path one should clarify [for living one’s life]”? The Netivoth Shalom explains Rebbe was offering guidance to the populace at large. Whereas this Mishna is an exchange between Rabban Yochanan ben Zackai and his most elite students. Rabban Yochanan was asking what character trait did you cultivate as a means of obtaining your spiritual…Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on April 12, 2013 at 4:52pm — No Comments
The Ten Plagues visited on Egypt explains Rabbi Yitzchak Ibn Abuchav ZT’L ZY’A IN Menorath HaMeor (Candle 3, Category 4, Section 4 , Chapter 3) demonstrate G-D’s dominion over creation.
Blood and Frogs are associated with the element of Water
The water was turned to blood in response to Pharaoh and Egypt’s arrogance “And the land of Egypt shall be desolate and waste; and they shall know that I am the Lord; because he has said, The river is mine, and I have made it.” (Yechezkel…
Added by Bernard S. Antin on March 14, 2013 at 7:40pm — No Comments
The weeks between the blessing of the month of Adar and the blessing of the Month of Nissan are distinguished by special Torah readings and Haftorah. The First Shekalim, reviews the obligation to make an annual half shekel contribution that are due on the First of Nissan. The Second, Zachor is read on the Shabbat preceding Purim thereby preserving the memory of Amalek’s evil and the commandment to ensure that people’s destruction. Zachor is tied to Purim as Haman was a scion of Amalek,…Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on February 28, 2013 at 9:02pm — No Comments
The Second Chapter of Mishnayoth Megila opens with “Whoever reads the Megila out of order does not fulfill one’s obligation.” Rabbi Baruch of Mezibush ZT’L ZY’A offered an alternative reading that one does not fulfill one’s obligation to read the Megila if it read as something that happened in the past. Even though Purim is not commanded by the Torah as it celebrates events that transpired towards the end of the prophetic era, several centuries after Moshe Our Teacher its lessons like the…Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on February 21, 2013 at 7:04pm — No Comments
Calling what G-D communicated at Sinai The Ten Commandments is a bit of a misnomer. The Hebrew term is Asereth HaDibruth, The Ten Statements. While the whole Torah is an articulation of G-D’s will it stands to reason that whatever was revealed at Sinai in the presence of the whole nation under miraculous circumstances is something fundamental to Judaism. Arguably, since the number of letters used in the Asereth HaDibruth (Shemoth 20:2-14) equals the total number of commandments. However,…Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on January 31, 2013 at 9:44pm — No Comments
Parashat Bo describes the Exodus of Bene Yisrael from Egypt, Rabbi Yisrael Zvi of Kassin ZT;L ZY’A the author of Sefer of Ohr Maleh told this story about Rav Moshe Lieb of Sassov ZT’L ZY’A annually on the Shabbat when Parashat Bo.
On Shabbat Parashat Bo one year a most remarkable event took place in Rav Moshe Lieb Sassover’s congregation. That Friday night after sating the evening prayer Rabbi Moshe Lieb ZT’L ZY’A began reciting the Hall prayer as is the custom on the first nights of…Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on January 17, 2013 at 6:40pm — No Comments
Pharaoh responded to Moshe Our Teacher’s first demand to let Bene Yisrael go by intensifying the circumstances of the servitude by no longer supplying straw. The Slaves now had to gather their own straw and maintain the same levels of brick production (see Shemoth Chapter 5) Moshe called out “ . . . L-rd, why have You done evil to this people? Why have You sent me?
. For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have you saved your people at…
Added by Bernard S. Antin on January 10, 2013 at 7:00pm — No Comments
What prompted G-D to send Moshe Our Teacher A’H to Egypt as G-D’s emissary? Moshe is charged by G-D to appear before Pharaoh to demand the release of Bene Yisrael from servitude, in Shemoth Chapter 3. What happened beforehand? Chapter 2 concludes “ And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died; and the people of Israel sighed because of the slavery, and they cried, and their cry came up to G-d because of the slavery. And G-d heard their cries, and G-d remembered his…Continue
Blessing one’s children Friday night is a long standing custom (See B’air Haitaiv Orach Chaim 262 note 2, Yeshuoth Chochma 76:6). Friday night is particularly appropriate for bestowing blessings because of the additional spirituality one receives on Shabbat. The additional Shabbat Soul (see Shemot 31:17) allows for all not just righteous Zaddikim the ability to bless others. This added dimension removes any obstacles preventing the flow of blessings (see Siddur Chelkat Yehoshua for Shabbat…Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on December 27, 2012 at 9:26pm — No Comments
A group of the Maggid of Mezritch’s students were perplexed by the talmudic dictum “As one recites a blessing when experiencing good fortune so too one should recite a blessing over misfortune ” (Talmud; Berachot 58b) How could this be? The Maggid answered “Go and seek out my student Zushia. He can explain this teaching.
The students sought out Rabbi Meshulom Zushia ZT’L ZY’A and became even more perplexed Rav Zushia lived in extreme poverty, the patches covering the holes in his…
Added by Bernard S. Antin on December 20, 2012 at 5:30pm — No Comments
Hanukkah is celebrated with a blessing praising G-D for “ . . . working miracles in the past during this season” Rashi ZT’L ZY’A famously commented on the Talmud’s question (Shabbat 21b) What is Hanukkah? Based on which miracle was the holiday established? The Talmud continues by briefly outlining the story and that because the cruse of pure oil lasted for eight days instead of one a holiday marked with praise and thanksgiving was declared.
However what is not discussed is what is a…Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on December 12, 2012 at 7:54pm — No Comments
The first Rebbe of Ger the Chdushai HaRim ZT’L ZY’A wrote concerning Hanukkah “ , , , If all of Israel were not worthy of experiencing a miracle The Menorah’s lamps would not have been lit. After all the Menorah is communal property belonging to the whole of Jewry. Raising all Israel to that level is indeed a great miracle” (Chidushai HaRim al HaTorah pg. 56)
Though historically speaking it would be another twenty or so year before the last of the Syrian Greek forces leave liberation…Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on December 6, 2012 at 5:13pm — No Comments
A common refrain in Chassidic literature is the Torah is eternal and is applicable in all places and all times. The notion is the Torah’s lessons and guidance even if only on some subtile philosophic / ethical level has contemporary relevance. Consequently the narrative in Bereshith Chapter 34 concerning Sachem’s violation of Dina and how her Father and brothers responded should not be seen simplisticly as a reaction to the attack against the family’s honor. Rather than an event in early…Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on November 30, 2012 at 5:38am — No Comments
Expectations based on stereotypes are often misleading. More often the reality is far more interesting and illuminating. The Talmud Shabbat 49a speak about doves. A dove’s wings stand out because they serve to protect the bird. Both Rashi ZT’L ZY’A and Tosefoth ZT’L ZY’A both note doves are unique because they can stay aloft using only one wing.
Tosefoth observes other birds need to be land bound when they rest but not so the dove who can fly with a single wing can rest a tired wings…Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on November 23, 2012 at 6:59am — No Comments
The relationship between Yaakov and Esau is easily described as epic. Their Mother the Matriarch Rivka was fore told how dramatic the schism between her twins would be (see Bereshith 25:22_23). Each son developed in his own direction, Esau as a man of the field, a hunter whereas Yaakov was a scholar ensconced within the academy’s walls (25:27).
However what marks Esau’s departure from his parents’ home would be when he sold Yaakov the Birthright of a firstborn son (25:29-34). The…Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on November 15, 2012 at 8:42pm — No Comments