Providence is not limited to matters of Biblical proportions, nor merely to the mythic, legendary or epic by to even to the smallest details of an individual’s life. Recently there has been considerable tumult created concerning the status of the Western Wall (Kotel) and what mode of Jewish worship is appropriate.
In the interests of full disclosure as an Orthodox Rabbi who tilts towards the Haredi I believe the Kotel as a historic place of Jewish worship is indeed a place of worship… Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on June 14, 2013 at 5:57pm —
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 —
The word Pras is commonly translated as reward in the context of compensation however that is imprecise. Rabbi Ovadiah Bartenura ZT’L ZY’A explains Pras as when an employer pays a worker when there is no obligation or expectation to receive wages. Such as a small child or spouse doing household chores. Continue
The analogy is fascinating as it implies two lessons while one should serve G-D with no expectation anything of special. However those things that are essential for one’s existence one…
Added by Bernard S. Antin on April 20, 2012 at 7:35am —
BaMidbar 34:1-22 depicts the boundaries G-D set for Eretz Yisrael. Rashi ZT’L ZY’A explains the apparent intent is to define where the Mitzvoth connected to the land of Israel apply.
Rashi’s comments are interesting in light of how scripture itself defines the area “ . . . [T]his is the land that was allocated to you by lottery, as a legacy, the land of Canaan according to its boundaries.” (34:2) Simply read the text is ostensibly asserting the extent of the territory over which Bene… Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on July 8, 2010 at 9:38pm —
Rabbi Eliezer’s teaching is curious. How is it read? Was the Rabbi making several statements or a single piece of interrelated instruction.
The trend of commentaries seem to view the Mishnah as a solid piece of advice. Rabbi Nachman of Breslev… Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on April 16, 2010 at 6:11am —
Avtalyon’s ZT’L ZY’A statement is fascinating as it is obvious. Certainly one teaching Torah should take care to transmit one’s lessons in a faithful manner. Failing to do so and leaving one’s lessons ambiguous allowing one’s students to draw conclusions contrary to moral and mores of Judaism would be a recipe for exile, for a distortion in the chain of transmission stretching from… Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on April 9, 2010 at 8:00am —
Dear Yishai AMUSH,
Best wishes to Malkah, Leah Bat Zion and your cohort at INR/A7. Hope all is well and pre-Pesach preparations are going well. The Pesach Cleaning show was a great idea and worthy of taking credit for as a… Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on March 25, 2010 at 6:33am —
The Talmud (Rosh HaShaashana 2a) teaches that the 15th of She vat is the New Year for trees. According to Rashi ZT’L ZY’A (14a) this is literally the trees’ new year when the sap begins flowing anew thus beginning the year’s produce.
Rabbi Yisrael Chaim Friedman ZT’L ZY’A in Lekutei Ma’riach ZT’L ZY’A citing Magen Avraham ZT’L ZY’A commenting on Orach Chaim 131 (note 16) that Ashkenazi (European) Jews have adopted the practice to celebrate the date with eating additional fruit in… Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on January 28, 2010 at 7:28pm —
Each evening the declaration of faith contained in recitation of Shema is prefaced by stating that “ . . . they [the words of Torah] are our life and the measure of our days . . .” The Ba’al Haturim ZT’L ZY’A among his observations on Bereshith 1:1 notes Bereshith is an acrostic for From the beginning G-D saw that Israel will accept the Torah. Therefore, these and other sources imply a powerful connection between Israel’s connection to Torah and creation itself. Consequently, words of Torah on… Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on November 13, 2009 at 4:30am —
It was no longer tenable for uncle and nephew to live together. Avraham the Patriarch A’H ZY’A tells Lot to separate (Bereshith 13:8-12). Rashi (13:7) explains Lot’s shepherds reasoned since G-D had promised the land to Avraham (12:7) and his heirs, which at the time meant Lot so it was appropriate to allow their flocks to pasture wherever they pleased even if the land was privately owned. Avraham’s shepherds respected the indigenous population and only allowed their flocks to graze on public… Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on October 29, 2009 at 5:00am —
The Torah describes two events that fundamentally reshaped the human condition, the Flood and the Tower of Babel. The breakdown in society that lead to the flood that laid waste to the world G-D created. Rashi ZT’L ZY’A commenting on 6:13 points out there were rampant sexual perversion , idolatry and theft. Rabbi Joseph Dov Solavechik the Beit HaLevi ZT’L ZY’A emphasized the abandonment of moral restraint was so prevalent that animals and even plant life were influenced by human behavior.… Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on October 23, 2009 at 4:52am —
“As the month of Av enters one diminishes their joy” (see Ta’nit 29a),Schulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 551:1 Sha’arei Zion 1). One is advised not to litigate during this period as the season is inauspicious. Though there are many reason why the Ninth of Av is observed as a fast the main event which overshadows the others is the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem 68 CE.. It is the loss of the Temple which more than anything else that symbolizes the present state of exile. Consider that… Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on July 23, 2009 at 8:10am —
G-D the Mishnah teaches has ownership over five things, Torah, Heaven and Earth, Avraham Avinu A’H ,The Jewish Nation and The Holy Temple.,. This is perplexing and simply cannot be taken at face value How could one claim any limit on G-D’s dominion over His creation? Therefore, to be a kinyan, an acquisition of G-D’s implies a special relationship.
The word Kinyan denotes ownership, exclusive control or as Rabbi Yossef Yavetz ZY’A suggests a kinyan is a profound connection, one of… Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on July 10, 2009 at 12:26am —
Four categories are identified among those who attend the Beit HaMedrash, the place dedicated for Torah Study and prayer. There is one who goes to the Beit Medrash but does not learn, he receives reward for going. The second is one who learns in solitude at home and does not attend the actual Beit Medrash, he receives reward for his learning. The person considered pious both attends and learns in the Beit HaMedrash. Whereas the fourth who nether attends the Beit HaMedrah or learns Torah is… Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on July 2, 2009 at 5:13am —
Rabbi Yishmael appears to be teaching that if one merely sees Torah as an academic discipline, something to study and teach one will be blessed with the ability and opportunity to study and teach. However, one who approaches Torah from the point of view that Torah exists on a level that surpasses its intellectual depth. Torah is what animates every movement in one’s life. Consequently, one who adopts this second approachl is blessed not just to learn and teach but also have the opportunity to… Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on May 22, 2008 at 6:09am —
Rabbi Akiva ben Mihalelail one should examine three things to avoid sin "from where do i come?", 'where is my final destinaton ?" and "before whom will I be acountable for the life lived?"
. . . .
Rabbi Akiva ben Mihalelail’s teaching is challenging. The Rabbi is as the Chofetz Chaim ZY’A explains that these are the images one should keep constantly on one’s mind. Yet to think that one should carry around the conundrum that even a life full of accomplishment ends in the grave,… Continue
Added by Bernard S. Antin on May 15, 2008 at 2:59am —