All Blog Posts Tagged 'torah' (33)

Insights in Pirkei Avot: Avoiding Arrogance and Dispensing Praise

By Rabbi Yitzchak Blau, WebYeshiva



Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai received the tradition from Hillel and Shammai. He would say: If you have studied much Torah, do not take credit for yourself because for this you were created. R. Yochanan ben Zakkai had five disciples: R. Eliezer ben Hyrkanos, R. Yehoshua ben Chananya, R. Yossi the priest, Rabbi Shimon ben Netanel, and R. Elazar ben Arach. He would recount their praises: R. Eliezer ben Hyrkanos is a plastered cistern that does not lose a… Continue

Added by WebYeshiva on April 25, 2010 at 3:22am — No Comments

Should We Say Hallel on Yom Hatzmaut?

By Rabbi Chaim Brovender, WebYeshiva



This post was originally posted in 2008/5768 when Yom Haatzmaut fell on Shabbat, and as such celebrations were pushed back to Thursday. While this is not the case this year, the question of whether to say Hallel or not, and with a bracha or not, is still of relevance and interesting to note.



Question



Dear Rabbi Brovender,



What is your opinion regarding saying Hallel on Yom Haatzmaut (for those of us living in chutz… Continue

Added by WebYeshiva on April 19, 2010 at 6:19am — No Comments

Insights in Pirkei Avot: The Pursuit of Happiness

By Rabbi Yitzchak Blau, WebYeshiva



He would also say: One who increases flesh increases rot; one who increases possessions increase worry; one who increases wives increase sorcery; one who increases maidservants increases promiscuity; one who increases slaves increases theft; one who increases Torah increases life; one who increase study increases wisdom; one who increases counsel increases understanding; one who increases charity increases peace. One who acquires a good name… Continue

Added by WebYeshiva on April 18, 2010 at 4:54am — No Comments

Ramban on the Torah: Reasons for Orlah

By Rabbi Yitzchak Blau, WebYeshiva



Vayikra 19:23-24 states the prohibition of eating from the fruit of a young tree during its first three years. The Torah uses the word “orlato,” meaning to seal or close off, since the fruit remains off limits for a three year period. Owners transport fruit from the fourth year to eat in Jerusalem, a mitzva called neta revai. What rationale explains this three year restriction?



Ramban suggest that we must honor God by utilizing our first… Continue

Added by WebYeshiva on April 14, 2010 at 5:38am — No Comments

Ramban on the Torah: When a Prince Sins

By Rabbi Yitzchak Blau, WebYeshiva



The fourth chapter of Sefer Vayikra lists sin offerings brought by a high priest, by the community, by a prince, and by a regular Jew but the terminology employed does not remain consistent. Regarding three of the above, the Torah says “im,” if they sin. In reference to the prince, the Torah says “asher,” when he sins (Vayikra 4:22). Why does this sin appear as a definitive fact whereas the other sins represent mere possibilities?



Seforno… Continue

Added by WebYeshiva on March 24, 2010 at 12:26pm — No Comments

Ramban on the Torah: Celebrating Festivals, Enjoying Shabbat & Work Prohibitions

By Rabbi Yitzchak Blau, WebYeshiva



You shall not kindle a fire throughout your habitations on the day of Shabbat. (Shemot 35:3)



Among all the prohibited acts of work on Shabbat, the Torah singles out kindling a fire. Why? One view in Chazal (Shabbat 70a) says that this melacha requires separate categorization since, unlike other melachot, its violation does not constitute a capital crime. Seforno explains that fire often brings destruction and the definition of “work” for… Continue

Added by WebYeshiva on March 14, 2010 at 10:54am — No Comments

Insights in Pirkei Avot: Avoiding or Interacting With the Authorities

By Rabbi Yitzchak Blau, WebYeshiva



Be careful with the authorities because they only become close to a person for their own benefit They befriend when it helps them but do not stand up for you when things are difficult. (Avot 2:3)



We can easily understand a directive to exercise caution regarding politicians. Those with excessive ambition or a lust for power often rise to political prominence. They kiss babies and dispense warm handshakes when in need of support but do not… Continue

Added by WebYeshiva on March 7, 2010 at 2:24am — No Comments

Mission of Orthdoxy Project: The Status of Living in Israel

By Rabbi Gidon Rothstein, WebYeshiva



What It’s Certainly Not About: Zionism



Last time, I finally offered my one-paragraph version of the mission. From here, there are really only three pieces of the project left: I want to deal with two aspects of Judaism that are clearly not vital to the mission and yet complicate our understanding of what we mean by Orthodoxy (or any other expression of Judaism) and then show how our understanding of the mission highlights ways in which… Continue

Added by WebYeshiva on March 4, 2010 at 11:44am — No Comments

Ramban on the Torah: Aharon and the Pressure of the Mob

By Rabbi Yitzchak Blau, WebYeshiva



And Moshe said to Aharon: “What did this people do to you that you brought this great sin upon them. (Shemot 32:21)



Rashi says that Moshe asked his older brother what kind of suffering the people inflicted before Aharon participated in the sin of the golden calf. This account depicts Aharon as attempting to resist communal pressure but giving in to intimidation tactics. Ramban rejects this idea since the idolatry of the golden calf should… Continue

Added by WebYeshiva on March 3, 2010 at 12:52am — No Comments

Ramban on the Torah: Morality, Pragmatism and Ramban

By Rabbi Yitzchak Blau, WebYeshiva



You shall not deliver to his master a slave that escaped from his master to you. He shall dwell with you, in your midst, in the place which he shall choose within one of your gates, where it is best for him; you shall not wrong him. (Devarim 23:16-17)



Which kinds of slave and what context does this commandment refer to? One suggestion in Gittin (45a) explains that the verse speaks of a Canaanite slave belonging to a Jew who escapes from… Continue

Added by WebYeshiva on March 2, 2010 at 5:02am — No Comments

Insights in Pirkei Avot: Torah, Derech Eretz and Work

By Rabbi Yitzchak Blau, WebYeshiva



Rabban Gamliel the son of R. Yehuda Hanassi would say: Torah is good with derech eretz since the toil in both of them prevents sin. Any Torah not accompanied by a profession ultimately ceases and leads to sin. All who work with the community should toil for the sake of heaven, since the merit of their ancestors aids them and their righteousness endures forever. And I grant you great reward as if you did it. (Avot 2:2)



What constitutes the… Continue

Added by WebYeshiva on March 2, 2010 at 4:53am — No Comments

Ramban on the Torah: Assaulting the Sanctity of the Family

By Rabbi Yitzchak Blau, WebYeshiva



And he that smites his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death. And he that steals a man, and sells him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death. And he that curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. (Shmot 21:15-17)



Commentaries raise two fundamental questions regarding these verses. Why does the punishment for kidnapping appear between two punishments for violence towards parents?… Continue

Added by WebYeshiva on February 28, 2010 at 9:46am — No Comments

The Mission of Orthodoxy Project, #14

The Death Penalty and Karet Prohibitions by Rabbi Gidon Rothstein, WebYeshiva

In the introduction to his eighth century Halachot Gedolot, one of the earliest compendia of Jewish law we have, the author (known as Behag, the acronym for Baal Halachot Gedolot, author of Halachot Gedolot) provided one of the earliest extant listings of the 613 mitzvot, and grouped them by punishment, so that a part of his list gives us exactly the subset of prohibitions we were seeking. While some…

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Added by WebYeshiva on February 7, 2010 at 3:38am — No Comments

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