Tefillin

Parshat Ekev: The Tefillin in our Head

The Internet Age is characterized by the unprecedented access to limitless information. However, additional information alone is not sufficient to generate change; true change comes about through a change in consciousness. Through his consciousness man contemplates and experiences reality. The nonstop flow of information actually makes it harder to focus on what is truly important […]

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Handcuffed Woman

Aguna Seminar in Bet Shemesh

Beit Hillel, together with Yeshivat Har Etzion, Matan, and communities in Beit Shemesh held an evening seminar on Halachic prenuptial agreements for prevention of agunot. The evening was held in the Ohel Yona Menachem synagogue in Beit Shemesh. The seminar was organized as part of Beit Hillel’s project to promote change in the public consciousness […]

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Couple Talking Over Coffee

Parshat Va’Etchanan: Love is Listening

The Organs of Love Sefer Yetzirah deals extensively with the importance of listening. It even declares that the three “organs of love” are the heart and the two ears (Sefer Yetzirah 6:8). This means that even though love can and should be expressed through speech, the highest level of love is expressed through listening. This […]

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mourning man

Laws of Tisha B’Av

Introduction Our sages say in tractate taanit “Rabbi Akiva says anyone who works on tisha Baav will never see blessing and the sages say anyone who works on tisha Baav and does not mourn Jerusalem will never see its joy as it says Issiah “Rejoice Jerusalem and take delight those who love and mourn Jerusalem.” […]

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Kotel - Western Wall

Those Who Mourn – Merit

This coming week will commence the fast of the 9th of Av, which signifies, more than anything else, the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temples. Regarding this fast, Our Sages said: “Anyone who mourns Jerusalem deserves to see its rejoicing, and those who do not mourn Jerusalem will not see its joy” (Taanit 30b). The […]

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Mother Scolding Daughter

Parshat Devarim: The Art of Rebuke

Criticism and rebuke have always been part of the Jewish way of life. This was true in the days of the prophets and it continues to be a part of our modern discourse. But it may be surprising to discover that according to the Torah, rebuke is actually seen as a way of preventing or […]

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High priest

Parshat Masei: The Blood of the High Priest

Murder is without question the ultimate form of evil. When confronted with cold blooded killing we are seized by fury and we expect to see justice done and the culprit punished as befits him. But when someone accidentally kills someone else, through no real fault of his own, sometimes instead of anger we are wont […]

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Paratrooper and Prayer For Soldiers

Yeshiva Students, the Army, and Spinoza’s Sub Specie Aeternitatis

Whenever I think of the huge demonstration of Chareidi yeshiva students earlier this year, I think of Gateshead Yeshiva in England where I spent many years studying Talmud. It is Europe’s most famous yeshiva and a bastion of Torah study in the Chareidi world. Paradoxically, I also think of Spinoza’s incomparable masterpiece, the Ethics, written […]

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Running Crazy

Parshat Pinchas: The Secret to Success

Rabbe Akiva famously declared that “Love you neighbor as yourself” (Vayikra 19:18) is a key principle in the Torah (Sifra Kedoshim 2:4). But Rabbi Shimon Ben Pazi less famously posits that the foundation of the Torah can be found in our parsha in the verse about the korban tamid, the daily offering, “the first lamb […]

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