We interrupted our usual studies to look at Chanukah in Akedat Yitzchak. We were in the middle of the sixth sha’ar, which suggests that our best strategy would be a brief recap of where the sixth sha’ar was going. Rabbi Arama was looking into the nature of the human soul, which sets people apart from
Growing up, my sister and I fought a lot. It didn’t matter who was right or wrong or even if there was a right and wrong. We just fought because that’s what cats and dogs do, or siblings, as the case may be. Today, we’re mature adults and we never fight anymore. We agree on all the important issues in life. We may disagree on the
Ends and Effort
R. Arama intends the sixth sha’ar to discuss the nature of the human soul. He starts with the connection between understanding the value of an act and the effort we put into it. Anywhere we cannot see the purpose of an act—a failing to which we are all prone, he says,
The non-Torah world has three areas which I can’t resist. The first is Boston-based-sports franchisesand, for me, the Pats are still the Boston Patriots. The other two are science fiction and really good acting. The latter two items converged in a recently aired TV series, called “Counterpart.” It describes how this world separated
Bereshit Rabbah 11 quotes Rabbi Shimon barYochai, where he portrays Shabbat as complaining to Hashem over her lack of a partner; Hashem then promises her the Jewish people will be her partner. At Sinai, Hashem reminds the Jews of this commitment, when Hashem says, “Zachor et yom haShabbat lekadesho, remember Shabbat to declare it
Chayei Sara 5779
It takes a tough person to daven a tender Mincha. Here’s the problem: Mincha falls out, for much of the year, during the work day. In Jerusalem, the final time for Mincha gets as early as 4:39 p.m., and in New York as early as 4:28 p.m,, clearly within business hours.
R. Arama starts his she’arim with a brief summary of what he intends to tell us. Here, he plans to make a point about Shabbat and its role in teaching us important truths of the world, but makes a digression I found too enlightening to pass up.
The Value of the First Six Days of
Lech Lecha 5779
Most of you know the story of Avraham breaking the statues in his father’s idol emporium. Can’t you just imagine the sign out front of the shop: Terach & Son, Idols for all Occasions. There’s so much about that story we don’t know. How old was Avraham? What errand did Terach
R. Arama is ready to read the first chapter of Bereishit with us (which, conveniently, we just read in shul, so we hopefully have these passages more in mind than we might usually), to find the “10 sayings” a Mishnah in Avot said Hashem used to create the world. As you recall, he has decided the first of those sayings was yehi or, let
Parshat Vayeira has always troubled me. A quick look at the text would seem to suggest that Sara lied to Hashem. Just after one of the three angels visiting Avraham says that at this time next year Sara will have a son, the Chumash states:
Now Abraham and Sarah were old, coming on in years; Sarah had