Saturday, August 08, 2020

Divrei Torah

Dreams Lack Clarity: Yaakov’s Ladder Dream

R. Arama thinks that the famous ladder of Yaakov’s dream symbolizes reality; the link between the physical and the heavenly; the vehicle of Hashem’s influence descending to Earth’s inhabitants. For him, the angels in the dream were great “people,” whose thoughts and musings have them reach upwards, step by step, to where Hashem

Good Investment Strategy

A few years ago I visited someone to introduce him to our yeshiva for adults and ask for his support. He had never heard anything like it; honestly, he was impressed. He said he liked our unique approach that gives access to in-depth Torah learning and provides real skills to those who didn’t acquire that knowledge earlier in life. He

Putting the World Aright

Last time we closed with R. Arama’s telling us we should love and want good outcomes, oppose and object to bad outcomes and those who would bring them. In his view, Yaakov and Rachel acted to support what needed to happen, and therefore acted appropriately.

A Restored

Betraying a Brother Can Never Be Casual 

Part 1: Stealing the Birthright

Parshat Toldot begins with an incident putting Yaakov in a seemingly bad light, where he takes advantage of Esav’s exhaustion to extract the rights of the first-born. R. Arama tells us he will discuss the norms of brotherhood, the problems with deceit

Why Noach?

Parshat Noach does not begin where it should. Or, perhaps, Parshat Bereishit does not end where it should.

Parshat Bereishit concludes by describing mankind’s corruption and Hashem’s resolve to erase mankind from the face of

Kol Nidrei: Vowing to Be Different

Kol Nidrei always puzzled me. Why begin the holiest day on the Jewish calendar with a legalistic formulation? Why not begin with a description of the kohen gadol’s Beit Hamikdash service about which we read during the Yom Kippur Musaf? Why not begin this holy day with a recitation of Hashem’s awesomeness as we will do when we recite the

Tough Love: Ki Tavo 5779

Please, forgive me. Even though that’s an appropriate sentiment for this time of year, it’s not describing how I feel right now. It’s the deep emotion I felt on the only occasion I gave a potch to one of my beloved children. She had run out into the street with a bus bearing down, and wasn’t showing any understanding for the

How Eliezer Found Yitzchak the Right Wife

We’ve come to the section of the sha’ar where R. Arama asks questions about the parsha and answers them. He opens with Bereishit Rabbah 58, where R. Kahana wonders at Kohelet’s feeling the need to point out the obvious truth that the sun rises and sets.

Flow Of the World, Flow of the

Join Acheinu for Day of Jewish Unity

(Courtesy of Acheinu) On Tuesday, September 24, Jews from around the world are being asked to unite and pray in the annual Day of Jewish Unity coordinated by Acheinu, a division of Dirshu, the world’s largest Torah organization.

This year’s Day of Jewish Unity is a focused “call to action” to

R. Yitzchak Arama’s View of the Akeida Itself

Last time, R. Arama set up the Akeida as an opportunity for Avraham to show his readiness to listen to Hashem on a most difficult task. Now, he fleshes out some of the challenges Avraham faced in building his way to proving his readiness.

Questions About the Akeida

To Discuss Hashem’s Knowledge, Remember Not to Think of Hashem in Human Terms

My summaries of R. Arama’s Akeydat Yitzchak minimize a remarkable aspect of the work, his ability to yoke his expression of his philosophical worldview to his consecutive reading of the Torah. In a way which reminds me of Sefer Ha-Chinuch’s structuring his presentation of mitzvot by the order in which they appear in the Torah, R. Arama

The ‘Little Things’ Count

Joe Wallis was a very successful weapons and aircraft dealer. He was once giving a tour of his facility to a prospective purchaser, a representative of a helicopter manufacturer, who asked about two identical buckets of bolts. Wallis explained these were special bolts to hold helicopter rotor blades in place. One bucket was filled with

Join Our List
and receive information on community events, announcements, exclusive sales and our issue emails.