Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein on The Mistaken Rejection of Torah Leaders

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein in Darash Moshe comments on the mistakes of those who reject Torah leaders: Korach’s argument, the entire congregation — all of them — are holy, and why do you exalt yourself over the congregation of Hashem, is the basic argument of those who reject the Torah leaders and think that they know […]

An Ambidextrous Theology

Why is the Sotah’s case adjudicated through trial by watery potion? Why do kohanim put their hands together when bestowing the priestly blessing? He [the kohen] will then make the [suspected adulteress] woman drink the bitter curse-bearing waters and they will begin to take effect. ~BeMidbar 5:24 Speak to Ahron and his sons, saying: This is how […]

Is Torah Everything … OR is Everything Torah II

Why is the Zodiac sign of the month of Sivan the twins? Why are we often frustrated by failure despite having put forth our very best efforts? Conversely, why does unanticipated success sometimes come our way, relatively effortlessly? … Similarly the Holy One, blessed be He, say to [the Children of] Israel: ‘My children! I […]

Time, Space and Soul

What is so awful about charging interest? After all it is the lubricant that greases the gears of commerce universally. Why must even nirtza slaves, those who chose to stay on with their masters when they had the chance to become free, be liberated on the Jubilee year? When where and why is it permissible […]

Beauty may be Skin-Deep but Some Hideousness is to the Bone

Today, 29 Adar Sheini is the yuhrzeit-anniversarry of the death of the great Polish Chassidic Master Reb Shloimeleh Rabinowicz; zy”a, the first Radomsker Rebbe, as well as other tzadikim and talmidei chachamim-Torah sages. The following Devar Torah is adapted from his work on the Torah and Holidays, Tiferes Shlomo, and is dedicated l’iluy nishmas –for […]

So Bad That it MUST be Good

A SPECIAL REQUEST: Please do not begin reading this devar Torah unless you intend to learn it thoroughly and reach the disclaimer at the very end. To do otherwise could prove hazardous to your spiritual development and health. How can it be that a small spreading of the white nega-tzara’as rash causes ritual impurity but […]

It’s Never as Bad, or as Evil, as It Seems

How does Jewish sin differ from sin in general? Why do we read Parshas Parah only at this time of the year? I have recorded a homiletic interpretation … of R. Moshe Hadarshan … And have them take for you: … just as they took off their own golden earrings for the calf, so shall they […]

And For an Offering … I Will Sacrifice My Soul

Vayikra 5774-An installment in the series of adaptations From the Waters of the Shiloah: Plumbing the Depths of the Izhbitzer School For series introduction CLICK By Rabbi Dovid Schwartz-Mara D’Asra Cong Sfard of Midwood Speak to the children of Israel and say to them: When a man will bring near, from [among] you,( meekem) a […]

There Are no Lightweights or Heavyweights … Only Half-Weights

Pikudei-Shekalim 5774-An installment in the series of adaptations From the Waters of the Shiloah: Plumbing the Depths of the Izhbitzer School For series introduction CLICK By Rabbi Dovid Schwartz-Mara D’Asra Cong Sfard of Midwood Everyone who is to be counted in the census must give a half-shekel according to the holy standard where a shekel […]

Shabbos … the Great Unifying Principle

Vayakhel 5774-An installment in the series of adaptations From the Waters of the Shiloah: Plumbing the Depths of the Izhbitzer School For series introduction CLICK By Rabbi Dovid Schwartz-Mara D’Asra Cong Sfard of Midwood Moshe gathered the entire assemblage of the Bnei Yisrael , and said unto them: ‘These are the words which HaShem has […]

Vayakhel – Revealing the Deep Greatness in All of Us

Parshas Vayakhel This week’s parsha deals with the construction of the Mishkan (tabernacle). The Mishkan / Bais Hamikdash was the source of light for the world. The construction of its windows was unusual. In the Bais Hamikdash, the window openings were built to be narrow on the inside and wide on the outside. This allowed […]

Turning Ourselves Upside Down and Inside Out

Ki Sisa 5774-An installment in the series of adaptations From the Waters of the Shiloah: Plumbing the Depths of the Izhbitzer School For series introduction CLICK By Rabbi Dovid Schwartz-Mara D’Asra Cong Sfard of Midwood Moshe turned away and began descending the mountain with the two Luchos HaEdus-Tablets of Testimony, in his hand. They were […]

Of Open-Book Enigmas and Whispered Secrets

Tetzaveh 5774-An installment in the series of adaptations From the Waters of the Shiloah:Plumbing the Depths of the Izhbitzer School For series introduction CLICK By Rabbi Dovid Schwartz-Mara D’Asra Cong Sfard of Midwood Make a  Choshen Mishpat-justice breastplate. It shall be of patterned brocade, like the ephod.  Make it out of gold; sky blue, dark […]

Thinking Inside THE Box(es)

Terumah 5774-An installment in the series of adaptations From the Waters of the Shiloah: Plumbing the Depths of the Izhbitzer School For series introduction CLICK By Rabbi Dovid Schwartz-Mara D’Asra Cong Sfard of Midwood HaShem spoke to Moshe saying: Speak to the children of Israel and have them lift an offering up to Me. Take […]

If you Really Want Unity, Stop Sleeping!

Yisro 5774-An installment in the series of adaptations From the Waters of the Shiloah: Plumbing the Depths of the Izhbitzer School For series introduction CLICK By Rabbi Dovid Schwartz-Mara D’Asra Cong Sfard of Midwood … and Israel camped there opposite the mountain -Shemos 19:2  וַיִחַן[the singular form, the pasuk does not say that the Israelites camped there. […]

If You Can’t Stand the Light, Get Out of the Vision

Bo5774-An installment in the series From the Waters of the Shiloah: Plumbing the Depths of the Izhbitzer School For series introduction CLICK By Rabbi Dovid Schwartz-Mara D’Asra Cong Sfard of Midwood And Moshe said [to Pharaoh] “HaShem said as follows: ‘About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt; and every firstborn in […]

Is The Ramban at the End of Bo the Most Quoted Ramban in Chumash

The Ramban at the end of Bo is a classic work on Jewish philosophy and probably the most quoted Ramban in Chumash. It’s well worth seeing inside. Art Scroll has come out with a translation of the Ramban with commentary, so if you won’t (or can’t) read it in Hebrew, consider picking up the English […]

The Natural, the Supernatural and the Counter-natural

VaEra 5774-An installment in the series From the Waters of the Shiloah: Plumbing the Depths of the Izhbitzer School For series introduction CLICK By Rabbi Dovid Schwartz-Mara D’Asra Cong Sfard of Midwood Therefore say to the Bnei Yisrael-chidren of Israel, “I am HaShem. I will extricate you from the burdens of Egypt and free you […]

Fathers and Sons

Students of Torah literature know that serious scholarship begins (and often ends) with the commentaries of Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, familiar to the Jewish world as Rashi. His synthesis of Talmudic law, allegory, and mysticism, together with the multifaceted brilliance of his insights and his economy of language, places Rashi in a class by himself. With […]

The Holiness of “Going like a Sheep”

Vayechi 5774-An installment in the series From the Waters of the Shiloah: Plumbing the Depths of the Izhbitzer School For series introduction CLICK By Rabbi Dovid Schwartz-Mara D’Asra Cong Sfard of Midwood The Elokim before whom my fathers , Avraham and Yitzchak, walked is the Elokim who has led me like a Shepherd from my […]

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