Knowledge and Torah

For Torah to be Torah, it has to make an impression on the person who learns it, because Torah is, by definition, knowledge that leads to ahavas Hashem and yiras Hashem. Chazal tell us (Aycha Rabbah 2) that if somebody says to you that the nations of the world possess knowledge, believe them. This doesn’t… Continue reading Knowledge and Torah

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Not-So-Great Expectations

Most people, including myself, expect everything to go our way, and become upset when they don't. All the years I've been a rav, nobody has ever come to me and said, "Rabbi, I got up this morning and I feel fine, my wife and kids are fine… How come?" Nobody ever asked me why they… Continue reading Not-So-Great Expectations

Problems: A Torah Approach

Problems are an unavoidable part of life. But they are not to be regretted; on the contrary, they can be a source of strength, if one has the right approach. There's a Midrash in Yalkut Melachim that says the eye sees from the black of the eye, not the white. A person gets a better… Continue reading Problems: A Torah Approach

The Not-So-Simple Neshama

It is a common misconception that the human being is divided into two more or less equivalent parts: body and soul, guf and neshama. The spiritual composition identified by Jewish tradition is far more complex than that. Body is animated by spirit. All the biological functions, physical and emotional drives, as well as the intellectual… Continue reading The Not-So-Simple Neshama

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Remembering Amalek

The Midrash in Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer asks: How could there be a mitzvah to remember what Amalek did—But it says "Remember the Shabbos"? Answers the Midrash: One remembrance is to sanctify, the other to destroy. Why does the Midrash see a problem in remembering both Amalek and Shabbos? Why can’t there be both? The fact… Continue reading Remembering Amalek

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A Three-Fold Path to Emunah

The Torah relates an extraordinary phenomenon at Sinai: the Jewish people gathered at the mountain were able to hear the lightning, see the thunder. What necessitated such unusual sensations? Wasn’t the word of G-d, accompanied by thunder and lighting, sufficiently spectacular? But perhaps the purpose of it was to impress upon them that Torah is… Continue reading A Three-Fold Path to Emunah

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Three Aspects of Judgment II

In last week’s issue, Rav Leff discussed the three aspects of G-d’s judgment: one’s present spiritual level, his progress over time, and the development of his unique potential. In this issue, he addresses the role of interpersonal relationships in the scheme of judgment. The Mishnah says that HaShem looks at each person not only as… Continue reading Three Aspects of Judgment II

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