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The Legacy of the Forefathers

The Ramban calls Sefer Bereishis “The Book of Creation,” since it begins with a description of the world’s creation, and continues with the lives of our Forefathers who “created” the patterns that their descendants were destined to follow.[1]  Our Forefathers’ mitzvos and good deeds were not intended for their own spiritual benefit, or even for the benefit of their generation, but for the benefit of the ent ...

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Rakevet Yisrael

Question: Is it permissible to ride the new "Gush-Dan" train system which was constructed on Shabbos? Answer: Yes, it is permissible. The parties involved in construction do not own the tracks or train, and even if they are not acting in accordance with halacha this would not apply the restrictions of maaseh Shabbos for the entire population, when it is being done against their will. [This is aside from the ...

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Measles Outbreak, Vaccinations And Halacha

Question: Is it considered a halachic obligation for parents to ensure that their children are vaccinated as part of their national requirements? It is important to note that failure to vaccinate a child may not only create risks for the child but, by enabling him to be the carrier and transmitter of an infectious disease may put other children at risk, including children who themselves have been vaccinated ...

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Chuppah Customs

"גם נוהגין לכסות פני הכלות הצנועות, ואינן מקפידות במה מקדש אותן" (אהע"ז רמ"א סימן ל"א ס"ב). "וי"א דחופה אינה יחוד, אלא כל שהביאה החתן לביתו לשם נשואין (כ"כ הר"ן בשי"א ריש כתובות). וי"א שהחופה היא שפורסין סודר על ראשם בשעת הברכה (הב"י הביאו). וי"א דחופת בתולה משיצאה בהינומא, ואלמנה, משנתייחדו (תוספות פ"ק דיומא). והמנהג פשוט עכשיו לקרות חופה מקום שמכניסים שם יריעה פרוסה על גבי כלונסות, ומכניסים תחתיה החתן והכ ...

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Customs of Chuppah

"גם נוהגין לכסות פני הכלות הצנועות, ואינן מקפידות במה מקדש אותן" (אהע"ז רמ"א סימן ל"א ס"ב). "וי"א דחופה אינה יחוד, אלא כל שהביאה החתן לביתו לשם נשואין (כ"כ הר"ן בשי"א ריש כתובות). וי"א שהחופה היא שפורסין סודר על ראשם בשעת הברכה (הב"י הביאו). וי"א דחופת בתולה משיצאה בהינומא, ואלמנה, משנתייחדו (תוספות פ"ק דיומא). והמנהג פשוט עכשיו לקרות חופה מקום שמכניסים שם יריעה פרוסה על גבי כלונסות, ומכניסים תחתיה החתן והכ ...

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LeDovid Hashem Ori

The first letters of the verse, “I am to my Beloved as my Beloved is to me,” אני לדודי ודודי לי spell the word אלול, signifying the love between Bnei Yisrael and our Father in Heaven that pervades this special month.[1]  Yet perhaps a phrase of fear and trepidation would have been more appropriate to prepare us for the terrifying judgment of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.  The Rambam writes that we cannot eve ...

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A New Beginning

היום הזה נהיית לעם לה' אלקיך “Today you have become a nation to Hashem your G‑d.”[1] Rashi explains that the word “today” refers not to the specific day on which Moshe delivered this message to Bnei Yisrael.  Rather it means that on each and every day we must feel as if we had just now entered into a covenant with Hashem. Constant renewal is the key to remaining fresh and energetic in Hashem’s service.  Oth ...

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The Mitzvah of Shiluach Haken

Question: May one perform the mitzvah of Shiluach Haken on a nest which is perched on his window ledge [outside]. Answer: Yes, this would not be considered "mezuman"and the mitzvah may be performed [see end of teshuva].   הנה נחלקו האחרונים במצוה זו אם מצוה חיובית היא, וכל אימת שנקרה לפניו קן צפור חייב לשלח את האם אף שאין לו צורך כלל באפרוחים או בביצים, או מצוה קיומית היא ורק הרוצה להנות ולקחת אפרוחים ...

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The Zealot’s Reward

In this week’s parshah, we learn about the reward claimed by Pinchas for his zealotry in defending Hashem’s honor: “Behold, I grant him My covenant of peace.”  Rashi explains that Pinchas justly earned his reward.[1] What does Rashi mean to add?  Is it not obvious that Pinchas deserved reward for fulfilling this important mitzva, in which he sanctified the Name of Heaven, and prevented a plague that could h ...

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The Savagery of Yishmael

Unable to curse Bnei Yisroel, Bilam returned to his homeland in disgrace.  But before he went, he turned his powers of prophecy to the future, to gaze behind the curtains of secrecy, and foretell what would befall the nations of the world in the end of days.  Among these prophecies, he said the following possuk:   "וישא משלו ויאמר אוי מי יחיה משמו אל."   “And he lifted his parable (employed his po ...

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