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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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Bracha of “Lehachniso” for absent father

Question: A father is unable to be physically present at the bris of his son. May he listen in and even video in via skype, and when the proper time arrives make the bracha of "lehachniso bbriso shel avraham avinu" on his own? Answer: When it is impossible for him to be present he may phone or video in and make the bracha on his own.   תשובת מורנו הרב במי שיושב לדאבון לב בבית האסורים ונולד לו בן זכר וה ...

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Learning Torah L’Shma

Torah L'Shma Introductory Note Our Sages[1] have greatly commended one who learns Torah לשמה-Lishmo-literally, for its own sake.[2] Many times in the Talmud [Pesachim 50b, Nazir 23b, Horiyos 10b, Sotah 22b, Sotah 47a, Sanhedrin 105b, Erchin 16b] they have stated that one should always learn Torah, even if it not Lishmo, for through this one will eventually reach Lishmo. The goal, though, is total Lishmo. Tw ...

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Sheitels from India

Question: What is the rovs opinion on sheitel. A-  if they come from india, B - if the seller claims its not. Answer: These sheitels [wigs] are permissible for use. Teshuva of Moreinu HaRav: בשאלת הפאות הנכריות בשאלת רבים אם מותר להשתמש בפאות העשויות משער שבא מהודו, כי נודע ששערות אלה מקורן מנשים המתגלחות כשהן עולות למקום עבודה זרה שלהן, ויסוד השאלה אם שערות אלה תקרובת עבודה זרה ואסורות בהנאה הנה תשובת שאלה ...

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Generator on shabbos

Question: Is there a chiuv gomur to use a generator on shabbes in Eretz Yisroel? Are there any gdolei haposkim who lechatchila permit using normal electricity on shabbes without a generator? Thank you. Answer: It is not a chiyuv gamur to use a generator on Shabbos. This is a debate going on many years, and most accept this practice as a chumra. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach wrote many reasons why using electri ...

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Jewish Heritage

Question: Shalom aleychem, I have a question to my "jewish heritage". I am from Germany. My parents came in the 70's from north-eastern Turkey, from a town called Trabzon (Trapezunt/Trebizond). This area is known as the "pontic" area, as there lived a lot of greek pontic people.They still speak next to turkish, the old greek language called "romeyka". I made a DNAethnicity test last year and was told, that ...

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