By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, December 17, 2014
As we observe the Yom Tov of Chanukah, it is interesting to note that there is a mitzvah of zeh Keili ve’anveihu to perform a mitzvah in its most perfect form.
We find in hilchos Chanukah that the hiddurim in the mitzvah of lighting involve the type of oil and wicks used to light the menorah and providing a menorah for every member of the family. After the fire burns for a half hour, it may be extinguished. The Mishnah Berurah [672, 6] writes that there is no hiddur mitzvah in having it burn longer. I have long wondered why. We would think that the longer the candles remain lit, the more of a hiddur mitzvah it would be.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, December 03, 2014
Every year, on Rosh Hashanah, just before the shofar is sounded, the Jewish heart pounds with anticipation and awe. During one of the most exalted moments of the year, as we are about to hear the shofar blown, we recite kappitel 47 of Tehillim seven times in succession. The perek is replete with references, hidden and revealed, to the avodas hayom.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, November 26, 2014
The Jewish world is still in a state of shock over the last week’s Har Nof massacre of kedoshim utehorim. People wonder how such terrible events can transpire in our time. How has this happened in the modern day and age? How has a shul filled with people who woke up early to daven become a host of tragedy of historic proportions?
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, November 19, 2014
We read in this week’s parsha about Rivka’s difficult pregnancy. She is informed that “shnei goyim bevitneich,” she would be giving birth to two distinct personalities, Yitzchok and Eisov, who would lead two separate nations.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Last Tuesday night, as results from polling stations across the nation began to come in, it became obvious to a non-partial observer that the Republicans were heading to a smashing victory. Yet, the media was refusing to say that the Republicans had taken over the Senate. Exit polls are conducted during the entire election day, and when the polls close, it is possible to project a winner. As soon as the Republicans racked up three of the six victories they needed to become the majority party in the Senate, the media stopped revealing the results of their exit polling, as they tried to digest the effect of what they had to know to be a fact.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, November 05, 2014
In the opening posuk of this week’s parsha, Mamrei achieves enduring relevance through his inclusion in one of the most fundamental mitzvos. Hashem appeared in his area upon visiting Avrohom Avinu following his milah.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Parshas Lech Lecha opens with one of the ten nisyonos Avrohom Avinu confronted. Nisyonos are commonly translated as tests or challenges. Avrohom was confronted by ten of them and earned the title of Avinu by passing each test and overcoming the challenges.
We first learn the parshiyos of Bereishes as children and too often retain a juvenile perspective on them into adulthood. In truth, every posuk and every tale is layered with deep meaning.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Once again, as the hue and glow of the greatest month of the year begins to fade, we find ourselves reading the story of Noach. As we slip from the joyous days of Sukkos into the inevitable chill of winter, we find that the parshas hashovua offers warmth, compensating for the dips and turns of the calendar.
There is a lesson inherent in theparsha as we battle to adapt the inspiration and spiritual highs of the Yomim Tovim to the practicalities of everyday life. Schools are open once again. Yeshivos are beginning the longest zeman of the year and working people are back at the grind. We are all attempting to rise above the bleakness confronting us.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, October 01, 2014
The theme of the beautiful pesukim that comprise Shir Hashirim focuses on the Ribbono Shel Olam’s boundless and enduring love for His people. The lyrical account written by Shlomo Hamelech portrays the depth of the relationship between Knesses Yisroel and their Shepherd.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Fear is a uniquely Jewish attribute.
The posuk praises people who constantly fear: “Ashrei odom mefacheid tomid” (Mishlei 28:24). The yorei Shomayim, the choreid ledvar Hashem, is never entirely relaxed. He is always fearful, ensuring that he lives the proper life.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, September 10, 2014
The great Chassidic master, the Mezeritcher Maggid, taught that three principles in avodas Hashem can be learned from a child. Children are happy without any special reason, they are never idle, and they cry out when they want something.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, September 03, 2014
If you would have to sum up all that the Torah encompasses in one commandment, what would you choose? Would it be kashrus? Would it be limud haTorah? Maybe you would pick the obligation to remember that Hashem redeemed us from Mitzrayim. Some would say the mitzvah of Krias Shema or the 39 melachos of Shabbos. Others would point to the three cardinal sins of avodah zorah, shefichas domim and giluy arayos.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Sometimes, as you stand in the elevator and wait out the ride, your gaze rests on the sign stating the weight limit for the car. If the load exceeds a certain amount, the elevator is unable to rise and reach its destination. No amount of cajoling, kicking, screaming or pressing buttons will cause the elevator to ascend. The only hope of rising is to remove some of the excess weight and lighten the load.
Elul is here. The month of change and preparation for the holiest days of the year is upon us.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, August 13, 2014
With Parshas Eikev we continue our journey of solace, our ascension up the rungs of the shiva denechemta. In Moshe Rabbeniu’s final lesson to his people, he incorporates all they had learned during the previous forty years into Mishneh Torah.
Last week in parshas Va’eschanon, we encountered chapters about s’char ve’onesh – reward and punishment. We absorbed the severity of “pen tisa einecha… vehishtachavisa lohem” (Devorim 4:19), mistaking the celestial bodies for masters in their own right. “Hishomru,” we are warned. Take heed lest you forget the covenant formed with Hashem, “Ki Hashem Elokecha aish ochlah hu - Hashem is a fire that consumes.”
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, August 06, 2014
Quite often, to be consoled requires stepping back to properly analyze the situation. By shifting perspective, we can find comfort.
This Shabbos, known as Shabbos Nachamu for the two words at the beginning of the haftorah, ushers in weeks of tanchumin, consolation. Many commentators discuss the double incantation of the word nachamu, as prophesized by the novi Yeshayahu in his immortal statements that gladdens the Jewish heart: “Nachamu nachamu ami yomar Elokeichem.”
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, July 30, 2014
The fate of the Jews of Russia was first placed on the public consciousness decades ago. It has held our fascination ever since. Russia has a storied past. Its current president is in the news every day, drawing our attention to the part of the world where many of our ancestors lived prior to their arrival here. We were brought up hearing stories of Cossacks and their massacres, noblemen and their viciousness, czars and their edicts. We learned about terrible Jewish suffering and deprivation.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, July 16, 2014
With hundreds of rockets falling on Eretz Yisroel, we are witness to daily miracles as there have been very few Israeli casualties. While others credit the Iron Dome with protecting the Israeli population, we note that the very formulation of the system was a miracle. Experts and politicians were stubbornly opposed to funding its creation. The singular dedication of a few diehards forced its completion, and that in itself is a miracle. It is miraculous that those people were given the intelligence and perseverance to produce this lifesaving device.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, July 09, 2014
Any Jew with a soul and a heartbeat felt something significant transpire over the past few weeks. Upon hearing that three boys were kidnapped in Eretz Yisroel, Jews everywhere joined in prayer, asking the Baal Hayeshuos for mercy. When the tragic result of the frantic searches reached us, we turned to the Baal Hanechamos, beseeching Him to shower the families - and all of us, a nation in mourning - with comfort.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, July 02, 2014
For eighteen days, the nation of Israel was united. Jews around the world heard the news that three yeshiva students were kidnapped hitching a ride home for Shabbos. The Jewish world held its breath and waited for good news. As one, they davened, undertook to perform good deeds, and anxiously waited for good news.