By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Every Yom Tov has its sights, sounds and smells. Sukkos has the pleasing aroma of the Dalet Minim and the warmth and contentment of the sukkah. Pesach has the taste of wine and crisp matzos, the scent of chrein being chopped, and the fumes of chometz being burnt. Shavuos carries strains of Akdamus’ moving tones, milchigs, flowers and the poignant pesukim of Megillas Rus. The kriah has us pause to reflect on Rus and her journey from the heights of royalty to the depths of despair, back to the pinnacle as the mother of malchus.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Most are familiar with the comment of Rashi on the opening posuk of Parshas Bechukosai. His words are so oft-repeated in shmuessen and drashos that they have become a cliché, marching orders to generations of bnei Torah of all ages. Let’s review them.
The posuk states, “Im bechukosai teileichu ve’es mitzvosai tishmeru va’asisem osam - If you will follow My decrees and observe My commandment and perform them,” you will be extremely blessed.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, April 29, 2015
It is hard for us to imagine the way our people were feeling at the middle of the last century. The Holocaust had thankfully ended and survivors were desperately trying to put their lives back together. Mourning, beaten, bloodied and broken, they didn’t know if it would ever be possible to find strength and succor to cope with the challenges facing them, strangers in new lands.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Parshas Tazria, as Metzora which follows it, deals with the halachos of a person struck by tzoraas. Though its laws are quite complex, scaring off the less learned from studying them, we are all familiar with the basic concept. A patch of skin, or clothing, or a home becomes infected with pigment changes. A kohein is called to inspect and render a decision regarding the status of the stain. If he deems it tzoraas, the offender is secluded.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Pesach is over, but it shouldn’t be a distant memory. Our lives are formed by the actions we perform on a daily basis and the experiences they offer us. The mitzvos we performed over a week of Yom Tov changed and elevated us.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, April 01, 2015
As we approach one of the many peaks of the Seder, we raise the matzah and recite Ha Lachma Anya, opening the Maggid section. Speaking in unfamiliar Aramaic, we begin by stating that the matzah that we are about to eat at the Seder is the very same matzah that our forefathers ate in Mitzrayim.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, March 25, 2015
This Shabbos is known as Shabbos Hagadol, the Great Shabbos. Unlike every other special day on our calendar that is commemorated on the date of the month upon which the original neis occurred, Shabbos Hagadol commemorates an event that took place on the Shabbos prior to the Pesach holiday but it is not celebrated on the date of Yud Nissan when it actually transpired.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, March 18, 2015
This Shabbos is referred to as Shabbos Hachodesh, the last of the four Shabbosos of special Torah readings leading up to the Yom Tov of Pesach. The Sefas Emes explains that Chodesh Nissan is the first of the months, because it was in this month during Yetzias Mitzrayim that Hashem unveiled the hanhogah of revelation.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, March 11, 2015
This week’s parshiyos of Vayakhel-Pekudei conclude the five parshiyos that discuss the construction of the Mishkon and detail its design. It took six months to erect the Mishkon, which began after Yom Kippur and continued until Rosh Chodesh Nissan.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, February 25, 2015
I was recently sitting with some people and, as has happened so often in recent months, someone started singing the very popular niggun, Ve’afilu Behastarah. The moving words and tune never fail to soften the heart, providing a jolt of chizuk and emunah, a reminder that Hashem is always in control.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, February 18, 2015
The Gemara in Maseches Megillah (4b) discusses the possibility of observing Purim and reading the megillah on Shabbos. Rabbah and Rav Yosef agree that Megillas Esther cannot be read on Shabbos, but they dispute why.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, February 11, 2015
In the alma deshikra in which we live, truth is a rare commodity. Fiction, deviation, misinformation and half-truths are pervasive in our world. The only way to have a connection to the truth is by following the Torah. Mishpotim, the laws that govern finances, which we study this week, must have a basis in the Torah in order for them to be truthful and just.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, February 04, 2015
I had been planning this trip for a while and was looking forward to going to Yerushalayim for Shabbos. Then the predictions of the great blizzard set in. The flight was cancelled. I would have to forgo the opportunity.
Thankfully, a seat on an El Al flight was found and I was able to go.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, January 28, 2015
This week’s parsha is replete with references to mesorah, the value and import of remaining connected.
The posuk states that as the Jewish people left Mitzrayim, they were armed: “vachamushim alu Bnei Yisroel.” The following posuk states that prior to leaving, Moshe Rabbeinu took pains to bring along the remains of Yosef Hatzaddik.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Rav Archik Bakst of Shavel was a dominant rabbinic figure in prewar Lita, as a rov, mechanech, posek and baal mussar. He took the mandate of kibbud av va’eim seriously and would frequently travel to visit his aged mother.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Last Friday, our brothers and sisters were trapped in a Paris supermarket. Engaged in the lofty activity of preparing for Shabbos Kodesh, they found themselves under fire by a crazed Islamic terrorist. Hearts across the Jewish world skipped a beat in unison as Yishmoel sharpened his sword once again.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, January 07, 2015
The Ramban in his introduction to Sefer Shemos writes that this week’s parsha opens by retelling the story of the Bnei Yisroel’s descent to Mitzrayim, for that was the beginning of the Egyptian golus and Shemos relates the tale of golus and geulah.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, December 31, 2014
This week’s parsha of Vayechi tells of the passing of Yaakov Avinu. The posuk states, “Vayikrivu yemei Yisroel lomus vayikra levno leYosef” (Bereishis 47:29). As Yaakov’s final moments of life approached, he called for his son, Yosef. He urged Yosef not to bury him in Mitzrayim, but in Eretz Yisroel: “Al na sikbereini beMitzrayim. Veshochavti im avosai…” He asks Yosef to swear that he will bury him amongst the avos, repeating the request by stating, “Veshochavti im avosai.”