By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Thursday, September 24, 2015
The Rambam writes at the end of Hilchos Sukkah (8:12) that “even though there is a positive commandment to be joyful on the holiday of Sukkos, there was a heightened celebration in the Bais Hamikdosh to fulfill the posuk of ‘Usemachtem lifnei Hashem…’”
He continues, “It is a mitzvah to partake in the special joy, but not everyone who wanted to do so was able to, nor were they ignorant. Only the great men of Yisroel, the heads of the yeshivos, the Sanhedrin, chassidim, zekainim and anshei ma’aseh were the ones who sang and danced and created simchah in the Bais Hamikdosh during the days of Sukkos. The rest of the nation, the men and the women, came to see and hear” (8:14).
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, July 29, 2015
When you walk into a room where people are sitting close to the floor with ripped, dirty clothing, the atmosphere is heavy and sad. Not a word is exchanged. Then a menachem, a comforter, walks into the room. Initially, the people look at him with sad, knowing eyes. Then they slowly come alive, sharing stories of their departed loved one, exchanging reminiscences. “What do you remember?” they ask. “What can you share?” They then accept words of chizuk as expressed in the eternal words of nechomah: HaMakom yenacheim es’chem.
During the first nine days of Av, we are all mourners, sitting in despair and pain. We speak of the days when the Bais Hamikdosh sat in the center of Yerushalayim. We reflect on how different and blessed life was at that time.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, July 08, 2015
Often, people engage in discussions regarding issues of the day, and when convinced that a crisis is at hand, they conclude that someone ought to do something about it. That conclusion most often guarantees that they will do nothing to tackle the problem.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Throughout the long golus, our people have had homes in many countries. Regardless of the backdrop and climate, we’ve always stood out. Our nation has always been marked by tznius and purity, testimony to the fact that the Creator whose name is interwoven with our own is “sonei zima,” loathing of immorality.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, June 24, 2015
The Gemara in Maseches Shabbos (118b) quotes several statements made by Rav Yosi. He said, for example, that although he was not a kohein, if his friends would have ever asked him to duchen, he would have. He wanted to demonstrate his appreciation to his friends and the lengths to which he would go, including standing next to kohanim as they duchen.
Korach is one of the most intriguing parshiyos of the Torah. We read it, study it and wonder how Korach could have been foolish enough to take on Moshe and Aharon. The question of “Korach shepikei’ach hayah mah ra’ah leshtus zeh” is discussed in the Medrash and by dozens of meforshim and darshonim, and yet it perplexes us anew each year when Parshas Korach is lained.
There is a current that runs through the entirety of Torah, a network of threads connecting various parshiyos and episodes just beneath the surface. The very first human error, the shoresh of all human transgression, transpired when Chava persuaded Adam Harishon to eat from the fruit of the Eitz Hada’as. That sin was a mistake that would alter the course of history.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, June 03, 2015
I returned on Sunday from a ten-day visit to Eretz Yisroel, where I saw many things that gave me hope for the future. I was inspired so many times that I lost count. I was touched by things people said and actions I witnessed. I returned recharged and ready to take on new challenges, with Hashem’s help.
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.