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.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Sadly, it is a familiar script.
We face the tragedies of three sweet bochurim, and at the same time, we cannot help but feel the isolation. Even as our people are consumed by concern, interrupting weddings, graduations and gatherings to join in reciting Tehillim, embracing the Shabbos earlier and with more focus than usual, and continually davening, the apathy of the wider public and the mainstream media is a reminder of the eternal truth of the posuk which states, “Hein am levodod yishkon.” We are alone.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Shavuos is a day that celebrates the receipt of the Torah and its centrality in our lives. But it also celebrates the eternity of our people. Despite all the present adversity and everything our people have suffered throughout the millennia, we are still around and will be forever. Despite the current battles with the same old, tired arguments, some clad in modern garb and expressed with current slang, the fact that the people of the Torah are eternal is proven daily.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Yomim Tovim commemorate events that transpired in the past and contributed to the formation of our destiny as a people. On these special days, the Divine energy that generated the original supernatural occurrence flows once again and we are able to attain historic levels if we properly prepare ourselves.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, May 21, 2014
If you have ever driven a far distance in your car with your family, you know the drill. Drive for a few hours and then take a welcome break. You find a nice spot, get out of the car, stretch, eat, and then pile back into the car reinvigorated.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Have you ever noticed how the sun sets over Yerushalayim?
The ball of fire that illuminates the world doesn’t just descend and disappear, causing the sky to slowly darken, as it does here in America. Instead, the sun seems to hover for a moment up in the sky, painting a city of red roofs and white stones with its brilliant, burning hue. And then, very quickly, the sun is gone. Night suddenly falls and darkness replaces the light.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, May 07, 2014
This Shabbos, hundreds of accomplished educators will join for an intense, exhilarating weekend tied to the future of tens of thousands of Yiddishe neshamos. The professional enrichment the participating men and women will receive there will provide them with techniques necessary to provide the next generation with the skills to flourish and prosper in an increasingly turbulent world.
Leading roshei yeshiva, rabbonim, learned scholars and eloquent lecturers will address the gathering, using theparsha as a springboard to confront issues of the day, seeking and providing inspiration from its pesukim.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Self-help books are a major industry. Thousands of volumes offering direction and guidance for people to improve, change and enhance every aspect of their lives generate much income for authors, publishers and bookstores.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, April 09, 2014
Leading up to Pesach, Jews everywhere scramble, utilizing all their energy to thoroughly clean their possessions, whether chometz could have entered there or not. The drive to wash and vacuum every part of the house and clean every closet is widespread, even in instances where it is not halachically mandated. Where did this minhag originate from? The customs of a nation that instinctively follows the truth is worth studying.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, April 02, 2014
One of the most resonant proclamations made at the Seder is the one recited right at the beginning of Maggid, when we say, “Kol dichfin yeisei veyeichol kol ditzrich yeisei veyifsach.” The sweeping declaration made in homes everywhere invites all those who are hungry to join in the Pesach Seder.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, March 26, 2014
A cursory glance at newspaper headlines is enough to fill the perceptive person with a sense of fear and helplessness. Despite the most advanced and sophisticated security systems and procedures, we’ve watched in amazement as an airplane simply vanished. Years from now, people will be studying the loss of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 and opining what happened, how it transpired, and what lessons are to be learned from the tragedy.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Purim came, Purim went, but what did it do to us? A day spent in prayer, study, and mitzvos bein adam lachaveiro brings joy to Jews of all ages. From the delivery and receipt of mishloach manos to the raising and contributing of matanos la’evyonim, Purim brings out the best in everyone. People spend hours on end writing checks, distributing much-needed funds to impoverished brothers, who are grateful for the donation. Music blares, feet fly high in the air, costumes elicit smiles, and the seudas Purim brings the sometimes hidden joy to the fore.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, March 12, 2014
It was at that last Purim hour, during the moments when day slowly recedes to night and the sky begins to darken. Inside the crowded room, arebbi andtalmidim surrounded a table, as songs, Torah and quips joined into a burst of sound, the holy noise of Purim rising heavenward.