By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, November 25, 2015
There is a war going on. Jews are getting killed. Stabbed. Murdered. Shot. Day after day, the numbers are adding up. Sometimes, they are killed one at a time, other times in groups. Knifed, sprayed with bullets or rammed with a car. And that is very tragic. Sad. Awful. There is a growing trail of blood, leaving their families and communities devastated.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, November 18, 2015
The world is at war. Even if this war has no formal name, it is pulling us in, spreading like an infectious disease across the globe. Radical Islam is at war with Western civilization and Israel, determined to upend and destroy the world as we know it. With barbarism the modern world had thought was relegated to a bygone era, savages have spread a trail of blood from Yerushalayim to Chevron, the World Trade Center, the Hypercacher Jewish Market, the Bataclan concert hall, the Russian Metrojet, Beirut, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and parts in between, mercilessly slaughtering innocent people in cold blood.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Each one of the parshiyos in Sefer Bereishis, an uninterrupted chronicle of ma’asei avos meant to instruct and guide us, is filled with hints. There are questions begging to be asked and answers ready to be revealed, if only we probe beneath the surface.
This week’s parshah, Toldos, is no different. We wonder how it can be that Yitzchok was fooled by Eisov and wanted to transmit the brachos to him. We wonder why Rivkah was able to perceive the truth about Eisov and Yaakov while Yitzchok apparently was not.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, November 04, 2015
Most people, including me, don’t remember the speeches given at their own sheva brachos. Nevertheless, I remember the words of Rav Moshe Shapiro at my vort, particularly the way that the rosh yeshiva read the following posuk with Rashi.
The posuk states, “Vayevi’eihu Yitzchok ha’ohelah Sarah imo…vayinochem Yitzchok acharei imo” (Bereishis 24:67). Eliezer introduced Yitzchok to Rivkah. The posuk, as explained by Rashi, relates that Yitzchok was comforted for the loss of his mother when he brought Rivkah to his tent. With Rivkah’s arrival, the candles once again illuminated the home from Erev Shabbos to Erev Shabbos, the challah dough was blessed, and the Divine cloud hovered over the tent.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, October 28, 2015
For years, every time we lain Parshas Vayeira, the same question bothers me. Why did Avrohom Avinu not rush to tell his wife Sarah that Hashem promised that they would have a son? The elderly couple had unsuccessfully sought a child for many years. Hashem appeared to Avrohom and foretold him that he and his wife would be giving birth to a son who would inherit them and carry their mission forward. How can it be that Avrohom didn’t share the great news with his wife?
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, October 21, 2015
The tales of our forefathers pave the way for us. We learn the parshah of the week and we see the here and now in pesukim written many thousands of years ago.
We read the news from Eretz Yisroel and we fear. It is the same story over and over again.
Jews under attack. Jews killed for being Jews. And when they defend themselves, they are called murderers. The free world, the western world, the president of the United States, and the secretary of state of the country that proclaims liberty throughout the land, and the world condemn the Jews for being victims.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Sir Edmund Hillary is widely known as the first man to climb to the top of Mount Everest. Mixing courage, determination and skill, in 1953 he succeeded in climbing the towering peak. Before him, many had attempted the feat and failed. His accomplishment drew interest and excitement around the globe and conferred upon him hero status.
However, historians later discovered that he was the second person to reach the top of the world’s tallest mountain.
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.