By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, March 05, 2014
The wondrous account of Megillas Esther annually reinforces the closeness Jews feel with the world’s Creator.
Unlike many of the famed miraculous redemptions that occurred in the Holy Land, or at a time when the Bnei Yisroel conducted themselves with piety, the Purim story transpired when the Jews were exiled and forlorn, uncertain about their role, despondent about their condition, and fearing for their future.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, February 26, 2014
With the laining of Parshas Shekolim and Birkas Hachodesh of Adar Bais this Shabbos, we know that Purim is fast approaching. In order to benefit from the special day, we have to get ourselves in shape and prepare for it. Parshas Shekolim was instituted by Chazal to assist in that endeavor. “B’echod b’Adar, on the first day of Adar,” we are told,“mashmi’in al hashekolim, we discuss the obligation to donate a half-shekel to the Mishkon.”
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, February 19, 2014
This week’s parsha of Vayakheil makes a point of stating that the mitzvos contained therein were transmitted by Moshe Rabbeinu to the entire assemblage of Klal Yisroel. The pesukim report that the nation gathered to hear about the Mishkon and Shabbos.
It is important to note that these two commandments relate to the dual approach of bringingHashem into our midst.
We pulled up to the quaint, centuries-old hotel. The lobby was unremarkable. It had some sofas and plush chairs, along with potted plants and tasteful rugs. A receptionist stood behind a long polished desk, checking our reservations and sliding the room-keys across its surface.
It was a pretty typical hotel scene, taking place in Manchester, Vermont. The picture behind the receptionist was remarkable. I stared at it repeatedly. From the frame, the image of an old-time Jewish manstared out at me. With a flowing beard and peyos, and a funny hat covering his head, he stood in the lobby of this very hotel, working the desk.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Rav Yaakov Galinsky zt”l wasn’t physically imposing and the impression he made had little to do with his regal bearing or immaculate dress. He didn’t have a powerful voice or oratorical flourish, so that couldn’t have been the secret of his appeal.
The posuk (Zechariah 4:6) states,“Ki lo bechayil velo bekoach - I do not attain my accomplishments with strength or force, but, rather, ki im beruchi, it is with My spirit that I emerge victorious.”
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, January 22, 2014
There are no two words more associated with the deliverance of the Torah on Har Sinai than “naaseh venishma.” However, as intertwined as they are with the Matan Torah described last week in Parshas Yisro, they appear this week in Parshas Mishpotim.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, January 15, 2014
In Parshas Yisro, we learn of Kabbolas HaTorah. Following the makkos heaved upon the Mitzriyim, Krias Yam Suf freeing the Jewish people, and the accompanying revelations of Hashem’s might, Klal Yisroel was finally ready to become the Am Hashem and receive the Torah.
It is interesting to note that the parsha that depicts Matan Torah is named for a foreigner, Yisro, and not for the gift we received on Har Sinai. Another intriguing anomaly is that the Torah interrupts the account of the Jews’ escape from Mitzrayim and the apex of their journey at Midbar Sinai to tell the seemingly tangential story of Yisro’s arrival.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, January 08, 2014
Every Shabbos is special, but this Shabbos carries a special distinction. We refer to it as Shabbos Shirah. While every Shabbos provides spiritual nourishment to sustain us for the week, this Shabbos possesses a unique spiritual energy as the depository of the power of the definitive moment in our founding, the climax of Yetzias Mitzrayim, when the newly released nation sang Oz Yoshir.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, January 01, 2014
As we study Parshas Bo, we note that the pesukim and narratives of this parsha comprise many of the words and stories intrinsic to our emunah,which combine to mold the drama and excitement of the Seder night.
On that night, every father is charged with imparting not only the stories, but also the eternal messages and lessons that emanate from our experiences in Golus Mitzrayim, and our deliverance from them, which formed us into the am hanivchor.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, December 25, 2013
People all over are worried. They wonder how they will manage. How will they generate the income necessary to feed and support a frum family? They worry about paying their mortgage or rent, tuition, health insurance, and myriad other expenses.
People worry about their health. They worry about their children and about their parents. They fear what the future has in store for them. They worry about whether their children will be accepted into school. They worry about shidduchim.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, December 18, 2013
North Korea’s dictator died two years ago, leaving behind an untested, unlearned and unready young son to replace him. The dictator’s brother-in-law took the lad under his wing and taught him what he had to know to keep the country functioning under his rule. When the young man felt that he could manage on his own, he repaid his uncle for his kindness by having him shot. Then he erased his name from all official documents and photo-shopped his image out of government photos.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Parenting has become a big industry. People are confounded and confused about how to raise their children. They need not look further than this week’s parsha, where Yaakov lovingly explains, praises exhorts and admonishes his sons. Successful parenting requires all of those responses in measured doses. In order for life skills to be properly conveyed, children must be disciplined and taught respect, responsibility, fidelity to Torah and moral principles. The question is how that is best accomplished.
The letter was a perfect introduction to this week’s parsha.
The writer is a leading activist for Lev L’Achim, working day and night to uncover the dormant sparks within the souls of our secular brethren in Israel. He works with single-minded focus, because he knows that with enough work and dedication, he will succeed, as he has repeatedly.
Although Chanukah is a mitzvah miderabonon, there are several oblique references in the Torah to the yom tov we celebrate this week. The Ramban in Parshas Beha’aloscha famously connects Aharon Hakohein’s lighting of the menorah in the Mishkon to the lighting of the Chanukah menorah in our day.
We read in this week’s parsha of the unfortunate relationship between the shevotim. They didn’t like Yosef, and the posuk reports that, in fact, they were unable to speak to him peaceably (Bereishis 37:4).
Rashi quotes the Medrash which states that from the Torah’s disparaging remark about the brothers, we derive their praise. They didn’t possess the ability to be two-faced. They were unable to create an outward impression of friendship while feeling otherwise in their hearts.
Every account and detail of the avos and their travels is replete with life-lessons and directives. Parshas Vayishlach, in particular, is a guide-book in relations with the umos ha’olam. Chazal tell us that the chachomim who traveled to Rome to meet with their overlords would carefully study this week’s parsha prior to setting out on their precarious journeys.
This week, we ushered in Chodesh Kislev and with it the feelings of anticipation for the upcoming yom tov of Chanukah, which celebrates the Maccabees and their rallying cry of “Mi laHashem eilai,” drawing the minority of believers in their day to the flag of holiness.
Once again, in this week’s parsha, we read an account portrayed in just a few pesukim which reverberates through the ages. This week, in Parshas Toldos, we study the exchange between Yaakov and Eisov which eternally defines the role of Jews in golus and draws the lines of an eternal division bein Yisroel lo’amim.
As we study the parshiyos of Sefer Bereishis, we must learn to develop proper perspectives. At the outset of the stories that are told regarding our forefathers, the Ramban (Bereishis 12:6) reminds us of Chazal’s admonition: “Ma’aseh avos simon labonim.” Seemingly regular occurrences are painted with the brush of eternity. The Torah’s recollection of stories that took place during the lives of Avrohom, Yitzchok and Yaakov reveal layers of significance in ordinary encounters.