Sara Yoheved Rigler’s path took her from India to Israel and Judaism. Her spiritual search first led her to India in 1968. There she studied with a guru, then returned to the U.S. and finished her degree in psychology from Brandeis University. She spent the next fifteen years living in America’s oldest ashram. In 1985, her life dramatically changed. Sara Yoheved moved to Yerushalayim, began studying Torah, and became a baalas teshuvah. In 1987, she married Leib Yaacov Rigler, a musician, composer and arranger. The Riglers, who have two adult children, have lived inside the Old City of Yerushalayim for thirty years.
As Klal Yisroel relives Kabbolas HaTorah on Shavuos, we unfortunately read of groups of our brethren for whom Kabbolas HaTorah is a foreign concept, either because they have no connection to Torah or, even worse, because they have a connection to Torah yet they distort the Torah to meet their own agendas.
This past Thursday should have been a festive occasion for Binyomin Netanyahu’s new government. Having presented his fourth government, Netanyahu has broken the record for heading the largest number of governments as prime minister. But although he attained a majority in the Knesset, and he and his ministers were sworn in, it did not turn out to be a happy day.
By Rabbi Yitzchok Hisiger | Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Rav Aharon Schechter, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin, was once heading home on a Shabbos afternoon after Minchah. As he made his way down a Flatbush street accompanied by a small group, he encountered three Jewish boys smoking cigarettes. Rav Aharon, still surrounded by his coterie, continued for another block or so when, suddenly, he turned around.
Imagine that you lived long ago and had the great zechus of visiting Yerushalayim to meet Shlomo Hamelech himself. Sitting next to him is an extremely old woman, ancient but regal, and you whisper to your guide, “Who is that?” To your shock, you discover that you are also about to greet Rus, the great-great-grandmother of the king. Indeed, Chazal (Bava Basra 91b) tell us that Shlomo not only set up a throne for his mother Batsheva (Melachim I 2:19), but also for “the mother of royalty,” Rus HaMoaviah. What was the significance of Rus’ place next to Shlomo Hamelech, of her longevity, and, most importantly, of her place in Klal Yisroel and in the holy Yom Tov of Shavuos?
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.
In 1966, Rav Chaim Shmulevitz, famed rosh yeshiva of the Mir whose yahrtzeit is this week, delivered his personal testimony to Yad Vashem which has come to light only now. Rav Chaim and his rebbetzin lived through the flight of the Mirrer Yeshiva to Japan, which had allied itself with Hitler. The interviewer noted that their testimony was not complete because they had “reservations for religious reasons.” In an interview with Yated Neeman, his son Rav Meir Shmulevitz speculates that the truth was that his parents simply did not wish to speak about themselves.
By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz | Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Of course the headline grabbed my eye, a bold caption announcing the arrest of several rabbis. The article described how a group of female clergy from Manhattan’s Upper West Side had been taken into custody after causing a public disturbance.
Their crime? Blocking traffic in protest of a jury decision not to indict a police offer who had contributed to the death of a black New York City resident who was selling illegal cigarettes.