Wisdom in the Skies

Wisdom in the Skies

In the Talmud, the Sages tell us to study the skies, or more specifically the calculations of the calendar: “says Rabbi Shmuel bar Nachmeini in the name of Rebbe Yochanon: from where do we know that it is a Mitzvah to calculate the seasons and the months? For it...
Coming off the Back Bench

Coming off the Back Bench

The Torah portion of Dvarim, beginning the last of the 5 books of Moses, is universally read on the Sabbath proceeding the Ninth of Av, when we commemorate the destruction of both Temples and other tragedies throughout Jewish history. Each week’s reading is...
Why Do We Need Window Shades?

Why Do We Need Window Shades?

In this week’s reading, the gentile prophet Bila’am famously tries to curse the Jews, only to bless them each time. The Torah says, “and Bila’am lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel dwelling according to their tribes, and the Spirit of G-d...
What Do you Live For?

What Do you Live For?

The Talmud, at the end of the first tractate, Brachos, learns a fascinating lesson from the verse: “This is the Torah [the law]: when a person dies in a tent…” [19:14] This verse speaks about impurity that attaches to everything in the same building as...
Learning from the Spies

Learning from the Spies

Our Torah reading relates the tragic story of the Spies, sent to travel through the Land of Canaan in advance of its conquest by the People of Israel. “Send men for yourself, and they will spy out the Land of Canaan, which I give to the Children of Israel, one man for...