Journal

Just Saying

by R. Moshe Schapiro Say What? The Ten Commandments are introduced by the verse, ““Va-yedaber Elokim et kol ha-devarim ha-eleh lemor,” – “And God spoke all these matters, saying” (Shemot 20:1) a variation of the more common, “Va-yedaber Hashem el Moshe lemor” – “And Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying.” The problem in translating this ubiquitous verse is the redundancy of ...

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The Mystery of Karpas

by R. Chaim Lindenblatt At the Pesach seder, we dip twice—first karpas in salt water and later maror in charoses. What is the purpose of the first dipping early in the seder? The Gemara (Pesachim 114b) says that it is hekera letinokos; it is supposed to arouse the children to ask questions. Yet it raises questions for adults, as well. ...

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The Student-Centered Classroom and Why You Should Care

by Alexandra Fleksher The classroom is filled with noise.  Students are on the floor in circles, crouched in corners, and walking about, engrossed in discussion.  Books are open, papers are being scribbled upon, and pages are being flipped as the students are taking active responsibility for the learning task at hand.  If you have ever seen a classroom like this, ...

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Opposite, Not Oppositional

by R. Shmuel Zuckerman וַיֹּאמֶר ד’ אֱלֹקִים לֹא טוֹב הֱיוֹת הָאָדָם לְבַדּוֹ אֶעֱשֶׂהּ לּוֹ עֵזֶר כְּנֶגְדּוֹ – בראשית ב And the Lord G-d said: ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper opposite him.’ (Genesis II) ואמר רבי אלעזר מאי דכתיב [בראשית ב] אעשה לו עזר כנגדו זכה עוזרתו לא זכה כנגדו ...

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Reading Rambam on the Rabbi-Community Relationship

by R. Tzvi Sinensky Contemporary Halakhah, the study of a set of texts with an eye toward legal application, is a well-trodden, time-honored approach to Torah study. But there is a potential cost to this goal-oriented method of learning: when we examine selected sources in an attempt to derive practical conclusions, we tend to view the subject matter incompletely, and ...

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The Ten Plagues & Egyptian Mythology

by R. Alec Goldstein I would like to explore a thesis, not new but also not widespread in the Jewish world, that the plagues were in response to Egyptian mythology. However, a few points are necessary. First, I am not an Egyptologist; I strongly urge the reader to treat any findings here as preliminary. Second, the Egyptian pantheon was extremely ...

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May One Say “Mumbai”?

by R. Aryeh Lebowitz In the aftermath of the terrible 2008 massacre in India, many personal accounts of the lives of the victims were disseminated in the media. One particular line in a personal account of the Holtzberg family caught my eye. The writer, Dr. Isaac Bolbin, a friend of the Holtzberg family wrote that “Reb Gavriel used to call ...

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