Red Cows of History

A fully red cow on a small farm outside Lakewood, New Jersey is attracting worldwide attention in orthodox Jewish circles and various movements with a Messianic or “End of Days” bent. Let me explain why. In the Biblical Book of Numbers (19:2-13) it stipulates that the only way to purify oneself after contact with the…

Parashat Chukat / פרשת חקת

Numbers Chapter 19 1 Chukat And the LORD spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying: 2 This is the statute of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying: Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer, faultless, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke. 3 And…

Awaken, Brother

Originally posted on An Exodus Journal:
Ephesians 5:14: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead.” This verse is often spoken to sinners, but it was not written to sinners. Ephesians was never written to sinners. It is not a message to sinners at all, but a message to one of the best churches in…

Pirkei Avos Chapter 6, Mishna

The 48 Ways Chapter 6, Mishna 6, Introduction “Torah is greater than priesthood and kingship, for kingship is acquired with 30 qualities, priesthood is acquired with 24, whereas the Torah is acquired with 48 ways….” This mishna lists the 48 skills or qualities needed to “acquire” the Torah. This list is commonly referred to as…

Parshas Shlach

Parshas Shlach Note: The Shabbos Torah Reading is divided into 7 sections. Each section is called an Aliya [literally: Go up] since for each Aliya, one person “goes up” to make a bracha [blessing] on the Torah Reading. 1st Aliya: Moshe sends the Spies on their mission. 2nd Aliya: The Spies return carrying the massive…

Parashat Sh’lach / פרשת שלח־לך

UNIVERSAL TORAH: SHELACH LECHA By Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum Torah Reading: SHELACH LECHA, Numbers 13:1-15:41 Haftara: Joshua 2:1-24 With the arrival of the summer solstice and the longest day of the year, we are now standing on the threshold of TEKUFAT TAMMUZ, “the season of the month of Tammuz”, the hottest time of the year. For…

The Fourth Blessing of the Amida Prayer

“Ata Honen Le’Adam Da’at” (The Fourth Blessing of the Amida Prayer) The Reason Why the Blessing of “Ata Honen” Was Instituted as the First of the Series of ‘Blessings of Requests’ Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 115) writes: “Since the advantage of human beings over animals is understanding and intelligence, our Sages instituted the blessing of…

The Land of Israel and Honoring One’s Parents

Question: If one resides in Israel and one’s parents reside outside of Israel and the parents request that the individual come to live with them in their country of residence (outside of Israel), is one obligated to listen to one’s parents because of the commandment to honor one’s parents? Answer: Our Sages relate an incident…

Prepare Yourselves Before G-d, of Israel

Question: Is there a reason why Yeshiva students customarily pray only while wearing a nice suit jacket and not just while in their shirtsleeves? Answer: Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 98, Section 4) writes: “Prayer is in the place of sacrifices; thus, one must be careful that one’s prayer resembles an offering through concentration and not…

Parshas Summary

Parshas Behaaloscha Note: The Shabbos Torah Reading is divided into 7 sections. Each section is called an Aliya [literally: Go up] since for each Aliya, one person “goes up” to make a bracha [blessing] on the Torah Reading. 1st Aliya: Aharon is instructed to light the Menorah, and the Menorah’s construction is reviewed. Moshe is…

Taking Three Steps Back Before Praying

The Roke’ach (quoted by the Rama in his notation on Chapter 95) writes that before beginning to recite the Amida prayer, one should take three steps back, then take three steps forward (to one’s original place), and then stand there and begin praying silently. The reason for this is because this resembles an endearment and…