Shabbos Chanukah – G-d Fights Our Wars

The miracle of the oil Why do we celebrate Chanukah? “When the Yivanim entered the Bais HaMikdash, they defiled all the oil set aside for lighting the Menorah. When the Chashmonoim were victorious, they searched and were able to find only one small jug of oil with the Kohain Gadol’s seal intact. It had sufficient oil to last only one day, but miraculously it lasted eight days. In honor of the miracle of the oil…






Vayishlach: Going Home- The Merit of Eretz Yisroel

Yaakov Avinu received word that his “brother” Aysav was coming to greet him. He understood fully well that this was not to be a warm family reunion. Aysav came accompanied by a band of four hundred armed men, bent on revenge. The Torah describes that Yaakov was “very frightened,” so he prepared for war. The Rishonim are bothered by why Yaakov would fear Aysav. After all, HASHEM had promised to return him to his father’s…






Purim and Parshas Zachor- Seize the Moment

On the 13th of Nissan, Haman approached Achashverosh with his plan: the complete annihilation of the Jewish people. Achasverosh agreed, and the wheels were set in motion. The Targum tells us that Eliyahu Ha’Navi came to Mordechai and informed him of all that had transpired. Mordechai immediately sent word to Esther, asking her to appear before the king to beg mercy for her people. Esther responded, “Gather together all of the Jews of Shushan, and…






Purim: The Joy of a Mitzvah and Understanding Life

“Rav Yehudah said: Light refers to Torah, gladness refers to holiday, joy refers to circumcision, and honor refers to tefillin.” — Megillah 16b In the eighth year of Achashverosh’s rule, on the thirteenth of Adar, every Jewish man, woman and child was to be slaughtered. Young or old, wealthy or poor, they were counted as one, and on that fateful day, the Jewish people would cease to be. According to the ways of the world…






Purim- They Don’t Make Anti-Semites Like They Used To

The Megillah opens with a description of Achashverosh’s vast empire, “He ruled over one hundred and twenty seven nations.” The common assumption is that he was in the height of his glory. However, Chazal tell us that shortly before this, he had ruled over an additional one hundred and nineteen nations. At this point in time, he was still a powerful ruler, but almost half of his kingdom had been taken from him. In his…






Pikudei: There are No Gedolim Today

Parshas Pikudei begins with a detailed accounting of all of the gold and silver that was collected for the Mishkan. A cursory reading would lead us to assume that while, of course, a man as great as Moshe was above question, he must have asked for this calculation because public leaders must remove any suspicion no matter how farfetched. However, the Balei Tosfos explain things a bit differently. It seems that Moshe was in fact…






Pikudei: Did Columbus Invent America?

It wasn’t Moshe’s action. It was a miracle. When all the parts of the Mishkan had been fashioned, they were brought to Moshe, who actually stood the walls up and erected the Mishkan. Rashi explains that because of the massive weight of the materials, none of the people involved in forming the Mishkan were able to erect it, so they brought the materials to Moshe. Moshe was also unable to lift up the heavy walls,…






Vayakhel: When You Lack Motivation

The Nesi’im (heads of the tribes) personally donated the precious stones for the breastplate of the Kohen Gadol. Even though this was an enormously valuable contribution, their name is written with a letter missing to denote something lacking in what they did. Rashi explains that in the initial collection of materials for the Mishkan, the Nesi’im didn’t act properly. When Moshe called for donations, the Nesi’im said, “Let the congregation donate as much as it…






Vayakhel: Men are from Mars

The mirrors are the most precious of gifts The Torah specifies that the wash basin in the Mishkan was made of copper taken from the mirrors that the women brought as donations. Rashi explains that by telling us where the copper came from the Torah is teaching a significant lesson. Moshe Rabbeinu was appalled by the idea of using the mirrors in the Mishkan because they were used to enhance a woman’s beauty, which is…






Ki Sisa: Why We Need the Merit of Others

Moshe Rabbeinu was the single greatest human being who ever lived. The Rambam tells us that of all the nevi’im, he alone was able to speak to HASHEM directly. Normally, a prophet must go into an altered state of consciousness to experience HASHEM. Otherwise the experience would cause sensory overload, and he would die. Moshe was able to speak to HASHEM in a totally clear, conscious state of mind. At any time, he could approach…






Get The Shmuz on the go!