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Category Archives: SPARKS of JUDAISM

IN THIS WEEKS PARSHA: Vayetzei

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When Yaakov awoke from his vision, he exclaimed, “Truly! G-d is in this place and I didn’t know it!” Had he known, he would not have slept there. But if Yaakov, son of Yitzchak and grandson of Avraham, who spent his whole life in Torah…

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IN THIS WEEKS PARSHA: Toldot

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When Rivka experienced the pain of her twin sons wrestling in her womb, she went to seek G-d’s advice. Some say she went to Shem, son of Noach, while others say she went to a different prophet, perhaps even Avraham himself. But why didn’t she…

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HOSHANA RABA & SIMCHAS TORAH: Rabbi Dovid Charlop

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I saw a beautiful insight about Hoshana Raba, hitting the aravos, and Simchas Torah. Hoshana Raba, the seventh day of Succos, is represented by Dovid HaMelech (King David). His contribution to the Jewish people was his Tehilim (Psalms), words that have touched the Jewish heart…

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IN THIS WEEKS PARSHA: Vayeilech

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This week we learn about the mitzvah of hakhel. Every seven years all the Jews would gather in Jerusalem. Men, women, and children. The men came to learn, the women came to hear, and the children? The children came to give reward to those who…

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The 3 Week Diet

IN THIS WEEKS PARSHA: Ki Teitzei

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The Torah this week speaks of the beautiful war captive. Before a soldier may take her as his bride he must bring her into his home, cut her hair and nails, give her plain clothing to wear, and let her cry for her parents for…

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IN THIS WEEK’S PARSHA: Shoftim

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The Torah portion begins by saying, “You shall appoint judges and officers for yourself.” The Judges rule how to behave and the officers enforce it and ensure people act as they have been told. R’ Moshe Feinstein says that the word, “lecha, for yourself” is…

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The 3 Week Diet

In This Week’s Parsha: Chukas

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Even King Solomon, the wisest of men, couldn’t understand the mysteries of the red heifer, a cow that was burned and its ashes used to purify people. Our Sages say that it atones for the sin of the Golden Calf. “Let the mother come and…

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IN THIS WEEK’S PARSHA: SHLACH

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The Torah gives us the mitzvah of Tzitzis, the command to place fringes on a four-cornered garment. The fringes would include one made of Techeiles, wool dyed a special shade of blue. It was intended to remind us of the sea, which would remind us of…

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Parshat Behar

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(Based on Sichas Shabbos Parshas Behar 5725) At the very end of this week’s Parsha, we see the laws of non-Jews owning Jewish slaves. Megillat Esther (7:4) compares Am Yisrael in galut (exile) to the case which we see in our Parsha of a Jew being sold into slavery…

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Parshat Emor

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In the first Pasuk of our Parsha, we see a double language between the words “Emor” and “VeAmarta”, “Speak” and “Say”. Rashi explains the double language to mean that aside from teaching the Kohanim to observe the following mitzvot (“Emor”), the Kohanim should be warned…

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PARSHA: Vayera

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‪#‎PARSHA‬ ‪#‎VAYERA‬ ‪#‎GOODSHABBOS‬ Life is full of tests (just in case you hadn’t noticed!). When referring to our great-grandfather Avraham, we are told that he also went through tests, ten of them and overcame them all. Why is this aspect of Avraham so important and, in general,…

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3 LEVELS OF FORGIVENESS

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‪There are three Hebrew synonyms: “Selichah,” “Mechilah,” and “Kapparah,” all related to the idea of “forgiveness.” What does each mean? ‪SELICHA‬ usually translated as “forgiveness” is the first step which must be taken if someone has committed a sin, whether it be against G-d or…

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LISTENING TO THE SHOFAR

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Shofar is one of the very few mitzvos that emphasize listening לשמוע קול rather than performance of the mitzvah. When Hashem hears the shofar, it “reminds” Him of one of the high points in His relationship with Israel: the pledge of “na’aseh v’nishma, We will…

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WRITE THE STORY OF YOUR LIFE 

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View each day as a page in your autobiography. You have the ability to fill each page with beautiful stories of spiritual growth and kind deeds. Past pages are already written, but you can revise their significance by learning from your mistakes. In a panoramic…

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ELUL: ‎I AM FOR MY BELOVED MY BELOVED IS FOR ME

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Perhaps the most famous allusion of Elul in all of Tanach is that voiced by Shlomo HaMelech in Shir HaShirim, ‘אני לדודי ודודי לי’ ‘I am for my Beloved and my Beloved is for me’. As it is well known, the first letters of each…

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ELUL: THE MONTH OF PREPARATION AND REFLECTION

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If you had an important court date scheduled – one that would determine your financial future, or even your very life – you’d be sure to prepare for weeks beforehand. On Rosh Hashanah, each individual is judged on the merit of his deeds. Whether he…

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The 3 Week Diet

RETURN OF THE INNER SPARK

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צריך האדם לבקש רחמים מהקב״ה לחדש זאת הרשימה בלבן בר״ה וע״ז מבקשין כתבנו לחיים One of the consequences of the restoration of the Jewish soul every Rosh Hashanah is the return of that inner spark of sanctity that somehow has lain dormant all year. Liberated…

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Diabetes

TEFILLAS HASHELOH: Rosh Chodesh Sivan

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#‎TEFILLASHASHELOH‬ The Shlah (known as the Shelah ha-Kadosh) wrote that the eve of the first day of the Hebrew month of Sivan (Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan) is the most auspicious time to pray for the physical and spiritual welfare of one’s children and grandchildren, since…

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SHALOM ALEICHEM

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A short thought based on a question from Naftali Skaist. When we return home from Shul on Shabbos night, we traditionally sing “Shalom Aleichem” welcoming the angels into our home, for them to witness the special Shabbos spirit and, according to the Talmud, to receive…

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WHAT IS PESACH SHENI?

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What is Pesach Sheni? A year after the Exodus, Hashem instructed the people of Israel to bring the Karban Pesach on the afternoon of the fourteenth of Nissan, and to eat it that evening, roasted over the fire, together with matzah and bitter herbs, as…

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ALL FOR THE BEST

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Ultimately whatever happens to us is for our good. The Talmud relates a story about two people who wanted to travel by boat. One broke his foot and was unable to make the trip, while his friend got on the boat. The one who missed…

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