The Aveilus of Sefirah

The אבילות of ספירה is extremely puzzling. 1,800 years ago a large number of Talmidei Chochomim passed away. It is even told to us, that it was because they did not treat each other honorably. But this is an aberration in the laws of Aveilus. The regular laws of Aveilus fit a pattern of diminishing…

Counting Up and Counting Down

There is a well-known Machlokes between Rav Yehoshua and Rav Elazar, whether the world was created in Nissan or Tishrei[1]. We pasken like both opinions. We daven on Rosh Hashana that toady is “Haras Olam” the pregnancy of the world implying that Tishrei is when the world was created. But, we say Birchas Hachama in…

The sweetness of the Maror

Introduction One of the major themes of the Hagadah is that it begins with the Jewish people’s disgrace and ends with our praise. This is expressed in two ways, either as first we were slaves and then free men, or first we were idol worshippers and then servants of Hashem[1]. The Gemarra expresses this same…

The Seder of the Seder

The Sfas emes asks: What is lacking in Pesach’s organization that we need a Seder to make it organized? The Sfas Emes says in the name of the Maharal that miracles also have a Seder and that is the organization we are referring to. What does this cryptic statement mean? The natural world that HaShem…

Pesach and Milah

The first of the Aseres HaDibros, when we are commanded to believe in God, begin not with ‘because I created the world’; but instead”I am the Lord your God, who took you out of Egypt”. Why is this so? It seems that our belief in HaShem goes beyond the fact that He created the world,…