Ta’anit Esther – 5764

This coming Thursday will be the Fast of Esther known in Halacha as Taanit Esther. This fast poses several questions. First, we must try to understand what is the basis for Taanit Esther. We know of Yom Kippur, which is of biblical origin, or of Taaniot at times of...

The Buds are Appearing in the Land – 5764

Tu Be-Shvat, as we know, is the “birthday of the trees”. But we may ask: what is the significance of Tu Be-Shvat for man? For many shlichim in diaspora communities, Tu Be-Shvat is a problematic festival. It seems – by its very definition – to be a festival...

Truth & Harmony – 5764

Three levels of fulfilling the mitzva of lighting the Chanuka lights are addressed by the Halachah: 1)Kiyum hamitzvah, The minimum fulfillment, 2) Kiyum le’mehadrin, beautifying the fulfillment, 3) Kiyum le’ mehadrin min hamehadrin, additional beautifying...

Light Up Your Life – 5764

During the Second Temple period, Hannukah was a festival of independence and victory. This is how the historians of the time describe it, and so it is eternalized by our Sages in the prayer service and the Grace After Meals: “You, in Your great mercy, stood with them...

The Vayeshev – Chanuka Connection – 5764

In Parashat Vayeishev we read how Yosef was sold by his brothers and found his way down to Eygpt. At the time Yosef was still fairly young to have left the protection of his father´s home; Yosef who had lost his mother at a young age, was favored by his father Yakov,...

Removing Succah Decorations During Sukkot – 5764

Though a Succah needs only proper walls and a schach roof to enable one to fulfil the mitzvah of Succah, when possible the Succah should be decorated as well. (Mishna Berurah OC 638 section 11in the name of Elya Raba) Decorations used for the Succah may not be used...

Personal Reflections on Sukkot – 5764

Rabbi Emanuel Cohn Former Avrech in Montreal (2001-2003) Founder of “Torah MiCinema” – Teaching Film and Judaism   A couple of weeks ago I and my wife returned to Israel from a two-year Shlichut in Montreal. Our major Canadian souvenir, our...

Shabat Shuvvah – 5764

There are two areas in which the Torah stresses the concept of hierarchy, of a movement from “high to low”, from parents to children. The first is Torah learning. The Torah expresses this obligation thus “and you should teach your children to speak of them (words of...

Rosh Hashana Which Falls On Shabbat – 5764

This year, Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbat and Sunday, and we will not therefore be able to fulfill the Mitzvah of sounding the Shofar on the first day of Rosh Hashanah – only on the second. I always wondered, both as a young child and as an adult, why the Shofar is...