Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher, Dean of Students and Senior Lecturer at Diaspora Yeshiva, is not only a popular speaker and teacher, but also a dynamic thinker and writer. A student of Harav Yaakov Kamenetsky and Harav Gedalia Schorr, Rabbi Sprecher was granted smicha (rabbinical ordination) by Torah Vodaath Yeshiva. Prior to his current position, Rabbi Sprecher was a professor of Judaic studies at Touro College in New York. In addition to his duties at Diaspora Yeshiva, Rabbi Sprecher writes a regular column on various Judaic topics in the Jewish Press, and lectures regularly at the OU Israel Center in Jerusalem.
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 HaChodesh: The Mitzva to Re-JEW-venate  .: Viewed: 1251 times :.
Why was Rosh Chodesh the first mitzva given to Israel as a nation while still in Egypt? Why is Parshat HaChodesh so important that it precedes the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai? The Zohar, in explaining the importance of the new moon and our celebration of its renewal each month, states: "The Jewish nation is com- pared to the moon. Just as the moon wanes and seems to disappear into...
Published: May 24, 2011
 Astrology & Judaism  .: Viewed: 1718 times :.
In Judaism, different attitudes have been expressed towards astrology. Most Talmudic sages believed in the decisive role played by celestial bodies in determining human affairs. It was possible, they thought, for astrologers to predict the future by consulting the stars but also for them to err in understanding the contents of their forecasts. According to the Talmud, everyone has a particular...
Published: May 24, 2011
 The Burning Bush: Symbol of Jewish Suffering and Survival  .: Viewed: 1300 times :.
Why did G-d first reveal himself to Moshe in a burning thorn bush? The Midrash saw this as evoking a broad range of symbolic themes and prophetic visions for the future destiny of the Jewish People. Rabbeinu Bachya regards the burning bush as a revelation that our nation, despite its hardships, is eternal. "The burning bush conjures up the image of a lowly nation in iron chains, constantly...
Published: May 24, 2011
 Did G-d pray when He gave us the Torah?  .: Viewed: 1217 times :.
At the giving of the Torah we find that G-d utters a prayer that we should always fear Him and observe His Mitzvot, for our own good (D'varim 5:26). The Talmud in B'rachot 7a, brings another verse to prove that G-d prays: "I will bring them to My holy mountain, and make them rejoice in the house of My prayer, [for My house is a house of prayer for all nations]" (Yeshayahu 56:7). The pasuk...
Published: May 24, 2011
 Nazir: A Holy Sinner?  .: Viewed: 1427 times :.
The Torah's attitude towards the nazir seems contradictory. On one hand, the Torah calls him "holy", as it says: "He is holy to Hashem" (Bamidbar 6:8). On the other hand, the nazir has to bring a sin-offering at the conclusion of the period of nezirut. Furthermore, it is written of a nazir who became defiled [with a dead body]: "He [the kohen] shall provide him atonement for having SINNED...
Published: May 24, 2011
 The Educational Message of the Ten Plagues  .: Viewed: 1205 times :.
We are all aware from the Haggadah of Pesach of R’ Yehudah’s having abrreviated the ten plagues as דצ '' ך ( Detzach), עד '' ש ( Adash), באח '' ב (Be’achav).  However, what’s his point?  Abarbanel finds a surprising distinction between these three groups that emerge and therefore attributes a...
Published: March 28, 2007
 The Four Sons: Four Blessings  .: Viewed: 1195 times :.
כנגד אבעה בנים דברה תורה (הגדה של פסח) The four sons occupy a key place in the Haggadah. The author states their questions and then spells out the answers, both of which are based on Biblical texts. The Torah is realistic;...
Published: May 24, 2011
 Is Hamas the Present-Day Amalek?  .: Viewed: 1256 times :.
Over 6000 rockets and mortar shells have been fired at Israel since the Gaza withdrawal and the expulsion of almost 10,000 Jews from their homes in the summer of 2005. This is including hundreds of missiles that were launched at Israel while the supposed truce between Hamas and Israel was in effect. Actually, it was a one-sided cease-fire. While we ceased, they continued to fire. Why does...
Published: May 24, 2011
 Mordechai's Legacy: The Unique Jew  .: Viewed: 1314 times :.
Why does the Megila say "a Jewish man was in the capital of Shushan and his name was Mordechai," when there were many Jewish people who lived in Shushan? The sages explain that many Jew fled Shushan out of fear of Haman; Mordechai was one of the few who did not. Rav Yonasan Eybeshitz disagrees with this interpretation, because later on in the Megila, Esther instructs Mordechai to "go and...
Published: May 24, 2011
 Purim: G-d's Jigsaw Puzzle  .: Viewed: 1237 times :.
Amazingly, G-d's Name does not appear in the Megillah – because precisely that is its lesson: G-d's ways are not always obvious. His miracles are most often not illuminated by lightning nor by thunder as by the Giving of the Torah. In the concisely written 167-verse Megillah, no seas split and no dry bones come to life. But in the truest sense, the greatest of all miracles is narrated in...
Published: May 24, 2011
 How to Transform the Fast into a Feast  .: Viewed: 1227 times :.
Four days a year Jews fast and mourn, commemorating different historical events of the destruction of the Holy Temple. The 17 th day of Tammuz is one of the four days, and it begins a three week period of limited mourning that climaxes with Tisha B'Av, the day of the destruction of the Temple. These four days of fasting are found in the prophet Zechariah. Consistent with Judaism's optimism,...
Published: May 24, 2011
 Tisha Bav During The Second Temple: Feast or Fast?  .: Viewed: 1260 times :.
The prophet Zechariah, who lived towards the end of the Babylonians exile after the destruction of the first Temple, says in chapter 8, that G-d tells him that all the feast commemorating the destruction of the Temple shall become to the house of Judah days of joy, gladness and holidays. The Tamud explains this passage that all these fast days will become feast days when the Messiah comes....
Published: May 24, 2011
 Tu B’Av: Why the Celebration?  .: Viewed: 1484 times :.
The Gemara says in Taanis (30b) that no days were more joyous for the Jewish people than the Fifteenth of Av and Yom Kippur. What was so special about the Fifteenth of Av? There are several opinions in the Gemara. According to one opinion, this was the day on which those, killed in Beitar, were brought to burial. When the Romans slaughtered the people of Beitar, they left their corpses to rot...
Published: May 24, 2011
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