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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 Why Do We Cry?  .: Viewed: 184 times :.
We have all cried – sometimes from joy, more often from sorrow. Why do we express both opposite emotions in the exact same way? Why is G-d, usually so generous with the wondrous resources with which He has endowed us, so restricting in this respect? Was there not some way to differentiate more clearly between joy and sorrow? On a physiological level, the encyclopedia informs us,...
Published: July 19, 2017
 Why Mourn for a Temple We Never Saw?  .: Viewed: 170 times :.
On Tisha B'Av we mourn for the destruction of the first and second Holy Temples. The Talmud in Trachtate Taanit (Page 30) states that all Mitzvot that apply to a mourner during the Shiva also apply to the entire Jewish people on Tisha B'Av. In other words, according to Halacha we are all sitting Shiva on Tisha B'Av. But, how can this be? For the Halacha states that if a close relative has...
Published: July 13, 2017
 How to Cure MACHLOKET  .: Viewed: 179 times :.
Many American Jewish Groups are now embroiled in a bitter dispute with the Prime Minister and the Government of Israel. We are witness to shocking displays of Sinat Chinam (baseless hatred). Our progressive Jewish brethren in the U.S.A. must realize that the Torah’s principles are eternal, even while science, medicine, and technology evolve and progress. How can we rid ourselves of...
Published: July 6, 2017
 Relieving The Agony of the Agunah  .: Viewed: 220 times :.
The plight of the Agunah wife is an ongoing tragedy. Recently, a woman who has been an Agunah for 17 years went on a hunger strike in Jerusalem. An Agunah (literally a chained wife) is one whose husband deserts her and refuses to give her a GET, thus preventing her from remarrying. The leading Rabbis in every generation have tried to find solutions, even far-fetched ones, for the distress of...
Published: June 28, 2017
 INGRATITUDE – The Source of all Sins  .: Viewed: 282 times :.
R’ Bachye and the Sefer Hahinuch both state that expressing appreciation and gratitude (Hakarat Hatov) is the essence and foundation of Judaism, and ingratitude is the source of all sins. In fact, the Midrash in Vayikra Rabba 9 states, "Derech Eretz kadma laTorah", which means, "Courtesy, decency, and concern for others precede the Torah." Thus, how do we explain the death threats sent...
Published: June 23, 2017
 The heros of the Korach Mutiny  .: Viewed: 257 times :.
The heros of the Korach Rebellion were Korach’s sons and Mrs. ON Ben Pelet. Let us learn about their acts of heroism. The Torah states, “And Korach separated himself with Datan and Aviram… and ON Ben Pelet…” (Bamidbar 16:1). In his revolt against the authority of Moshe and Aharon, Korach was supported by Datan and Aviram and by ON Ben. Pelet. This opening...
Published: June 14, 2017
 TZITZIT - A Tikun For the Sin of the Spies  .: Viewed: 259 times :.
Parshat Shlach begins with the Sin of the Spies and ends with the Mitzva of TZITIT. Is there a link between the two? To answer this question we must ask another. What was the sin of the Spies?  It cannot be that the sin was the very fact that they were sent.  On the contrary,  we find the use of spies against the enemy camp in many places.  For example, it says,...
Published: June 9, 2017
 The Eternal Message of the MANN  .: Viewed: 216 times :.
“And now, our life is dried up, there is nothing, we have nothing but the MANN” (Bamidbar 11). Rashi states that G-d remarked, “Look at what my children complain about, the wonderful and delicious MANN”. My Rebbe, Rav Pam says that G-d’s comment continues to reverberate to this very day – “Look what my children complain about”. Rav Pam...
Published: June 4, 2017
 Love your friend as yourself?  .: Viewed: 225 times :.
This verse is one of the most mistranslated verses in the Torah. Can the Torah command something which is not humanly possible? Unlike other religions, that have fancy slogans not meant for the real world, Judaism is based on realty. Thus, Rav Soloveitchik explains that this is not what the Hebrew verse actually says. It is all about knowing where to place the comas. For example, I had a...
Published: May 5, 2017
 Jerusalem What’s In A Name?  .: Viewed: 253 times :.
The phrase “Yom Yerushalayim” is first mentioned in Psalms 137 verse7, 3 thousand years before the 6 day war. Where does the name Yerushalayim come from? The answer is given by Tosfot in Tractate Taanit, 16 who state that the name Yerushalayim is a combination of two words, one uttered by Avraham at the Akeda (Bereshis 22), "Har Hashem Yeiraeh", which means "The mountain where G-d...
Published: May 3, 2017
 Kosher-You Are What You Eat  .: Viewed: 186 times :.
The Torah only allows us to eat animals that have split hooves and also chew the cud. Animals that chew the cud but do not have split hooves or vice versa may not be eaten. What is the relevance of these physical signs to the issue of eating the animal that has or doesn't have these signs? Are these just CHUKIM (statutes) from G-D which we must obey without understanding the reason? The...
Published: April 20, 2017
 The Awesome Power of Speech  .: Viewed: 198 times :.
Parashat Tazria tells us about the laws of TZARAT. TZARAT was a miraculous illness that was inflicted upon a person who spoke Lashon Hara about a fellow Jew. Anyone diagnosed with Tzara'at was sent outside the camp or city to live a solitary existence. Tzara'at is comparable to leprosy, although in certain ways it was very different. When a person speaks derogatorily about a fellow Jew,...
Published: April 20, 2017
 Eliyahu HaNavi-A Peace Activist?   .: Viewed: 201 times :.
In the special Haftorah for Shabbat HaGadol, we are told, that Eliyahu's task is to "turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents" (Malachi 3). Rashi explains that the "parents" in this verse refers to G-D, and the "children" to the Jewish People. Eliyahu is appointed to restore our relationship with G-D. He will be the ultimate outreach...
Published: March 28, 2017
 The Mishkan for today's world  .: Viewed: 293 times :.
The main function of the Mishkan (the portable Tabernacle we used in the desert) was to offer up animal sacrifices to Hashem. For many people, it is easier to relate to the narrative portions of the Torah and Mitzvot (the commandments) that apply in our day than to those dealing with the Temple sacrifices. The last sacrifices were offered in 68CE, before the Second Temple was destroyed. So why...
Published: March 21, 2017
 Shabbat's Link to the Mishkan  .: Viewed: 211 times :.
Why is the construction of the Mishkan juxtaposed with Shabbat (Shemot 35)? When G-D created the world He unleashed His unlimited power to create all forms of existence-inanimate, vegetable, animal, and human beings. G-D however, purposefully performed His task in an incomplete manner. The last word of the story of creation is LA'ASOT (to do) (Bereshit 2). By using this word, G-D asks...
Published: March 17, 2017
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