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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 The Sin of the Spies: Defeatism and Despair  .: Viewed: 1131 times :.
The covenant between the Land and People of Israel began the moment G-d told Abraham, “Go forth from your land…to the land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1).  From the very start, the relationship between these two was full of hardship because Eretz Yisrael is acquired through suffering (Talmud Berachot).  Before Abraham had succeeded in setting down permanent roots in...
Published: June 12, 2011
 Flags of our Fathers  .: Viewed: 1485 times :.
Throughout their travels in the desert, the Israelites were commanded to set up their tents around tribal flags: "The Israelites shall encamp with each person near the banner carrying his paternal family's insignia. They shall encamp at a distance around the Ohel Moed (Bamidbar 2:2). What is the significance of these banners? The Midrash (Bamidbar Rabba 2:3) says that the inspiration for the...
Published: June 1, 2011
 Is There Conflict Between Evolution And Judaism?  .: Viewed: 1316 times :.
The Torah and science are completely compatible. Judaism insists that this world is not the result of an accident or blind chance but the result of a purposeful Act of Creation. Once the principle of Divine Creation is accepted Judaism allows much latitude in belief as to how the creation was effected.   There is no religious objection to the acceptance of the Theory of Evolution provided it...
Published: October 17, 2007
 Yom Kippur's Mystical Challenge  .: Viewed: 1329 times :.
The common perception of Yom Kippur is the ultimate "Don't - Can't" experience.  Don't eatDon't drinkCan't even wash your face. For most people, Yom Kippur is an ordeal that we have to get through, an exercise in self-denial that is even more constricting than Shabbat.   The long synagogue service and repeated emphasis on guilt and sin turn Yom Kippur into a day of awe and anxiety despair...
Published: September 19, 2007
 Mystical Message Of Sacrifices  .: Viewed: 1130 times :.
The question of animal sacrifices during Temple times is something that can be difficult for us to understand today. According to Ramban (Nachmanides) the primary purpose of the sacrifice was that by being involved in the slaughter of an animal, the sinner bringing it would experience death vicariously. When the Kohen (priest) slaughtered the animal and burned it on the Altar, the aim was that...
Published: April 2, 2007
 The Agony Of Agunot  .: Viewed: 1329 times :.
"Kotzo Shel Yod" ("The Point on Top of the Yod"), the 1887 poem by Judah Leib Gordon, includes a description of the cruel harassment by rabbis of an unfortunate agunah (literally, a "chained woman," whose husband deserts her or disappears without divorcing her, thus preventing her from remarrying).   The description is vitriolic, wicked, dishonest, and disgraceful, in the spirit of the poets...
Published: December 27, 2006
 Rosh Hashanah's Mysterious Cover-Up  .: Viewed: 1441 times :.
Why is it that we Jews celebrate the New Year at the beginning of the seventh month? Jewish tradition actually recognizes four New Year days (Mishnah Rosh Hashanah 1:1), but only the first of Tishrei, the one we know as Rosh Hashanah, is a major holiday.   The mystery only increases when we remember that the Torah specifically identifies the month of Nisan, the month in which Passover falls,...
Published: September 20, 2006
 Rosh Chodesh: The Gift Of Renewal  .: Viewed: 1189 times :.
The Zohar, in explaining the importance of the new moon and our celebration of its renewal each month, states: "The Jewish nation is compared to the moon. Just as the moon wanes and seems to disappear into darkness only to be reborn, so too the Jewish people often appear to be overwhelmed by the forces of darkness, only to reemerge as a nation reborn." The main religious teaching of Rosh...
Published: March 1, 2006
 The Menorah's Eternal Message  .: Viewed: 1247 times :.
What is the Chanukak menorah's message for us in our personal lives? The Mishna (Avot Ch. 4) teaches, "There are three crowns: The crown of Torah, the crown of kehuna (priesthood) and the crown of monarchy." Corresponding to these three, with which Israel were crowned, there were three crowns on the Temple vessels. The crown of Torah corresponds to the gold crown, which was set on the Ark of...
Published: December 21, 2005
 The Kabbalistic Secret Of Sefiras Ha-Omer  .: Viewed: 1313 times :.
When did Judaism begin? The beginning was in two stages: A) the Exodus from Egypt - 'Yetzias Mitzraim', for which we celebrate Pesach; followed 50 days later by B) the Giving of the Torah - Matan Torah (Revelation at Sinai), for which we celebrate 'Shevuos'; together forming the foundation and establishment of the Jewish people as a nation (see Ex. 19:56; Deut. 26:16-19). This was best...
Published: May 11, 2005
 Our Mystical Connection To Eretz Yisrael  .: Viewed: 2787 times :.
The Jewish people's connection with its land cannot be compared to that of other peoples' with theirs. No other people has a prior title deed or promise regarding their country. Theirs is a purely earthly link, one characterized by neither spiritual nor sacred ties. Their relationship to their homeland is governed by the fact that their ancestors happened to settle there. Whenever a people or...
Published: August 4, 2004
 Kabbalistic Secrets Of The Korban Pesach  .: Viewed: 1211 times :.
In several places, our Sages view the Korban Pesach (Paschal sacrifice) as serving to break the ties of idolatry. We read in Shemos Rabbah (16): "We find that when the Jewish people were in Egypt, they worshiped idols, as it is written (Ezekiel 20:8), "They did not cast away the abominations of their eyes." Hashem told Moshe, "As long as the Jewish people worship the gods of Egypt, they shall...
Published: May 9, 2003
 Does The Halacha Permit Us To Ascend The Temple Mount  .: Viewed: 2240 times :.
Does Jewish law permit us to ascend the Temple Mount today?  This may seem only like a halachic question, but it has far reaching political consequences as well. Shortly after the Six Day War in June 1967, the Chief Rabbinate posted a large sign at the entrance to the Temple Mount stating that it is forbidden to enter the Temple Mount according to halacha.  This prohibition was reiterated...
Published: August 29, 2007
 Israel's Eternal Bond to Jerusalem  .: Viewed: 1189 times :.
As we celebrate Jerusalem Day, we are acutely aware that Jerusalem is the center of a heated and explosive political dispute concerning its future. Unfortunately, that dispute encouraged by President Obama's anti-Israel policy, has resulted in accusations that Jerusalem and especially the Temple Mount are not really central to Judaism. The Arabs even claim that there never was a Jewish Temple...
Published: May 24, 2011
 A Childs' First Torah Lesson: Korbonot?  .: Viewed: 1589 times :.
For centuries,(even TODAY in Chassidic Yeshiva Chedar), Jewish children traditionally began their Torah studies with Parshat Yayikrah. It seems odd that a child's entry into the world of Torah should begin with a study of the sacrifices offered to G-d. Why should it not begin with the narrative of Creation in the Book of Genesis or the narrative of Israel 's liberation from bondage in Egypt in...
Published: May 24, 2011
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