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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 Chanukah - 8 Days a Week  .: Viewed: 192 times :.
The Beatles had a number 1 hit song called 8 Days a Week. Were they singing about Chanukah? 2,182 years ago the Greeks had outlawed Torah observance among the Jewish People in Israel. They made it a capital punishment to observe the three Mitzvot of Shabbat, Milah and Nidah, which happens to be an acronym of SHEMEN (oil) (שמן). Parshat Vayeishev always falls out around Chanukah time. Thus...
Published: November 29, 2018
 Yakov’s Weird Wedding  .: Viewed: 282 times :.
The father of the first Jewish family, Yakov, was the victim of a last minute switch on his wedding night. His father-in-law, Lavan, substituted Leah, the older of his two daughters, for Rachel, the one whom Yakov loved and worked for. Yakov discovered the deception only after he had consummated the marriage with Leah. Yakov, choosing to accept his Mazal (fate), remained with Leah and later...
Published: November 7, 2018
 BIKUR CHOLIM - A Real Life-Saver  .: Viewed: 248 times :.
We learn the mitzvah of BIKUR CHOLIM from G-d’s visit to Avraham after his illness from his Brit Mila. Thus, the Sefer Mitzvot Katan 47 counts BIKUR CHOLIM as one of the 613 Mitzvot, citing the verse “You shall walk in HIS ways.” (Devarim 28:9) However, Rambam in Hilchot Evel 14 states that all specific acts of CHESED, such as comforting mourners, BIKUR CHOLIM and hosting...
Published: October 31, 2018
 Avraham’s Addition  .: Viewed: 220 times :.
“And Avraham ADDED, and took a wife whose name was Ketura”. (Bereshit 25:1) The word VAYOSEF – ADDED in this verse seems to be extra. To what did Avraham ADD by marrying Ketura? To answer this question, Rav Feinstein asks another question. When Avraham married Ketura he was already 140 years old. The Talmud in Basa Basra 17 states that Avraham experienced the pleasures of...
Published: October 30, 2018
 Prayer - A Daily Conversation With G-d  .: Viewed: 270 times :.
The Talmud (Berachot 26b) says, "Tefilot Avot Tiknum" – "Prayer was established by the Avot". The Talmud then uses the following verse (Bereshit 19:27) to prove how Avraham established Prayer: "And Avraham got up early in the morning to the place where he had stood before G-d". The connection here is in the word "AMAD" – "Stood" and its association with the Amida Prayer....
Published: October 18, 2018
 Can Man Bless G-d?  .: Viewed: 274 times :.
“And Malchizedek blessed Avram, and said, ‘Blessed be Avram to the Most High G-d…and blessed be the Most High G-d’”. (Bereshit 14:19,20) Malchizedek first blesses Avram, and then blesses G-d. Shouldn’t the order have been reversed? First he should have blessed G-d and then he should have blessed Avram. To answer this question, Rav Soloveitchik asks...
Published: October 10, 2018
 Doing a Mitzvah at the Zoo  .: Viewed: 328 times :.
When I study Parshat Noach, I try to imagine all of the exotic creatures that G-d created. Therefore, some of my students and I visited the wonderful and exotic Ramat Gan Safari Zoo. Can one do a Mitzvah at the zoo? A visit to the zoo is a chance to experience the wonders of G-d's creation and acknowledge that opportunity with the appropriate blessing. The Mishnah in Avot 2 states, "Let all...
Published: October 4, 2018
 Adam’s PSALM for Shabbat  .: Viewed: 253 times :.
The Talmud (Shabbat 154) states, "Torah scholars grow wiser as they grow older, but boors become more foolish as they age." We all see the same world, but how we interpret the events that we see varies greatly. King Solomon says (Mishlei 2:14), "The eyes of a wise person are in his head." How shall this verse be understood? Aren't everyone's eyes in one's head? The explanation is that the...
Published: September 16, 2018
 SUKKOT - When the Sages Became Entertainers  .: Viewed: 296 times :.
All the festivals are times of rejoicing, but only Sukkot is called ZMAN SIMCHATEINU (season of our joy). While today we immediately think of Simchat Torah when it comes to joy, the Mishna (Sukkah 5:1) tells us about a ceremony held on Sukkot that “he who has not seen the rejoicing at the place of the water-drawing has never in his life seen true rejoicing.” Something about this...
Published: September 5, 2018
 Yom Kippur - G-d’s Debate with Israel  .: Viewed: 249 times :.
The Mishna in Yoma 8 states, "Sins that are between a person and his fellow Jew are NOT atoned for on Yom Kippur." One cannot offend and harm another person and ask for forgiveness from G-d. Forgiveness must be asked and can only come from the person that we hurt, and only he can pardon us. Thus, on the morning of Yom Kippur we read the amazing words of the prophet, Yeshayahu, (Ch.58) where...
Published: August 31, 2018
 The Last of the 613 - Write G-d’s Love Song  .: Viewed: 303 times :.
The last of the 613 Mitzvot is, “And now, write for yourselves this song, teach it to the Children of Israel. Place it into their mouths”…(Devarim 31:19). According to Sanhedrin 21b this verse teaches that it is a Mitzva for every Jewish Person to write a Sefer Torah for himself. Why is the Torah referred to by the unusual term “song”? There is no other Mitzva...
Published: August 29, 2018
 T’SHUVA - Going BACK to the Future  .: Viewed: 343 times :.
There was a cute movie in 1985 with the Jewish actor Michael J. Fox called “Back to the Future”. This is exactly what the T’shuva process is all about. Through T’shuva we can reset the clock by actually changing our sinful past. The Rambam states that T’shuva consists of a 4 step process where we have the awesome opportunity to erase our sins and wipe away the...
Published: August 15, 2018
 To Know HIM is to Love HIM  .: Viewed: 290 times :.
There was a number one hit song in 1958 called “To know HIM is to love HIM, and I do!” Was this song about G-d? Because the Shema Yisrael, which we recite twice a day states “You shall love Hashem your G-d with all your heart and soul.” (Devarim 6:5) This verse that commands us to love G-d raises a complicated question. Is it possible to command someone to love...
Published: August 7, 2018
 It’s NOW or Never!  .: Viewed: 237 times :.
“And NOW Israel, what does Hashem your G-d, ask of you? Only that you fear Hashem your G-d.” (Devarim 10:12) The Midrash Bereshit Rabba 21 comments that the word NOW is a reference to Teshuvah. In what aspect does the word NOW denote the concept of Teshuvah? My Rebbe, Rav Pam ZT”L explains that contemplating how quickly time and life pass us by is the most powerful motive...
Published: August 7, 2018
 How Teshuva Re-JEW-vinates us  .: Viewed: 345 times :.
According to my Great-Great-Grandfather, Bnei Yisocher, the month before ELUL is called AV, because AV is the acronym for ELUL BA, which means, ready or not, ELUL is coming! Therefore, in this month of AV we already must begin to focus on the Teshuvah Process. So here goes. The Zohar explains that the word TESHUVA is a compound of the words, TASHUV HEI, "returning the HEI". The HEI that the...
Published: July 18, 2018
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