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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 Is it Halachically Okay to Question G-d?  .: Viewed: 1228 times :.
Last week the OU Israel Center showed a thought provoking and disturbing film called “G-d On Trial”. The film is about Jews in Auschwitz who hold a “trial” accusing G-d for allowing the Holocaust. But over 3,300 years ago, the greatest of all prophets, Moshe Rabbeinu, also accuses and questions G-d. "Why G-D, have You brought evil on this people? Is this why You sent...
Published: December 27, 2018
 Yosef’s Brothers and the Blood Libel  .: Viewed: 347 times :.
We Jews have been accused of various heinous crimes throughout our long and tragic history. Perhaps, the most devastating accusation we have faced is the Blood Libel - murdering Christian children and then using their blood for baking Matzoh on Pesach. Of course, this vile accusation is absolutely ludicrous and false. The Torah warns us numerous times never to taste any blood. We are...
Published: December 20, 2018
 How to Deal with the Terror Tunnels  .: Viewed: 377 times :.
King David tells us in Tehillim 100, “to serve G-d with joy”. The Mishna in Avot 1 tells us that we should “greet and welcome everyone with a joyful countenance”. Avot D’Rabbi Natan 13 states that a happy and pleasant facial expression is considered equal to giving a person the most treasured gift in the world. I just returned from a mini Chanukah vacation in...
Published: December 13, 2018
 Chanukah - 8 Days a Week  .: Viewed: 309 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: 423 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: 372 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: 345 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: 403 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: 409 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: 448 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: 388 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: 431 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: 370 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: 417 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: 464 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
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