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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 Can You Take It With You?  .: Viewed: 324 times :.
Is there a way to take it with you? Jack Benny famously said, “If I can’t take it with me, I’m not going.” But as we all know, he went anyway. The Torah states in Parshat Terumah, “Speak to the children of Israel and have them TAKE to Me a contribution.” (Shemot 25:2) Why does the verse state “TAKE to Me” rather than “Give to...
Published: January 30, 2019
 STEP - BY - STEP  .: Viewed: 335 times :.
“You shall not ascend My Alter on steps.” (Shemot 20:23) Why does the Torah prohibit climbing up to the Alter on steps? Rashi explains that the Torah commands here to build a ramp for the Alter and the ramp must be smooth and inclining without steps. Had there been steps leading up to the Alter, the Kohen would have to raise his legs as he mounted the steps. This would be a...
Published: January 23, 2019
 Why Name Parshat Matan Torah after a GER?  .: Viewed: 356 times :.
Yitro, Moshe's father-in-law, is the name of the Parsha in which we read the account of the most important event in Jewish and World history, the Giving of the Torah. It is remarkable that this Parsha has as its title, the name of someone who was not even born a Jew. Yitro was a pagan idol worshipper, but only later in life abandoned his paganism and recognized the One True G-d. Why was...
Published: January 18, 2019
 The CURE For Election Fever  .: Viewed: 341 times :.
Many people in Israel are now afflicted with Election Fever. This "malady" causes politicians from different political parties to verbally abuse, shame and attack each other. This is classic Lashon Hara V' Sinat Chinom.(Baseless hatred.) How can we who support different political parties avoid falling into this vicious cycle? The Chofetz Chaim offers a profound explanation of the root of...
Published: January 10, 2019
 Time - Life’s Most Precious Gift  .: Viewed: 356 times :.
“This month shall be for you the beginning of all the months.” (Shemot 12:2) This verse contains the very first Mitzva that Klal Yisrael received as we were about to become a free and independent nation, right before the Exodus from Egypt. Seforno explains that this Mitzva of Rosh Chodesh was presented first because its essence – that we Jews are masters over our time...
Published: January 3, 2019
 Is it Halachically Okay to Question G-d?  .: Viewed: 1327 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: 384 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: 410 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: 338 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: 465 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: 407 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: 370 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: 442 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: 449 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: 476 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
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