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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 Was Joseph Punished for Embalming Yakov's Body?  .: Viewed: 9645 times :.
(Gen.50:2) "And Joseph commanded the physicians to embalm his father." Rabbi Meir Leibush ("the Malbim" 1809-1879) cannot comprehend Joseph's command that his father's body be embalmed, and declares that, "the purpose of the burial ceremony is to enable the dead person's body to turn to dust." Jewish burial rites reflect the immense difference between the body and the soul. Ecclesiastes...
Published: May 24, 2011
 Sefirat Ha'Omer: How to Make Each Day Count!  .: Viewed: 5256 times :.
Rabbi S.R. Hirsch explains that Sefirat Ha'Omer connects חרות הגוף of פסח with חרות הנפש of Shavuot. To be physically free and not to know what to do with one's life is not true freedom. One is still a slave to his יצר הרע . That is why...
Published: May 24, 2011
 Did G-d Have A "Need" To Create The World ?  .: Viewed: 4741 times :.
Throughout the act of Creation, after each major step such as the creation of light, water and vegetation, the Torah tells us that va-yar Elohim ki tov , "and G-d saw that it was good." Taken literally, these passages strike us as grossly anthropomorphic, as if the Creator of the universe is a Cosmic Artist who, after every significant addition to His composition, steps back to admire His...
Published: October 10, 2012
 Escorting Guests: A Greater Mitzvah than a Sumptuous Meal  .: Viewed: 4049 times :.
The Talmud states (Shabbos 127a) that receiving and hosting guests is greater than greeting G-d. We learn this from Genesis 18:3, “Avraham said, ‘My L-rd, if I have found favor in Your eyes, please do not leave your servant’.” Avraham asked G-d to wait while he attends to his guests.   The Mitzvah of Hachnosas Orchim (receiving and hosting guests) consists of three...
Published: November 1, 2011
 Rosh Hashana's Paradox: On Trial Or On Parade?  .: Viewed: 3544 times :.
In the Torah, Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year is called yom trua (a day of blowing the trumpets; Numbers 29:1). Although trumpets are generally sounded on joyous occasions, here the trumpet or, more specifically the shofar (ram's horn) signifies a solemn holiday, when we are all put on trial, we all stand before the supreme Judge, G-d. This trial continues for 10 days until Yom Kippur...
Published: August 26, 2012
 Esther's Debate with the Rabbis  .: Viewed: 3396 times :.
When Esther sent the sages her request, "Write my story for future generations" (Megilla 6a), they responded, "You are arousing jealousy between us and the nations". Seemingly, their response is puzzling. Since when do we censor Scripture because of what the nations will say ? The Rambam in Igeret Teiman asks a similar question: "What nation is so great that they have such righteous rules...
Published: May 24, 2011
 Life after Life  .: Viewed: 3283 times :.
"And when Jacob made an end of charging his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and expired, and was gathered unto his people" (Genesis 49:33). Death in the Bible is described as "the way of all the earth." (Joshua 23:14; I Kings 2:2). If a person knows when he is about to die he can set his affairs in order, bid farewell to his dear ones, and make peace with God. In the Jewish...
Published: May 24, 2011
 Our Mystical Connection To Eretz Yisrael  .: Viewed: 3132 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
 Wine in Judaism : Tikun For The Sin Of Adam & Noach  .: Viewed: 2918 times :.
Why is wine so essential to Judaism? All of our sacred occasions are accompanied by the drinking of wine. To find the answer we must look into the Talmud. The Talmud discusses the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, wondering what type of fruit it was (B. Berachot 40a; B. Sanhedrin 70 a-b). Three opinions are presented. According to one opinion, the forbidden fruit was wheat. This...
Published: October 15, 2012
 Are the Dead Aware of the Living?  .: Viewed: 2786 times :.
In memory of my student Baruch Naim ז " ל When we visit a cemetery or remember a loved one on a Yahrzeit, we may find ourselves wondering whether the deceased are aware of us. Do they know what we are thinking about, what we are feeling? Do they empathize with our travails? Do they see our actions? Our Talmudic sages are divided over the question: What do the dead...
Published: May 24, 2011
 Astrology & Judaism  .: Viewed: 2704 times :.
In Judaism, different attitudes have been expressed towards astrology. Most Talmudic sages believed in the decisive role played by celestial bodies in determining human affairs. It was possible, they thought, for astrologers to predict the future by consulting the stars but also for them to err in understanding the contents of their forecasts. According to the Talmud, everyone has a particular...
Published: May 24, 2011
 Does The Halacha Permit Us To Ascend The Temple Mount  .: Viewed: 2690 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
 A Modern Day Amalek?  .: Viewed: 2637 times :.
Over 9000 rockets and mortar shells have been fired at Israel since the Gaza withdrawl and the expulsion of almost 10,000 Jews from their homes in Gush Katif in the summer of 2005. The sporadic rocket fire continues until today. Why does Hamas reject any peace with Israel or even the existence of Israel itself?   There are the public proclamations by Hamas for the destruction of Israel and...
Published: February 8, 2012
 Esther: A Tikkun for Yosef and His Brothers!  .: Viewed: 2603 times :.
After Esther, a descendant of Binyamin, the son of Rochel Imenu, had saved herself and her family from Haman's decree of extermination, she returned to Achashveros, to plead that all of the Jews (Yehudim) be saved and protected from Haman's evil decree. While at this point in the Megillah (Ch. 8) Esther and her Binayminite clan are safe, she nevertheless risked her life again for the sake of...
Published: February 25, 2014
 Yona's Sailors Dilemma: Kill One to Save Many?  .: Viewed: 2549 times :.
Was throwing Yona into the sea to save the sailors on the boat in accordance with Halachah or not? Sanhedrin 74b teaches: Regarding any of the sins in the Torah, if a person is told "Violate it and you will not be killed, " he should violate it. The only exceptions are idolatry, sexual sin and murder…And how do we know that this applies to murder? It stands to reason… Can one...
Published: September 4, 2011
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