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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 Arab Terror: Birth Pangs of Mashiach  .: Viewed: 2270 times :.
The Talmud Sanhedrin states that before the arrival of Mashiach, we will experience a period of pain and suffering called the CHEVLEI Mashiach. Literally, this means the birth pangs of Mashiach. It is an interesting choice of words. We understand that the prelude to Mashiach will be painful, a time of war and world wide terrorism, but why the metaphor of birth pangs?   On a simple...
Published: April 10, 2016
 Are the Dead Aware of the Living?  .: Viewed: 4144 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
 Are the Deceased Aware of Us?  .: Viewed: 2577 times :.
Are the Deceased Aware of Us? In memory of my student Karen Yemima bat Avraham V'Sarah, murdered by an Arab Terrorist ×”×™"ד 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...
Published: November 12, 2014
 Astrology & Judaism  .: Viewed: 4274 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
 Avraham's Eshel Tree  .: Viewed: 3873 times :.
The Torah informs us in Bereshit (21:33), "And he (Avraham) planted an Eshel tree in Beer Sheva, and there he proclaimed the Name of Hashem, G-d of the Universe." Why does the Torah have to tell us about Avraham's planting of a tree? The Torah is not ancient history, but G-d's authorized manual for our daily lives. Moreover, how is "proclaiming the Name of Hashem, G-d of the Universe" related...
Published: October 29, 2014
 Avraham's Legacy: Escorting Guests?  .: Viewed: 3067 times :.
"Avraham walked with them to escort them" (Genesis 18:16) The Rambam writes ( Hilchos Aveil 14:1), "There is a mitzvah enacted by the Sages to visit the sick, to comfort the bereaved, to conduct a funeral for the dead, to marry off a bride and to escort guests as they are leaving." The Rambam gives us a short list of five mitzvos that we are required to do for other people. If you would...
Published: May 24, 2011
 Avraham’s Addition  .: Viewed: 1421 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
 Baruch Hashem! - Does G-d Need Our Blessing?  .: Viewed: 2616 times :.
What is so important about declaring, "Boruch Hashem"? The Rambam writes that public prayer begins with the Chazan saying Kaddish and Borchu (Hilchot Tefillah 9). If you think about it, "Borchu et Hashem" is a summons by the Chazan for the congregation to say "Boruch Hashem". The Rishonim explain that the Chazan adds "Hamevorach…" so as to include himself in the declaration that G-d is...
Published: March 18, 2015
 Being A Square!  .: Viewed: 2036 times :.
The Torah states, "You should make the ALTAR of Shittim wood…..the ALTAR shall be square" (Shemot 27). There was a slang expression in the U.S.A. in the 1960s for someone who was quiet, reserved, and shy. That person would be referred to as a square. The Mishkan Altar was to be perfectly square shaped. What special significant is there in the fact that the architectural design of the...
Published: February 6, 2016
 BIKUR CHOLIM - A Real Life-Saver  .: Viewed: 1472 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
 Bilam: Have Curse, Will Travel!  .: Viewed: 1878 times :.
Balak, King of Moav, called on Bilam to curse the Nation of Israel. Bilam responded that he must wait for G-d’s instructions. After Bilam was told by G-d not to curse Israel, “For it is blessed”, Bilam says (Bamidbar 23:8) “How can I curse whom G-d has not cursed”, and thereby got Balak very angry. It seems that Bilam realized that cursing has no real physical...
Published: July 7, 2016
 Bilam’s Blessing - CARPE DIEM  .: Viewed: 1398 times :.
Some of the most beautiful blessings that we receive in the Torah, are stated by the infamous and evil Bilam. For instance, “Behold, the Jewish People will arise like a mighty lion…” (Bamidbar 23:24) Rashi comments on this verse that Israel strengthens themselves like a ferocious lion to seize the Mitzvot. Rashi explains that when we awake from our sleep in the early...
Published: July 5, 2019
 Brit Mila-Our Deeds Better Than G-D's?  .: Viewed: 2222 times :.
The Roman governor Turnus Rufus asked Rabbi Akiva, "Whose deeds are better- G-D's or human being's?" Rabbi Akiva replied, "A human being's deeds are better!" Turnus Rufus then asked him, "Why are you circumcised?" Rabbi Akiva replied by bringing Turnus Rufus bundles of raw wheat and fresh baked hot rolls from Angel's Bakery. Rabbi Akiva then said to him, "Which are tastier-G-D's raw wheat or...
Published: March 31, 2016
 Can Evolution and the Torah's Account of Creation Coexist?  .: Viewed: 3149 times :.
There are remarkable similarities between the account of the creation as given in Breishit and the theory of evolution. First, light was created, then the firmament, followed by sea, land and vegetation. The creation of the heavenly bodies was followed by fish and birds, and then by land animals. Only finally, as the culmination of G-d's work, was man created. Indeed, the Torah's description...
Published: May 24, 2011
 Can Man Bless G-d?  .: Viewed: 1528 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
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