The Ten Commandments appear on two tablets. The first tablet begins with a mitzvah of the mind (acknowledgement of G-d’s existence) and ends with a mitzvah of action (honoring one’s parents). The second tablet begins with a mitzvah of action (don’t kill) and end with a mitzvah of the mind (don’t covet). Why?
Wednesday, January 31, 2024
“In education, you always go min hakal l’hacaveid. You have to learn the easy things, then you go to the more difficult things. You can’t jump into Gemara without knowing Chumash. You got to be marbeh sidra every week. It’s a must. You should be marbeh sidra a couple of years in a row with Rashi until you know all the Rashis. Rashi on Chumash introduces us all to the world of Torah shel baal peh. Unbelievable. Rashi did a fantastic job. He introduced us to the whole world of Torah shel baal peh. And then you have to learn the rest of Tanach. Believe it or not, studying nevi’im and kesuivm is also part of Talmud Torah…. (38:17) Learning always has to be min hakal l’hacaveid. You can’t jump into the most complicated topic without being prepared. Rabbi Soloveitchik, who was one of the biggest maggidei shiur of many centuries, his style would always be like this: He used to say, every page of the Gemara has a machloches. Whenever there’s a machloches, you’ll see from the Gemara that there are a hundred points that they agreed upon. They disagree on one point. So let’s first discuss the hundred things that they agree upon and after we have a picture of what they agree upon then we’ll be able to understand [on] what they disagree. It always worked. He’d always give a background. He’d say, what does the posuk in Chumash [say]? How does the peshuto shel mikra go? What’s the additional level of interpretation that the Torah shel baal peh has? When does it apply, when doesn’t it apply. What does Rav Meir say. What does Rav Yehuda say. And then there’s one little point, one little point where they have a machloches. If you know what the background is, then you’ll understand better what the machloches is. You can’t philosophize. You can’t take a machloches in the Gemara and give a whole philosophy. You have to know what’s the background. You have to know the whole mesichta. In some yeshivas, they spend the whole year learning the first five blatt of the mesichta and they think that they know the whole mesichta. You have to know what it says on daf yod, and daf chof, and daf lamed, you have to know the whole mesichta. You can’t make a chakira before you know all the rest of the Gemara. You have to know what are the given facts. After you know what the given facts are then you have to develop a derech. A derech means you have a jungle with a thousand and one dinim. You have to figure out the derech which dinim are connected and which dinim are not connected."
Rav Hershel Schachter- Lev HaTorah 5784 - YouTube 33:10
Tuesday, January 9, 2024
Tuesday, January 2, 2024
Monday, January 1, 2024
"Escape came eventually in 1911 when Hertz was called to the Rabbinate of Congregation Orach Chayim on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Orach Chayim was a congregation of German Jews who advocated Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch’s ideology of Torah im derekh erets. They combined secular education and interests with strict observance, like Hirsch’s own congregation in Frankfurt. Hertz was delighted to serve a community that lived out his own ideals. In his inaugural sermon he lauded their piety and told them they were “men and women with convictions and not merely opinions…brooking no disharmony between your religious profession and your religious practice.” He celebrated their wider culture, based on the realization that “the spiritual quarantine forced upon us throughout the Middle Ages can no longer be maintained.” He also hit upon a powerful metaphor. He recalled the tempting call of the Sirens in Homer’s Odyssey (hinting toward his broad education). In the story, Odysseus has himself lashed to the mast so he can hear the song without being led astray, while his sailors stop up their ears with cheese. Hertz regarded both of these solutions as insufficient in twentieth-century America, when the Sirens were other faiths and ideologies. He argued that the song could not be blocked out, nor could anyone be tied down. Instead, there had to be an alternative, stronger call: “We must fill the hearts of our children with the melody of the Shema and all it connotes…and then we need dread no sirens.” "