Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Hirsch

A Tale of Two Adars

An article in time for Rosh Chodesh Adar Bet, the second of the two consecutive months of Adar in this Jewish leap year., 3/3/2011, 9:51 AM

Parshat Bo: First Things First

In this week's Torah reading, a new order is set as G-d says: You, Israel, are my heirs, and I now I bequeath to you the stage of history., 1/7/2011, 1:25 AM

Vayeshev: A Settler's Chanukah

A Torah essay on this week's reading whose lesson should cause Rabbi Chaim Amsallem of Shas to take heart in knowing that the Torah actually backs him, and not his Hareidi detractors., 11/25/2010, 1:36 PM

Sukkot, Water, and Breishit

Sukkot is all Nature: harvest-season, etrog-citron, palm-leaves and branches. During Sukkot, we instill the "Elyon", the Almighty who is Above and who created the world, into Nature., 9/28/2010, 6:59 PM

Ki Tetze: All-Out War

This Elul, let's use this week's Torah reading of Ki Tetse (When You Go Out to War) to get 'out of the box' and truly repent. , 8/19/2010, 7:36 AM

The Three Weeks

The theme of the three week mourning is the loss of Jewish sovereignty over the Land of Israel, today as then, not ony the Holy Temple. This was translated and adapted from a shiur given by Rav Chaim Drukman Shlita., 7/13/2010, 10:25 AM

Spies Who Came Out of the Blue

This week's Torah reading tells of the spies who maligned the Land of Israel. The writer shows the deeper meaning of this episode, connecting it to the commandment of fringed garments at the end of the reading., 6/3/2010, 6:38 AM

All Have a Role in Redemption

Thoughts for Israel's Independence Day. The writer requested that this be in memory of Rabbi Dr. Benzion Allswang, "a great chavrusa and true friend" who passed away last week. , 4/19/2010, 10:26 AM

Department of Paschal-ar Surgery

Israel is separated from the other nations by G-d during the period of the Redemption from Egypt., 4/1/2010, 7:33 PM

Goldstone and the Gur Aryeh

Goldstone is no Yitro and Barak and Bibi Netanyahu are not Moses. The Egyptians in the Book of Exodus do have a counterpart today., 2/4/2010, 1:15 PM

Chanukah: Imagination

Imprisoned by our imagination., 12/16/2009, 11:57 PM

Vayera: Laughter and Deen

Both, of course, intersect in Yitzchak., 11/6/2009, 12:27 AM

Tisha B'Av and Tunnel Vision

The "prat" is still exiled from the "klal"., 7/29/2009, 11:03 AM

Balak: Dunno' Much About History

A primer on Jewish history in this week's parsha., 7/2/2009, 1:47 AM

Jerusalem: Kodesh Kodashim

We should remember the Holy of Holies - Jerusalem., 5/20/2009, 11:23 AM

From Anopheles to Annapolis

"What do you mean there is no kedushah?", 4/27/2009, 1:19 AM

Mishpatim: Statutory Chesed

Taking the law into one's own hands., 2/20/2009, 2:26 AM

Imagining Chanukah

Imagination vs. intellect in the Chanukah lights., 12/21/2008, 11:53 AM

Gan Eden: Adam Names Names

Names, in the Hebrew language, reflect reality., 10/24/2008, 12:08 AM

Ki Tavo: Be Happy

The essence of Bikkurim., 9/19/2008, 1:35 AM

The Eye of Giants

Speaking of things unseen., 8/8/2008, 3:59 AM

Cheesecake: King of Foods

The holiday of King David and cheesecake., 6/8/2008, 2:40 PM

Iyar: Chodesh Tov

Some times are important on their own., 5/5/2008, 2:46 AM

Nissan and Aseret Yemei T'shuvah

Days of t'shuvah via love of God., 4/7/2008, 10:06 AM

Purim: <I>Asher Yishl'tu HaYehudim</I>

A central theme in the Megillah., 3/20/2008, 1:28 PM

Sherut Leumi

The importance of volunteerism in Judaism., 3/9/2008, 1:15 PM

<i>Mishpatim</i>: Listen Up!

Hearing is central to this story., 2/1/2008, 2:00 AM

<I>Bo</I>: Moses and the Human Genome Project

Man is sui generis, a totally separate species., 1/9/2008, 6:37 PM

Chanukah: And Thrice Again

Three views of interaction with the world., 12/6/2007, 12:44 PM

<i>Toldot</i> and Chronic Jewish Fatigue Syndrome

Its sufferers are "cholei nefesh.", 11/8/2007, 3:28 PM

The Mashiach and Rabbi Avraham Elkana Shapira

When you greet the Mashiach, remember this name..., 10/2/2007, 6:54 AM

<I>Nitzavim-Vayelech</I>: Follow the Leader

These two parshiot complement and contrast., 9/6/2007, 3:55 PM

<i>Ki Tavo</I>: Reversal of Fortune

Turning evil into good., 8/29/2007, 1:19 PM

<i>Re'eh</I>: The Meating Place

Jews have always had their own cookbooks., 8/9/2007, 7:52 PM

<i>Shelach</I>: Spy News

The illustrative story of the evil of Lashon Hara., 6/7/2007, 6:08 PM

<I>Yom Ha'atzmaut: Shehechiyanu....</I>

Who with a heart cannot feel moved enough?, 4/23/2007, 2:55 PM

<I>Vayak'hel-Pekudei</I>: Triumph Over the Dark Side

Shabbat and Mishkan as an arsenal against evil. , 3/16/2007, 12:50 AM

<I>Terumah</I>: The Lost Ark?

A hidden Ark awaits the Third Temple. , 2/23/2007, 12:48 AM

<I>Yitro</I>: Going the Distance

Twice, God tells Moshe <I>Rabbeinu</I> to warn the people not to come close to Mt. Sinai. In fact, Rashi comments that Moshe is puzzled by the second warning, and tells God that he's already relayed the order to distance men and animals from the Mountain of God; but God tells Moshe that he must warn the Jews a second time., 2/9/2007, 12:48 AM

<I>Shemot</I>: A Rose By Any Other Name

It seems that appearances and manner of speech are important. They can create reality. Our sages told us (<I>Shemot Rabbah</I>, chapter 13) that "<I>B'nei Yisrael</I> were redeemed from Egypt in the merit of the fact that they did not change their names, their language and their dress." , 1/11/2007, 3:40 PM

The Ox Horn Incident

"The Greeks ordered that the Jews write on the horns of their oxen: 'We have no part in the God of Israel.'" Why did Antiochus choose oxen? And even granted the agrarian nature of the Jewish nation, what did Antiochus hope to accomplish by such a bizarre decree?, 12/21/2006, 3:55 PM

Hanukkah: Threes Redux

The Torah is begging us to look for the three that runs through the whole Yaakov story, beginning in <I>parshat Vayishlach</i> and culminating in <I>parshat Miketz</I>, with its hints of Hanukkah. That three is found on the Codex of Hanukkah - the dreidel, the <I>sivivon</I>. Can you guess?, 12/17/2006, 12:17 PM

<I>Toldot</I>: The Mothers of Our Nation

Rivka <I>Imeinu</I> calls all the shots: in a one-of-a-kind prenatal diagnosis, only she is given the prophecy of the destinies of her twin boys. She recognizes the essences of the developing boys, and it is Rivka who devises and puts into motion the plan that brings the blessings to Yaakov., 11/22/2006, 4:43 PM

<I>Vayera</I> and Mt. Moriah

"What is <I>Har HaMoriyah</I> (Mount Moriah)? The mount from which <I>hora'ah</I> (teaching, instruction, Torah) went out to Israel." (<I>Ta'anit</I> 16a) Rashi explains: "This refers to the <I>Lishkat HaGazit</I> (the Temple's office of hewn stone) in which stood prophets.", 11/9/2006, 1:14 PM

<I>Breishit</I>: The Fourth Hour

As we leave the Tishrei holiday period , we now enter the real, <I>gashmi</I> (as in <I>"mashiv haruach umorid hagashem"</I>) world. , 10/16/2006, 3:47 PM

The Dance of Sukkot

And there was dancing at the <I>Simchat Beit HaShoeiva</I>. To explain it, one must return to Yom Kippur in the Temple., 10/11/2006, 8:11 AM

Rosh HaShanah: <I>Akeidat</I> Yitzchak

The central lesson of Rosh HaShanah seems to have no relevance to the individual Jew as he prays for hours on the Jewish New Year., 9/21/2006, 2:34 PM

<I>Ki-Tavo</I>: The Jordan River Rules

The lesson of teamwork is of primary importance to our nation, a small, Jewish minority living in an overwhelmingly hostile Muslim Middle East. And the Torah stresses this lesson in this week's <I>parsha</I>. , 9/8/2006, 12:06 AM

<I>Re'eh</I>: The <I>Trempist</i>

This week's <I>Haftarah</I> portrays Israel, "afflicted, storm-tossed and not comforted," as it leaves the years of curse behind and returns to the Land of Israel. On "not comforted," the <I>Oznayim L'Torah</I> explained that there never was the option of coming to <I>Eretz Yisrael</I> and just sitting here like the Swiss in Switzerland., 8/18/2006, 9:42 AM

<I>Ekev</I>: The Agenda

Such is the power of <I>ekev</i> that David <I>HaMelech</I> said: "Why should I fear in the day of evil, the sin of <I>ekev</I> surround me?" (Psalms 49:6) To ignore <I>ekev</I> is to court disaster, but to uphold it, "Your servant is careful with Your commands, in keeping them is much reward (<I>ekev</i>)." (19:12), 8/11/2006, 5:34 AM

<I>Chukat</I>: Yiphtach and Peace Now

This week's <I>Haftorah</I> is the story of Yiphtach, in which an outcast from Gilead leads the Jews in victory over the Ammonite oppressor. The question is: why this <I>dvar Torah</I> for a <I>parsha</I> that features the <I>Parah Adumah</I>, and the deaths of Miriam, Aharon and Moshe?, 6/30/2006, 12:18 PM

<I>Shelach Lecha</I>: Calev, Rabbi Zecharia and Hamlet

<i>Anvetanusei</I> is a code-word, explains the Talner Rebbe, occurring twice in the Talmud, both times in relation to the same key player in the Temple's destruction on Tisha B'Av. , 6/15/2006, 12:17 PM

Yom Ha'atzmaut: Affairs of the Heart

In our relations with our fellow Jews, of all stripes, religious or non-observant, gentle or rude, pleasant or unpleasant, the Torah imposes the obligation of being motivated by logic of the heart., 5/2/2006, 11:08 AM

<I>Shemini</I>: High Tension Lives

<I>Daf Yomi</I> aficionados recently learned a <I>Gemara</I>,on <I>Pesachim</I> 77a, that sheds light on the recently concluded Pesach holiday, and on the deaths of Nadav and Avihu, described in this week's Torah reading., 4/20/2006, 1:33 PM

<I>Tetzaveh</I>: Survival Gear

This generation seems like Akiva, before he learned, but it will yet be Rabbi Akiva , <I>gadol b'Yisrael</i>. , 3/10/2006, 2:25 AM

<I>Vaera: Kal Vachomer</I>

This week's <I>parsha</I> features two <I>kal vachomer</I> arguments. A <I>kal vachomer</I> is an extrapolation from a minor premise to a major one. As we will see, both <I>kal vachomer</I> arguments involve the same plague and lead to the same lesson. , 1/26/2006, 12:54 PM

The Rule of Threes

It seems to me that the preponderance of threes in the Joseph story begs interpretation in connection with Chanukah., 12/23/2005, 12:17 AM