Judaism in Practice

Today, we commence five Sidrot which describe the construction, furnishing and sacrificial rites of the Mishkan (Sanctuary) in the Wilderness, which was later replaced by our two Temples. Many of the details in these portions bear reference to our lives today. In particular, we adopt many procedures as zecher lemikdash, through which our recollections of […]

The absence of close members of family who have passed away is deeply felt by us on our key festivals.  Through reciting Yizkor we call upon the Almighty to remember their souls and to bless them in Heaven. Jews around the world are bound together through the shared religious experience of Yizkor, which is arguably […]

Why does Rosh Hashana fall on some days and not others? First Day Rosh Hashana can only fall on a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Shabbat. If the New Year would commence on a Wednesday, then Yom Kippur would fall on Friday, making it impossible to prepare food for Shabbat. If Rosh Hashana would start on […]

Hidur (beauty) is the most significant feature of the 4 kinds.  It is of particular importance that they should have an attractive and impressive appearance.  This is certainly true about the majestic lulav, the attractive hadass and the beautiful etrog, but what can be said about the willow?  It is quite drab, very ordinary and […]

It is well known that we should feed our animals before we sit down to a meal.  The scriptural source for this is in the second paragraph of the Shema: “And I will give grass in your field for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied” (Devarim 11:15). However, in today’s Sidra of […]

Through reciting the Shema each morning and evening, we fulfil the Torah precept “and you shall say these words (i.e. the Shema) … when you lie down and when you wake up”. (Deut. 6:7). Furthermore, through the recitation of the third paragraph of the Shema, we fulfil the mitzva to remember the exodus from Egypt […]

The mitzvah to immerse certain utensils in a mikva (not to be confused with the koshering of utensils) is derived from Bemidbar 31:22-23. We are required to immerse utensils used for eating or for preparing food, which have been manufactured or owned by a non-Jewish person at any time. We recite a beracha over the […]

Tefillin is one of only a few mitzvot which require a lot of practice beforehand. We find a plethora of opinions as to when one can put on Tefillin for the first time: 1. The Gemara in Masechet Succah states: A father must acquire Tefillin for his son, once the boy knows how to look […]

There are four unacceptable ways in which one can blacken the name of another:- 1. LASHON HARA This is when one conveys derogatory information about another when the information is true. MOTZI SHEM RA Here one gives another a bad reputation through conveying information which is false. 3. AVAK LASHON HARA (lit. the “dust” of […]

Decoration of the Synagogue a. According to tradition, a verdant oasis stood at the foot of Mt Sinai.  Thus, the Israelites were instructed to keep their flocks from grazing there when the Torah was about to be given.  As a result, when receiving the Torah, the Israelites were surrounded by shrubbery.  When we renew our […]

Rabbi Mirvis' Archive