A Thousand Words – March 11, 2019

Eshet HaMidbar

While the rest of the world marked International Women’s Day, a group of 300 women from all over Israel set out for the second annual “Women Moving Mountains” event (in Hebrew, “Eshet HaMidbar”), run by OTS’s Yad La’isha: The Monica Dennis Goldberg Legal Aid Center for agunot. The purpose of the challenging 24 km hike …

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The Message of Purim

Rabbi David Brofsky

Taanit Esther and the Message of Purim By Rabbi David Brofsky Unlike the other “minor” fasts that are enumerated and discussed by the Talmud (Taanit 29a), Taanit Esther is not mentioned anywhere in the Mishna or Talmud. In fact, the earliest reference to Taanit Esther appears in the eighth-century geonic work Sheiltot DeRav Aḥai (Parashat …

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Lentil Stew, Stolen Identity, and our Struggle with Amalek


Lentil Stew, Stolen Identity, and our Struggle with Amalek By Rabbi Shmuel Klitsner, Chairman of the Susi Bradfield Women’s Institute of Halakhic Leadership  In Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address, he offers a theological argument to explain why the civil war was still exacting so heavy a price on the North as well as the South. Though he …

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Blurred Perceptions

Blurred Perceptions By Rabbi Shlomo RiskinOTS Founder, Chancellor Emeritus and Rosh HaYeshiva What does our sober and moderate Judaism, with its emphasis on “You shall be holy,” have to do with a masquerade ball? And yet, that is precisely what characterizes our celebration of Purim, replete with (often outlandish) costumes and an abundance of the …

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Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Nomi Berman

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy Rabbanit Nomi Berman, Rosh Beit Midrash of the Maria and Joel Finkle Overseas Program at Midreshet Lindenbaum “בלילה ההוא נדדה שנת המלך” – Which king was restless that fateful night?  The human king Achashverosh or the divine King?  The Megilla is simultaneously a story of divine Providence and a model for functioning in a world where …

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Taanit Esther- A Plea for Balance

Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein

Taanit Esther- A Plea for Balance Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein, Director of Training and Placement for OTS’s Beren-Amiel and Straus-Amiel Emissary Programs[1] Introduction It is a well-established custom[2] to fast on the 13th of Adar[3], usually one day before Purim [which is celebrated in most places on the 14th of Adar[4],] from Dawn to Dusk[5]. While …

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