Rabbi David Brofsky

The Reason for Sukkot By Rabbi David Brofsky The Torah explains the reason for the commandment to dwell in sukkot: “That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt.” (Lev. 23:42–43) The Talmud records a debate about what …

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Rabbi David Brofsky

The Meaning of the Shofar and its Place in Mussaf Rabbi David Brofsky Faculty, Midreshet Lindenbaum The Torah commands “And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month…it shall be a day of terua for you” (Bamidbar 29:1). The Rabbis (Rosh HaShana 33) understand that this verse refers to the blowing of the shofar …

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The Minhagei Aveilut of Sefirat Ha-Omer By Rabbi David Brofsky The Gemara relates: It was said that R. Akiva had twelve thousand pairs of disciples, from Gabbat to Antipatris; and all of them died at the same time because they did not treat each other with respect. The world remained desolate until R. Akiva came …

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The Role of Karpas at the Pesach Seder By Rabbi David Brofsky What is the reason behind the “Karpas” at the Pesach Seder, and what is the significance of its name? A number of Rishonim (see Rashbam), based upon the Gemara (Pesachim 114), imply that the karpas is meant to stimulate the children to ask …

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The Miracle of Chanukah By Rabbi David Brofsky Chanukah commemorates the events that took place during the Hasmonean rebellion against Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the Seleucid king of Syria, in 164 BCE. In the Al HaNissim prayer inserted in the Shemoneh Esreh and Birkat HaMazon throughout the holiday, we relate: In the days of the Hasmonean …

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Simple Faith and Commitment: Beating the Aravot on Hoshana Raba By Rabbi David Brofsky One of the most intriguing and puzzling customs of the Festival of Succot is the beating of the Aravoton Hoshana Rabba, known as “chivut arava”. The Gemara (Succa 46b) refers to this mysterious ritual, and describes how outside of the Beit …

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