Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kudos to the Robert M Beren Academy. But Not for Keeping Shabbat

I have very, very fond memories of playing varsity basketball during my high school years. I was a four year starter on our team, and scored an average of about twelve points per game. Pretty respectable, I think. (Although that might have had more to do with the fact that the school only had about sixty guys in the entire upper school.)
Looking back, almost every aspect of our team's very existence was unusual. The Yeshiva had a long history of varsity basketball, but in truth, having a basketball team at all isn't very "yeshivish." (Checking the Yeshiva website today, it seems that they still have a team, but you wouldn't know it from the main site.) Once the season began, we really never practiced at all, because the school wouldn't allow practices on weeknights. (We only finished classes at 6:15 in the evening, and if you added night seder - which I did - we left the building at 7pm on a normal weeknight, and on Thursday, mishmar went from 8pm until 9:15pm.) So, our coaches - and there was a new one almost every year - would schedule all of our games on both Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons, pretty much every weekend. I didn't think much of it back then, but looking back I now realize that we played every Saturday night game not having practiced for an entire week and every Sunday game still tired from the night before.
This might explain why we were generally terrible.
My junior year, we were actually respectable, almost reaching a .500 record. But other than that, we stank. Badly. Which was fine. Losing built our character. (I have a very vivid memory from junior high school of attending a varsity game once when the coach didn't arrive until the third quarter, by which time the team was losing by a score of something like 80 to 15. Our intrepid coach called a timeout, gathered the team together and proclaimed, "They're not going to score a single point more!" The entire team literally burst out laughing.) Thankfully, during my tenure, it was never that bad. Coaches arrived on time to games. But we were still never able to beat the hated Hebrew Academy during my tenure. (and when we finally did, they stopped playing us.) That still stings to this day.
Despite all the losing, I remember almost every aspect of playing on the Knights with great fondness. Somehow the sting of defeat has faded, and my mind recalls the great rides to games and practices; taking offensive fouls during practice, pizza at The Jaffa Gate (alav hashalom) after games (er, losses), and the great friendship and teamwork we enjoyed. 
Why the trip back down memory lane? My thoughts returned me to my high school basketball career reading a New York Times piece on the Robert M Beren Academy's decision not to participate in the semifinal game of the Texas state private school championships, for the simple reason that the game is scheduled for Friday night.
These stories appear every so often, and on one level, they do represent a kiddush hashem. In a time when too many people treat values as fungible, it's nice to be reminded that in the Orthodox world, we still treat Shabbat as Shabbat.
But I wonder: Is that really news? After all, isn't that why the parents of the Robert M. Beren Academy send their children to an Orthodox, shomer Shabbat school? To me, it would be more newsworthy if they did play - which would be startling and upsetting. Of course they shouldn't play.
No, what surprises me about the article instead is the fact that they made the state semifinals at all. You almost never hear about small, Orthodox schools with a record of...wait for it...23-5! And this is not a huge New York school that we're talking about either. The upper school has 71 students - boys and girls! Yeah! Go Jews! Go small schools! Go Orthodox yeshivot!
It's like Hoosiers, only Jewish. And that's great news to me.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Shortening Shabbat Davening - The Problem (First in a Short Series)

We love to think that this is a picture of "them".
But it's more like us than we're willing to admit.
Years ago, I heard about the amazing popularity of one of the Mega-Churches led by a famous pastor (I think that it was Joel Osteen), and wondered what he could possibly be doing to draw fifteen thousand people to a service on a weekend. So I decided to watch some of a service (available online) to see what I could pick up.
Truthfully, I didn't watch much. (I think that I was either bored, uncomfortable, or both). But at the beginning of the service, the pastor led the entire congregation in a recitation that they clearly repeated each and every week. I don't remember it word for word, but I remember that they all picked up their bibles, and declared their allegiance to the word of God, faith in the Bible and in God, and asked for the wisdom and blessing to find the answers that they were looking for through prayer and study.
I was astounded. There it was, so simple, in a sense. People are looking for a sense of faith. They want to reach out to a Divine God they know they cannot comprehend, but need to reach out for in any case.
Watching that video, a sense of frustration welled up inside me. All of those elements exist in Orthodox Judaism. The Torah offers all that, and more. And yet, how many people leave davening on Shabbat morning feeling that, they really spoke to God that morning, that they had a religious experience, and that they left davening with a greater sense of faith than when they came?
What would have happened hjad I tried to institute such a custom in my shul, where before Torah reading everyone picked up their Chumash and declared, together in unison, in English (which people understand),

"Hashem, this is the book that You gave to us through our prophet, Moshe. It contains the one and only truth. Please grant us the wisdom to seek guidance through the Torah. Give us comfort through its words, guidance through its commandments, and connection to You through its holy light. Amen."

I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I would have been laughed out of shul. No one would join me. The first week I'd get uncomfortable stares. The second week, a few might participate, but most would not. And I'm sure that by the third week, there'd be a hastily organized meeting with the shul's senior leadership to "discuss" sudden changes to the davening. It wouldn't be considered "frum" at all. Maybe Conservative. Maybe Reform. But certainly not Orthodox.
That's a tragedy, because we actually do say those very things throughout the tefillah: וזאת התורה אשר שם משה לפני בני ישראל. And this is the Torah that Moses placed before Israel." קדשנו במצוותך - "Sanctify us in your commandments." וטהר לבנו לעבדך באמת. "Purify our hearts to serve you in truth."
Somehow, when we translate all that into English and recite it together, it becomes less frum. And by removing these types of communal prayer experiences that would give many, if not most Orthodox Jews - who don't speak fluent Hebrew - true spiritual experiences, we rob them of a meaningful prayer experience that they badly need.

Rabbi Efrem Goldberg of the Boca Raton synagogue recently asked on his Twitter feed (which I follow via Facebook):
How would u shorten shabbos morning davening within halachik boundaries in an effort to make it more enjoyable and meaningful?
Shortening davening? Easy. A little harder is the second clause: "Within halachic boundaries." Still, with some creativity and finesse, finding halachic solutions is possible. But Rabbi Goldberg did not include the most important clause, which he perhaps assumed, but I believe cannot be taken for granted: "Which would be accepted by the Orthodox community."
That's a much tougher nut to crack. Because we can design a wonderful, meaningful service, that reflects the needs and desires of the broad majority of today's Main Minyan crowd.
But if they think that "it's not frum" and won't implement the changes, what have we really accomplished?

I have some suggestions to make that might help. Before I make them, in my next post I'll outline what I believe is the problem underlying the challenge of Shabbat morning davening. Finally, I'll suggest a number of changes that I believe are clearly within the boundaries of halachah, but will most probably be considered too radical to institute, and therefore ignored.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Excercise as a Torah Value - Updated!

In this post, I lamented the fact that the modern-day yeshiva system completely ignores the need for physical fitness and physical activity, instead encouraging students to spend as much time as humanly possible engaged in the study of Torah. I wrote in favor of living a healthy lifestyle as a Jewish value as well.
As it turns out, it seems that I was more correct than I first thought. Excercise might not be important just as a means to living a healthy life. No, according to the New York Times, regular excercise might also improve your Torah study.
In a piece entitled, Phys Ed: How Excercise Fuels the Brain, the author describes how researchers killed mice who had excercised regularly, to discover that the mice contained additional stores of special brain energy. (You can read the piece yourself. I might have gotten the biology wrong.)
The piece states that,
While a brain with more fuel reserves is potentially a brain that can sustain and direct movement longer, it also “may be a key mechanism underlying exercise-enhanced cognitive function,” says Hideaki Soya, a professor of exercise biochemistry at the University of Tsukuba and senior author of the studies, since supercompensation occurs most strikingly in the parts of the brain that allow us better to think and to remember. As a result, Dr. Soya says, “it is tempting to suggest that increased storage and utility of brain glycogen in the cortex and hippocampus might be involved in the development” of a better, sharper brain.
If that turns out to be true, if you really want to be able to study Torah better, excercise regularly. It will not only give you more energy during the day. It might actually make you smarter too.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The OU Wants You to Move to Houston. They're Wrong.

My first reaction, upon reading about the OU's new "Move To Houston" initiative - CHAT (Come to Houston And Thrive - but isn't that really CTHAT?) was, "What?! Really? The OU wants people to move out of New York...and not to Israel?" Really? We need more Jews in America?
Truthfully, we don't. If you're looking to solve your day school tuition problems, moving to Houston isn't going to help you. If you're willing to leave your family, job and community, and move thousands of miles to somewhere new and start over, do you really want to go to...Houston? Isn't that where the Texans play? And the Astros? Do you really want your kids growing up to be Astros fans?

Any reader of this blog knows that I believe strongly that every Jew belongs in Israel (where every Orthodox Jew believes we'll all end up anyway.) But I understand that not every person is willing and able to make the jump to move to Israel. They just find it daunting, which I get. Somehow, moving to Houston is less intimidating. At least it's the same language, culture (actually, it's not the same culture, but it's not as different as Israel), the same country. And people in America do need to spread out. There are simply too many shuls in Teaneck.
But I still think the OU is wrong. Sure, Houston may be fine. My good friend Rabbi Barry Gelman serves as the rabbi of a big shul there. But you shouldn't move to Houston. No, you should move to Michigan.
Why is Michigan better? Let me count the ways.

Orthodox community: If Houston has 500 frum families, Michigan has many, many more - well into the thousands. No contest. Just get a copy of the WOL (that's Women's Orthodox League - kind of like the Ladies Auxiliary of the Mikveh) directory, and you'll see what I mean. Advantage Michigan.

Schools: Sorry, but while the Houston list looks nice, Michigan offers a wide range of schooling options for families from Modern Orthodox to very, very Chareidi, serving many hundreds of children. And the tuition in Michigan really is more reasonable as well. From Akiva (where we sent our kids) to Darchei Torah to Yeshiva Beth Yehudah to the Bais Yaakov, Detroit offers a wide range of educational options for the Orthodox family. Truth be told, one lacking from my point of view was a more moderate boys-only high school. For years, the community lacked such a school due to ridiculous politics that I never fully understood. I hear that there's now an option in West Bloomfield, which I hope is true. It's a really important piece of the communal puzzle. Still, from the school perspective, Michigan wins!

Shuls: Michigan again. You can choose from three (really more) neighborhoods, with numerous shuls and about a zillion shtiebels. (But that's a different post entirely).

Sports: That's a tough one. Texans seem to like their sports. And while the Pistons used to be great when I was there, no longer. But the Lions seem to be doing well, which is something no one living in Michigan ever expected to see in their lifetime. And, being from Washington D.C., I could never really watch Redskins games anyway. And they've been awful for twenty years. Tie.

Restaurants: That one seems like a toss-up. I don't really know kosher Houston, but Michigan never had enough restaurants. Sure, Jerusalem Pizza is a must. (don't leave without trying my personal favorite, the Kishka Pizza. Really. Amazing.) But we could never support enough restaurants to satisfy the needs of the community. People used to blame the Vaad. But I sat on the Vaad, and while the Vaad was never perfect, it just boiled down to a lack of demand for higher end kosher food. I think that people in Michigan are just simpler; they eat out less, and maybe that's because they have less money to spend on eating out. Which brings me to the best part of Michigan:

The people: Again, I have no idea what people are like in Houston. Let's assume, for the purpose of this uninformed blog post, that they fulfill every stereotype of Texas that we've seen in the movies. They massacre people with chainsaws, talk funny, and you can't really understand them. Ah, I jest.
Not so in Michigan.
People from the Midwest are just laid back. They don't put on airs. There's no phoniness about them. They're kind, caring and unpretentious. If you're looking for a place where you come to shul to see and be seen; to dress up and hobnob at the fancy catered kiddush each Shabbat - then don't go to Michigan. But if you're looking for a city where the people committed to community; where they really do look out for each-other, and where you can not only grow yourself, but really make a difference, then Michigan might be for you.

One thing I would say: the Houston initiative is great. The Orthodox community in Michigan could learn something from CHAT: I love their organization; the website they set up organizes all the important information in one place. If the Michigan Orthodox community is serious about attracting new families, this is the model that it needs to follow.

So, to sum it up, if you're looking to move out of New York, Chicago or L.A., move to Israel! But if that's not for you, in addition to looking at Houston, as the OU wants you to do, look at Michigan. It's a great place to raise a family, and when you decide to move to Israel, the community will offer you warmth, support and friendship, long after you've left.

Oh, I forgot one more thing. If you do decide that Michigan is for you, give me a call. I've got a house for sale. Really.

Audio Shiur: Parshat Mishpatim - The Four Shomrim

Audio Shiur:
PParshat Mishpatim - The Four Shomrim

This shiur is exactly what it sounds like: the source for the laws of the four Shomrim emanates from our parshah. By analyzing the text of the Torah, we come to derive how the halachot of the different types of watchmen emerge. We conclude with a powerful thought from the Ohr Hachayim on the idea of Shemirah Bebaalim.

Click here to download the shiur, or here to navigate to the shiur on YUTorah.org.

Now you can subscribe to this shiur as a podcast, directly from iTunes! To subscribe, click here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Introducing Underdos

I recently learned about a new series of web shorts produced by a small group of Israeli Yeshiva guys called אנדרדוס - in English, Underdos (I think it's a play on a combination of Underdog and Dos - which is a derogatory term in Israel that means "frummie." Ironically, if you yourself are in fact "dosi", you see it as a badge of pride.) These guys have put out a series of short videos that I find hysterical, and you can find them all on their official Youtube channel. They're very clever, and very wry - but they're also at times hard to hear, and in very fast Hebrew. But I find them riotously funny. Enjoy!
To get you started, I'm sharing what I consider an instant classic:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Audio Shiur: Parshat Yitro - The Challenge of Lo Tachmod

Audio Shiur:
Parshat Yitro - The Challenge of Lo Tachmod

The recent commercial frenzy surrounding the Super Bowl (an annual event) highlighted the degree to which Western society is obsessed with wanting things. In the attached commercial, Jerry will go to almost any length not just to get the car, but to be the first to get the care. This seems, at face value, to directly contradict the prohibition against "coveting" the possessions of others. What does Lo Tachmod mean? What's prohibited? And how are we supposed to follow this commandment in the stuff-hoarding society in which we live?

Click here to download the shiur, or here to navigate to the shiur on YUTorah.org.

Now you can subscribe to this shiur as a podcast, directly from iTunes! To subscribe, click here.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Guilt for Excercise? A Torah Value Taken to the Extreme

My weight and I have long engaged in a friendly, and sometimes not-so-friendly competition. It tries to the get the best of me while I struggle to keep it under control. I was never one of those people who could eat whatever I wanted and maintain a healthy weight (and found myself quite envious of those who were). For many years I adhered to a SugarBusters diet (though I fell off that wagon about a year ago), and since my college days I've been a regular runner. (Back in semichah, when I lived in Washington Heights, I used to run over the George Washington Bridge. It was a great, beautiful run.)
Aside from the issue of trying to stay healthy, I just feel better when I excercise, both physically and emotionally. Running helps me stay calmer, more balanced, and well-adjusted. I figured it was a good thing all around.
Then I received the OU's most recent Shabbat Shalom email, which contained an article entitled, "Why Do I Feel Guilty When I Run?" in which Rabbi Pesach Sommer, who lost about 100 pounds over the last year writes,

So when I began to vigorously engage in what seemed like a strictly physical pursuit, I felt guilty. I was uncomfortable with activities like sports and exercise. Running, with all the health benefits it had to offer, left me uneasy.
I tried to ignore the little voice in my head that told me that running was bitul zman, a waste of time. When that didn’t work, I tried to convince myself that my time in the gym was justified by the fact that it would allow me to live longer and fulfill the goal of v’nishmartem meod, protecting my life. I suppose that should have been enough, but somehow it left me less than satisfied. Not enough to get me to stop, but, still, I was determined to understand and hopefully get rid of the gnawing feeling I was experiencing.
Rabbi Summer ends his brief article concluding that his excercise was actually improving his spirituality, which is nice and true. But reading the article, I found myself wondering, "Why in the world did he feel guilty? What if he achieved no spiritual nirvana through running, but simply led a more healthy lifestyle? Where did we get the notion that excercise is "bittul zman"?
A commenter on the article states it this way,
I'm actually shocked and even horrified at the idea that we Jews have produced a culture that could leave someone feeling guilty for exercising.
I believe that the answer - and the source of Rabbi Sommer's guilt - lies in a good value taken to the extreme, which manifests itself in many areas of Orthodox life.
Judaism considers the study of Torah to be a core component of a religious, spritual life. In fact, halachah considers Torah study to be obligatory. One must study Torah. The question is: how much? For how long?
Boiling a complicated halachic discussion into a nutshell, two basic opinions emerge. The first, articulated by Rambam and actually encoded into the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah, 246:1), posits that one must, at a minimum, study Torah every day and night. They derive this from the verse where God tells Yehoshua, והגית בו יומם וליליה - "and you shall delve [Torah] day and night." (Yehoshua, 1:8) According to the most lenient position, one can even fulfill this obligation with the simple recitation of the Shema each morning and night.
On the other side of the spectrum - way, way on the other side - is a chorus of opinions that take the verse quite literally: one must study Torah at all times, always, day and night. According to opinions in the Talmud, this precludes any secular study (See Menachot 99b), learning a trade, (See Mishnah Kiddushin 4:14), and basically anything else. Any activity, other than the study of Torah, is a waste of time, and represents the shirking of one's spiritual obligation to study Torah.
Despite the fact that the Shulchan Aruch ruled leniently, the strict opinion - perhaps even the most extreme formulation of that opinion, has become the guiding mantra of the entire yeshiva world. Any serious yeshiva considers, as one of its founding principles, that the study of Torah is not only the most valuable endeavor in which a person can engage, but that as a direct result, any other endeavor is, by definition, a waste of time, and must be calculated as such.
Is it wrong to have such an attitude? Of course it's not wrong. But I don't think that it's right for everyone. In fact, it might only be the correct attitude for a very small subset of people who are capable of devoting every waking moment to Torah study. For them, the sense of obligation to learn all the time propels them forward, spurring them to achieve greatness in their learning. But what about for everyone else?
How would you feel if you were told, from the moment that you walked into school, that you must study Torah without pause for the rest of your life...and if you just couldn't do it, either because while you liked learning, the hours of sitting were just too long; or you weren't all that good at it; or you needed to get a job to support your family; Or you were 100 pounds overweight?
I can tell you how you'd feel, because I've felt it: You'd feel guilty. You'd feel like you were wasting your time. You'd feel that running, to stay in shape and be healthier, simply couldn't be justified, no matter how unhealthy you'd become. And that guilt is not a healthy thing.
More importantly perhaps, this guilt-fest does not accurately represent the only perspective on this issue. The Torah also conveys other values that Torah Jews must consider. Case in point: living a healthy lifestyle. It's not simply a matter of common sense. Rather, being healthy is a Torah value as well.
Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried, in his "Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 32) writes,
הואיל והיות הגוף בריא ושלם, מדרכי השם הוא, אי אפשר שיבין או ידע דבר מידיעת הבורא והוא חולה, לפיכך צריך האדם להרחיק את עצמו מדברים המאבדין את הגוף, ולהנהיג את עצמו בדברים המברין והמחלימים את הגוף, וכן הוא אומר ונשמרתם מאד לנפשותיכם. 
Since it is among the ways of God to have a whole and healthy body, and it is impossible for a person to have knowledge of God when he is sick, for this reason, a person must distance himself from things that destroy the body, and purport himself in ways that bring health and well-being tot he body, as it is written, "And you will carefully guard your lives."
They don't emphasize that halachah in yeshiva, because if they did, every bachur would take a couple of hours, a few times of week, to get some excercise. And he'd do it, not because he was overweight, and not because he couldn't feel his legs after hours of sitting in the Beit Midrash.
No, he'd do it because he saw his Rosh Yeshiva exercising too. And then, I am certain that he'd have no problem exercising without ever feeling guilty.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Why Do People Steal? How Much is your Childrens' Tuition?

The New York Times this morning reported the sad story of Rabbi Menachem Youlus, who admitted in Federal court that his tales of Torah rescue were little more than imaginary, and that he had funneled the money that he raised to save Holocaust Torahs into personal accounts. Truth be told, no one who read the original news articles should be surprised. The verdict seemed a foregone conclusion. Reading about his lawyer's plea for leniency, I find myself vacillating between an innate sense of compassion - which would warrant a lenient sentence - and a feeling of outrage at both the Chillul Hashem that Rabbi Youlus caused, and the fact that his theft and deceit specifically centered about restoring old Torah scrolls - which makes me want the judge to "throw the book" at him.
And yet, one paragraph from the article struck me.
Rabbi Youlus was also accused of writing $344,000 in checks to himself from the bookstore’s account, charging about $200,000 in personal expenses to a credit card issued to the bookstore and using $90,000 in the bookstore’s money to pay private school tuition for his children and his relatives’ children.
I honestly believe that it started with the tuition. Facing the crushing burden of his kids' tuition bills, he "found a way," and when it worked once and people started giving him money, he was already hooked, and he found himself stealing the money for other things as well. After all, we all know well the Talmudic dictum that the first time one sins, he feels guilty; the second time it's already "permitted," and by the third time, he sees it as a mitzvah. It's not that hard to imagine.
This story to me represents an egregious example of a probably far more widespread phenomenon. How many Torah Jews fudge their taxes with the self-righteous justification that, "Well, I'm not using the public school system, so I should get a break." Necessity truly is the mother of invention, even if all we're inventing are the lies that justify acts of fraud and criminality.
I'm not, by any means, suggesting that most Orthodox Jews are criminals. But I do think that the crushing burden of paying private school tuition is having a devastating impact on the Jewish community in ways that we are only beginning to consider.
As for his punishment, simply sending Rabbi Youlus to sit in jail seems to me to be a waste of his talents. He clearly has the knowledge and skills to preserve and repair damaged Torah scrolls. Instead of throwing him in jail where he'll simply be a burden to the government (which cannot afford incarcerating more people), I suggest to the presiding judge a more creative sentence: He stole money under the "cover" of repairing Torahs. Fit him with an ankle bracelet, give him house arrest for however long seems appropriate, and during that time, sentence him to many, many hours of community service, repairing Torah scrolls of any and all comers - starting with the congregations that he bilked, free of charge.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Beit Hillel: A New Attempt at Rabbinic Leadership. Will it work? Stay Tuned.

About a month ago, I received an email invitation to the founding meeting of a group that was later named "Beit Hillel". (Yes, when the group's founders first formed the organization, they had yet to agree on a name.) The purpose of the group was to establish a cadre of Modern Orthodox rabbinic and Torah leaders who would articulate a moderate, thoughtful Torah position on important issues related to Israeli and Jewish society. Would I consider attending the conference? I said that I'd attend. Here's the invite.

Behind the group (actually founding it) stand a group of relatively young, modern, and often left-leaning Orthodox rabbis, who serve in shuls across Israel. Mind you, this isn't the first leadership group that I've been invited to participate in. The last one kind of petered out, which is good, because it never really amounted to much anyway.
Pros: On one hand, this initiative represents an important effort to articulate a Judaism that will speak to the majority of the Israeli public. Today, the only audible voices in the rabbinic world are the ones that articulate extreme views to whatever degree, from rabbis that advocate not selling homes to Arabs to rabbis that declare that soldiers must disobey orders to attend ceremonial functions to rabbis that encourage violent protests. No one is articulating a moderate, considerate view, and that seems to be the intent of the organizers.
Cons: At the same time, no leading rabbinic personality has given his approval for Beit Hillel, from Rav Aharon Lichtenstein to Rav Chaim Druckman to Rav Yaakov Ariel, all leading figures in the Religious Zionist world, all voices of moderation. Why not? Does that say something about the group and those who organized it? I've got a friend who feels that this is just a front for an Israeli version of the International Rabbinic Fellowship, a rather left-leaning Orthodox organization organized by Rabbi Avi Weiss. I have been promised that this is not the case, but time will tell.
Case in point: the organizers of the group decided that it wouldn't be only rabbis, but Torah leadership personalities, so that they could include women in the group. Personally, I applaud the move, but the publicity in the news about this move certainly sounds very liberal.
In the end, I fear that while this movement was organized with the best of intentions, it might not be able to fufill its intended function for the simple reason that the media doesn't like moderate views. They don't play well. Extremism sells. It drives clicks and pageviews. And if each time a firestorm arises in Israeli society Beit Hillel issues a well-thought, articulate and sensitive statement, I wonder whether it will really get any play, or be drowned out by the louder voices specifically tuned to grab the headlines.
The conference starts in about an hour, so I'll keep you posted. I'm thinking of liveblogging the event, so follow me on @weeklyparshah.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Audio Shiur: Parshat Beshalach - Taking the Leap of Faith

Audio Shiur:
Parshat Beshalach - Taking the Leap of Faith

In hindsight, the Exodus seems so simple, and so obvious. And yet, when we look at the words of the Torah, it's clear that it was anything but for many, if not most of the Jewish people. The question for us is, are we talking about Egypt of old, or about today? Listen to find out.

Click here to download the shiur, or here to navigate to the shiur on YUTorah.org.

Now you can subscribe to this shiur as a podcast, directly from iTunes! To subscribe, click here.