Thursday, April 26, 2012


The Torah was written black on white. Yet when the the Holy One peered into it and created the world, the outcome was a creation comprised of many brilliant colors.  
In God's eyes, the colors do not threaten the black and white - on the contrary, they offer a wonderful, colorful interpretation for it.                                                                                                       

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I'm still assimilating our recent trip to the Holy Land, and hope to post on it soon.

In the meantime, check out this post from Reb Neil, which is a companion piece to the just released third issue of Klal Perspectives, whose topic is the spiritual malaise of the broader Orthodox community (a troubling topic that has been addressed here as well as other blogs).

It's concise and well thought out, with practical suggestion. Worth reading.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Interesting question

Thank God, we have the tremendous merit to be in the Holy Land for Pesach this year. It's always interesting for us as b'nei chutz la'Aretz (or chutznikim, as we are colloquially referred to by everybody), those who do not reside in the Land, but still maintain the two-day chag while visiting the Holy Land during the holiday seasons. This is even more the case when one is staying with people who are only observing one day of yom tov; the first time we held our second seder my folks couldn't resist taking pictures as we sat around the table and went through the haggadah.

An interesting thought occured to me yesterday: this year, the chutz la'Aretz's last day of Pesach falls out on Shabbos Kodesh, a regular Shabbos for those who live in the Holy Land. While the chutznikim have a special kriyat haTorah in honor of Acharon shel Pesach, Israelis will read Parshat Shmini. For the next few weeks, Eretz Yisrael and the rest of the world will be out of sync in terms of weekly Torah portions, until Chutz la'Aretz reads a double portion (either Tazria-Metzora or Acharei Mot-Kedoshim) one Shabbos.

For a chutznik who returns to the Diaspora before the Shabbos following the holidays, this is not an issue; he will hear Shmini that Shabbos. However, a chutznik who stays an extra week in the Holy Land - over the course of the following Shabbos - runs the risk of missing a sedra, because the Shabbos after the chag they will read the portion beyond the one he has yet to hear (i.e. because they are a week ahead)!

This is my issue this year. God willing, we will be remaining in the Holy Land another whole week until after the Holy Land's Shabbos Tazria.

After asking around and thinking about the issue ourselves, we decided our best course of action would be to visit an Israeli minyan on Shabbos/Acharon shel Pesach to hear the portion of Shmini. Following that, I would continue on to a "chutz minyan" to make sure I fulfill my chutznik duties.

For a chutznik in the Holy Land, this is a fairly straightforward way of circumventing a potential problem. The question is, what does a chutznik (or for that matter, a resident of the Holy Land who was abroad over the course of the chag) who is ascending from the Diaspora the week following the chag do that Shabbos in the Holy Land?

Any ideas?