Author Archives: rebleib1

My Actual All-Time Favorite Moments in Iggerot Moshe

For some time now I have taught classes and posted write-ups on landmark Teshuvot of Rav Moshe Feinstein under the header “My All-Time Favorite Moments in Iggerot Moshe” (link). But it has occurred to me over time that that title is a bit of … Continue reading

Posted in Halacha | 2 Comments

Priorities in Mikvah Building

I was privileged to give an adult ed class over Shavuot on the topic of the relative prioritization of building a mikvah as compared with building a shul or school. The shiur also dealt with the relative importance of a … Continue reading

Posted in Communal Matters, Halacha | Leave a comment

Still Rock and Roll to Me: Reflections on New Wave Tanach

A few weeks ago, to my surprise, I was invited to share a 15-minute D’var Torah in the coveted Thursday night pre-Maariv slot at my local right-of-center community Beis Medrash. In the days leading up to my D’var Torah, I … Continue reading

Posted in Communal Matters, Jewish Education (meta), Nach, Parshat Hashavua, Talmud / Daf Yomi | 3 Comments

The Fall and Rise of Levi, Once and Future Priest

We discussed in a recent post (link) the motif throughout Bereishit of bechira over bechora – that in almost every instance, the firstborn is passed over in deference to a favored younger sibling. As Leah’s oldest two children, Reuven and Shimon should rightfully have received the priesthood and … Continue reading

Posted in Parshat Hashavua | Leave a comment

The Modern Jewish Personalities Series

Over the past year I have given adult ed classes on the lives and literary hallmarks of four important Jewish personalities. Here are the handouts, for anyone out there who may find them to be useful. Perhaps at a later … Continue reading

Posted in Jewish History | Leave a comment

Caste and Privilege: Bechora and Bechira in Sefer Bereishit

Watching the drama unfold when Yaakov blesses Yosef’s sons in Parshat Vayechi (see Bereishit 48:13-22), two questions emerge: Why does Yaakov elect to bless Yosef’s sons (or Yosef himself, if you prefer) before blessing his older sons? And why does Yaakov switch … Continue reading

Posted in Parshat Hashavua | 1 Comment

Blame Rav Aharon Lichtenstein: A Response to Marom Zour

I came across an eye-opening item in a friend’s Facebook trough late last week. She was re-posting something which had come across her inbox from an irate secular Israeli with whom she is not personally acquainted. (The first words below … Continue reading

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The Millennia-Old Problem of Yom Ha’atzmaut in America

I asked a friend tonight if he could identify the most recent time in Jewish history that every single Jew was in the Land of Israel at the same time. He noticed that it wasn’t the time of Yehoshua, because … Continue reading

Posted in Communal Matters, Yom Ha'atzmaut | Leave a comment

Does a Spoonful of Bitter Make the Liberty Go Down? Questioning the Seder of the Seder

In the pantheon of great ideas, coining the term “seder” for the seder was probably right in the middle. On the one hand, there is clearly an intrinsic importance to the order (seder) itself, as shown by our naming the … Continue reading

Posted in Holidays, Pesach | Leave a comment

Pharaoh’s Man Problem and the Birth of Jewish Exceptionalism

Did Pharaoh have a problem with men? Or did he have a larger agenda in ordering the boys to be killed? Exploring two parallel stories – the first near the beginning of Parshat Lech Lecha, the second spanning the end … Continue reading

Posted in Holidays, Parshat Hashavua, Pesach | Leave a comment