Dear friends,

It has been 6 years since I first walked into West Side Institutional Synagogue. From that moment, my family and I have enjoyed your wonderful support, commitment, and appreciation. We must say that we never expected this journey to turn out so amazing. But life proved that dreams become reality when you put your heart and mind into something and really push the limits.

Therefore we would like to thank everyone who has become a member at WSIS, or followed our classes, prayed with us, or enjoyed Kiddush with us. You are the major success factor behind these wonderful 6 years. We thank you for that!

As many of you know, sadly this is my last year at WSIS. I sat down and tried to think of a way to commemorate it in a manner that will involve everyone: You (the congregants), Us (WSIS), and everyone else who wants to be part of the celebration. How can we give back something to those who allowed us to share Torah for these meaningful years?

Therefore, I think that it’s time to let you be an active part of what I enjoy so much: creating sermons. And this is why I want to create a sermon with you!

I will be accepting your ideas for divrei torah, opening jokes, moving stories, content, style, etc. After you submit your suggestions (at their appropriate dates), people from all over the world will get to vote on their favorites. After the votes are cast, I will take the best and put them together in a organized and powerful sermon that I will deliver in WSIS on a specific Shabbos (soon to be determined). My friends, this has never been done before.


Enjoy the ride,
Shlomo Einhorn

  1. to the whole world you are one person, but to one person you are the whole world. i think that sums up how you have a made a difference on an individual basis.

  2. I have divrei torah on my blog sabbahillel@blogspot.com The one tat I consider the most original was posted on Mitzei Shabbos in May


    Can a Kohen marry the widow of a nonKohen?

    In the haftorah of Parshas Emor, the navi Yechexkel speaks about the Bais Hamikdash after the coming of the mashiach. The gemarah states that the book of Yechezkel was almost rejected as part of the canon because a number of points in this section appeared to contradict the Torah. One of the points that appears to contradict the law of the Torah is pasuk 44:22 which ends:

    כי אם בתולות מזרע בית ישראל והאלמנה אשר תהיה אלמנה מכהן יקחו

    This is translated by many commentators (such as the Art Scroll Chumash) as

    only virgins of the seed of Israel; but a widow who is only a widow, some Kohanim may take.

    This means that a regular Kohen may marry a widow even though the Kohen Gadol (high priest) may not.

    However, when looking at the Hebrew, it appears as if the translation should read:

    Only a virgin from the seed of Israel and a widow of a Kohen may they take.

    This changes the meaning of the sentence completely and appears to contradict the Torah law that a regular Kohen may marry a widow. However, I have found a possibility that allows this statement to stand as translated in the second way. A widow can either have children or not have children. If she has not had children, then she is subject to yibum (marrying her brother-in-law) or Chalitza (equivalent to divorce). For a Kohen to marry the widow of a nonKohen, she must have undergone Chalitza. By rabbinic law a woman who has gone through Chalitza is treated as if she were a divorcee and is forbidden to marry a Kohen. Thus the widow of a nonKohen must have children if she is to be allowed to marry a Kohen. However, these children are not Kohanim and are forbidden to eat terumah even though their mother (who is now the wife of a Kohen) would be allowed to eat terumah. Similarly, any children the mother would have are now Kohanim and could eat terumah.

    Is this a problem? Perhaps it can be considered like a child who has an allergy and cannot eat the same food as the other children in the family. However, this really is not the same as a child can understand the necessity to stay away from some food in order to not get sick. Terumah on the other hand is a spirituel matter and the child could wind up eating it, even accidentally. The mother could wind up putting it in front of all the children who would then eat it.

    We actually see this situation in parshas Emor (Vayikra 22:13)

    ובת כהן כי תהיה אלמנה וגרושה וזרע אין לה ושבה אל בית אביה נכנעוריה מלחם אביה תאכל וכל זר לא יאכל בו

    And a Kohen’s daughter who is widowed or divorced and has no children may return to her father’s house as in her youth, she may eat from her father’s food, but no “stranger” (nonKohen) may eat from it.

    The commentaries point out that one of the reasons for this is that she could wind up feeding her children terumah. This is forbidden since they are not Kohanim. Rashi also points out, that as long as she has children who are not Kohanim, she is considered part of a family of nonKohanim. This would be the source of the rabbinic enactment describe by Yechezkel forbidding the widow of a nonKohem who has children from marrying a Kohen. This is like the enactment forbidding a Kohen from marrying a woman who has undergone Chalitzah just like he is forbidden to marry a divorcee.

    This allows the sentence in Yechezkel to be read in a straight forward manner and to mean that a Kohen may only marry the widow of another Kohen.

  3. http://sabbahillel.blogspot.com/2011/08/if-you-shecht-with-light-saber-it.html

    Tuesday, August 09, 2011
    If you shecht with a light saber, is the animal kosher?

    If you shecht an animal with a light saber is it kosher? asked by Elder Of Ziyon actually has a legitimate answer.

    Chaim Casper answers on Mail Jewish

    A serious answer would be no. While on one hand the light saber
    would have no p’gamim (nicks), on the other hand how would you
    check the knife? B’dikah of the knife by running your hand down the blade is an integral part of the process.

    Secondly, does the light saber burn/heat (i.e. cook) the flesh as it cuts
    through the simanim (the majority of the esophogus and the trachea)? If it does, the meat would be traife as it is being cooked before
    it is slaughtered.

    B’virkat Torah
    Chaim Casper

    The main point is that the “blade” has no “mamashus” [physical existence]. In
    “real” terms, it would be like using a laser beam, rather than a blade, to
    create the slice. The original question in the daf yomi of Fourth of July –
    Chulin 8a (appropriate isn’t it) was that if someone heats a blade to a white
    heat and uses it, is it valid? The question is whether the blade cuts the flesh
    before or after the heat causes the flesh to separate in front of it. Since Rav
    Zeira rules that the blade is what starts the cut and the incision spreads as it
    is cut, the burn of the the heat is not considered as if it was burning the
    trachea and esophagus before the slaughter.

    In the case of a laser (or light saber) the flesh is vaporized rather
    than cut. Thus, it would be treated as if it was “burned” rather than
    slaughtered, which would make it a neveilah.

    Another point is that the wound is cauterized as it is made. For
    example, when Luke Skywalker lost his hand to the strike of Darth
    Vader’s light saber, the wound was cauterized as it was made and did
    not bleed. In the dapim for the beginning of Chapter two of Chullin
    (27 – 29), we see that the blood must flow freely. In fact, Rebbi
    Yehuda says in the mishna that even if he slaughters a bird correctly,
    it is not kosher until he cuts the major blood vessels. We also see a
    similar law involving chaya [non-domesticated animals] or kodshei
    beheima [domesticated animals brought on the altar] in the discussion
    in the gemoro.

    This means that if the cut was cauterized as it was made so that the
    blood could not flow, it might not be a valid shechita [slaughter].

    The halacha of the flesh immediately at the place of the cut is
    different. However, that would be a subject for a different post.
    I would continue the logic of the heated blade from 8A as well. Since
    the gemora does not mention the idea of “cooked before being
    kashered”, it seems that it does not consider that a problem.

    The Daf Yomi for 27 Tammuz 5771 (29 July), Chulin 33A, actually deals with the
    case of what happens if the wound is cauterized as the animal is
    slaughtered. It says that in a non-sacred case, the animal is still kosher
    even if the blood does not come out of the blood vessels. This means that
    the case of the heated knife mentioned earlier (which is similar to the case
    of the light saber or laser), which cauterizes the wound as it is cut, would
    still be kosher.

    An animal slaughtered for a sacrifice (kodshim) is different as the blood
    must be received in a bowl for sprinkling on the altar. In the case of a
    chaya (non-domestic animal) or bird, while the blood must be covered,
    apparently it does not require the blood to spill out. A bird must have the
    blood vessels severed, but as in the case of the superheated knife, it seems
    that they can be cauterized shut as long as the cut is made by the blade.

    Thus, it appears that the only reason the chullin (non-sacred) animal would
    be non-kosher is that the “blade” cuts by burning or vaporizing what it “touches” rather than by cutting.

    As I said above, the gemora states that it is because the blade actually cuts
    rather than burns that a white hot knife is kosher.

    Another point is that if you consider the “blade” as moving bits of plasma, it can be considered as if it is an infinitely “long” virtual “blade” that is always moving in one direction. As a result, the shochet would not have to move it at all by manipulating it like a knife. Similarly, shooting a laser beam would be similar to shechting by shooting an arrow with an infinitely long sharp blade, even though it appears stationary to the human eye. Each photon is a moving part of the “blade”. Of course since the photon does not have mamashus, it is like a fire that burns rather than a blade that cuts and makes the animal a tereifah.

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