Sunday, January 16, 2022

Toras Purim 5782 Part 1: Of ears and scales, of אז and אזנים


Today is 14 Shvat, shloshim yom lifnei haChag of Purim Kattan. Hence...

In this past week' parasha, in Shemos 15:26, Rashi writes:

כִּי אֲנִי ה' רֹפְאֶךָ. זֶהוּ מִדְרָשׁוֹ (מכילתא כאן). וּלְפִי פְּשׁוּטוֹ, כִּי אֲנִי ה' רֹפְאֶךָ וּמְלַמֶּדְךָ תּוֹרָה וּמִצְוֹת לְמַעַן תִּנָּצֵל מֵהֶם, כָּרוֹפֵא הַזֶּה הָאוֹמֵר לָאָדָם: אַל תֹּאכַל דְּבָרִים שֶׁמַּחֲזִירִים אוֹתְךָ לִידֵי חֹלִי; וְזֶהוּ אִזּוּן מִצְוֹת. וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר: "רִפְאוּת תְּהִי לְשָׁרֶּךָ" (משלי ג,ח).

Izun Mitzvos, the mitzvos balance us. Clearly the Torah relates balance to ears, as is known:

Loop-shaped canals in your inner ear contain fluid and fine, hairlike sensors that help you keep your balance. At the base of the canals are the utricle and saccule, each containing a patch of sensory hair cells. Within these cells are tiny particles (otoconia) that help monitor the position of your head in relation to gravity and linear motion, such as going up and down in an elevator or moving forward and backward in a car.

But what is the two letter root of the three letter root אזן? It is the word אז (which RSRH makes into a verb, אזה - "order events, past or future."

This is the unique quality of אז - that it connotes both past and future. Torah is all about balancing the past and the future while living in the present. Which, IIRC, is why in the Nefesh HoRav, it is brought down that RYBS took issue with the poem העבר אין והעתיד עדיין והווה כהרף עין - a Jew must weigh the past and the future to balance the present.

Which is a scale is a מאזניים. It is a a tool for balance. And since the primary balance, the one on which we are judged on Rosh HaShanah, is the balance between our past and our futures, it is a balance of the two meanings of אז. 

In fact, the word אזן is the one side of the scale - אז - and the beam - the ן. The מאזניים has one אז on each side, and the combined ןs making up the beam.

If both the אזs and the beam are in balance, you have 2x8 for the two pans and the one beam in the middle +1=17=טוב. 

Moshe Rabbeinu represents אז (Yalkut Shimoni 174):

 אז אמרה חתן דמים [למולת] כל פרקמטיא של משה לא היתה אלא באז כיצד הצלת נפשו לא היתה לא באז שנאמר וירף ממנו אז אמרה. קנתורו לא היה אלא באז שנאמר ומאז באתי אל פרעה. שירתו לא היתה אלא באז שנאמר אז ישיר משה ובני ישראל. אף הפרשת ערים לא היתה אלא באז שנאמר אז יבדיל משה שלש ערים:

The Maharal (Gevuros Hashem  47) explains at length:

And all this will lead to our understanding, im yirtzeh Hashem of the words at the end of the parasha (Shemos 17:14):

וְשִׂים בְּאָזְנֵי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ כִּי מָחֹה אֶמְחֶה אֶת זֵכֶר עֲמָלֵק מִתַּחַת הַשָּׁמָיִם

ועוד חזון למועד

Rischa D'Araisa Season 4 Episode 15: "Chazering" Information: Finishing the Talmudic Encyclopedia before Pigs Fly


Rischa D'Araisa Season 4 Episode 15:

"Chazering" Information

Finishing the Talmudic Encyclopedia before Pigs Fly

1. Pig Heart Transplants.

2. 75th Anniversary of the first volume of the Encyclopedia Talmudis.

Sunday, January 09, 2022

Siddur: Ashrei in Depth Part 3 (First and Last Pesukim), Yishtabach Part 1

Last two and first two pesukim, and on to Yishtabach.

Be'urei Tefillah using the classic Otzar HaTefillos Siddur.
Volume 1 of the Otzar HaTefillos is at
(but this time also using Malbim and other Meforshim, including Rabbeinu Bechaye on Bo).

Rischa D'Araisa Season 4 Episode 14: 1. Growing Up in More Ways 2. How Important are Commemorative Anniversaries?

Rischa D'Araisa Season 4 Episode 14:

1. Growing Up in More Ways
2. How Important are Commemorative Anniversaries?

The first topic refers to this ad that appeared in the Mishpacha magazine:

As Reb Avrohom points out in the broadcast,
the fingers in lieu of legs is doubtlessly based on:

Saturday, January 08, 2022

New Article! Split Second Decisions, Policing and the Halachos of Rodeif

My latest article:

Split Second Decisions, Policing and the Halachos of Rodeif

in the December 2021 (Number LXXVII) issue of 
The Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society 

(in its penultimate form - there are very slight changes in the printed version)
is available at:


Friday, January 07, 2022

New Series! Ohr Hashem by R' Chasdai Crescas, Parts 1&2

New Series!

Ohr Hashem by R' Chasdai Crescas

The Ohr Hashem is one of the most famous works on Judaism and Philosophy. Lean about R' Chasdai Crescas at

Part 1, First Part of the Hakdamah

Ohr Hashem by R' Chasdai Crescas
Part 2, Second Part of the Hakdamah