"We are closer to G-d when we are asking the questions, than when we think we have the answers" Heschel

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Shiur - Parshat Vayetzei

"Better to throw yourself in a fire than embarrass others" - lessons from the self sacrifice of Mother Rachel.

Unfortunately I didn't find the time to share a thought on zealousness this week.  However, my brother Shalom made an important correction that the name Elkana is actually spelled with a heh and not an alef which means that my new nephew's name has nothing to do with zealousness.  I apologize to the little guy for misrepresenting his identity in the first week of his life.

The shiur I am posting is about the incredible actions of Rachel in giving the simanim to her sister Leah.  Have a great shabbos.

Audio Shiur
Source Sheet  

Binyamin - always looking for a good question 


Monday, November 8, 2010

FNQ – 5 q's for the week


In honor of my new nephew, named Elkana (zealous for G-d), I would like to pose a few questions on the topic of zealousness. Those who act in a radical and zealous fashion are a constant source of fiery debate and discussion.  Their actions are endlessly challenged and questions regarding them are always provocative.  The past generation has seen its share of Jewish zealots and while no one in this world can know whether their actions were desirable or repulsive in G-d's eyes, I believe that their commitment to a cause and willingness to make sacrifices is laudable. Here are 5 questions about zealots. Come back later in the week for some thoughts on this subject.

  1. Is zealousness something we should all aspire to or is the kind of thing that is for some but not all?
  1. Pinchas is the Biblical example par excellence of a zealot. How is his reward of a covenant of peace fit for his zealous actions?
  1. Has our western sensibility taken away our ability to be zealous?
  1. If so is that a good thing? If not, where are all the zealots?
  1. Is there any litmus test to determine whether a zealot is in fact acting for the sake of heaven or not?
Binyamin - always looking for a good question

Sunday, November 7, 2010

FNQ announcement – A zealot breaks forth into the world

I would like to give a Mazal Tov to Shalom and Batya (Tifferet, Emunah and Tuvia) on the brit and naming of their son and brother Elakana Peretz. He was born last motzei shabbat on the 23rd of Cheshvan and the brit was this morning in their community of Adam. May they be zocheh to raise him to Torah, chuppah and maasim tovim. Mazal Tov!!!!

Some recordings from this wonderful occasion can be found below. There is also a link to a video with highlights from Yoni and Ariel's wedding. Enjoy, and may the simchas keep on coming.

Binyamin – never asks any questions about family simchas

Thursday, October 28, 2010

FNQ – 5qs for the week

Building or destroying

Last moztei shabbos I had the pleasure of seeing the inside of the newly re-built Churva Shul (destroyed shul) in the old city of Jerusalem for the first time. As I stood in awe of its breathtaking grandeur and striking beauty I couldn’t stop myself from asking a few questions about the deeper meaning of the rebuilding of this fairly ancient and previously destroyed synagogue. The re-dedication of this shul is in many ways a powerful of sign of our nation's advancement towards redemption. However, simultaneously as this shul was being re-built our government was/is freezing and halting the continued attempts to settle many areas in the heart of our ancient land. The following are 5 questions on these strange times. Come back later in the week for some thoughts on this topic.
  1. Why keep the name Churva?
  1. Can a building be physically built and spiritually remain destroyed?
  1. How do we relate to a government that builds and destroys our country at the same time?
  1. How can we distinguish between destruction which is needed for further building and destruction which is permanent?
  1. “If G-d will not build the house in vein do its builders labor on it” (Psalms 127) How are we supposed to know if G-d is helping the builders or the destroyers?
Binyamin - always looking for a good question

Sunday, October 24, 2010

FNQ thought of the week (last week)

Priorities and growing up

The experience of growing up can perhaps best be described as a process whereby what was important to you yesterday is meaningless today.  To mature is to understand that that which you once considered vital and essential was in fact trivial and insignificant. This experience can be summarized in short as the continuing process of re-prioritizing.

Contrary to what most think the resource in this world which is most scarce is not oil, water or money. The most precious and valuable commodity is not something that needs to be dug for, purified or even worked hard for. The resource I am referring to is time. The average life-span is a mere 80 years and the amount which one must accomplish in that time is enough to keep them occupied for a millennium. The struggle and conflict between one's lofty goals and the limited time one has to accomplish them creates an inevitable need to prioritize.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

FNQ – 5 q's for the week


Perhaps the most appropriate topic for this post (my first in 5 months or so) is priorities. I choose this topic because it is the reason why I have been unable to write anything for this blog for such a long time and it is the cause of great stress and tension in everyone's life. The struggle to prioritize and in turn to maximize the time and effort for those things that are higher on one's lists is great and perpetual. These are a few questions I have on this topic. Come back in a few days (hopefully) for my thoughts.

  1. What are the criteria one should use for determining what is most important in one's life?
  1. Is it reasonable to expect that a person lives a life where their top priorities are always given precedence over things of lesser importance?
  1. If I say something is important to me but constantly choose to do things of lesser importance in its stead am I being honest about what my priorities are?
  1. If I am responsible for the (physical / spiritual) well being of someone else – should my own needs ever take priority?
  1. In the perfect world will there be time for everything on our list of priorities or will it merely become clear how our time should be best spent?

Binyamin – always looking for a good question. (and glad to have once again found some)

Friday, October 15, 2010

FNQ - New Parsha Shiur

Lech L'cha - Derech Eretz from lodging to loans

It has been a while since I have written anything so what better way to get things rolling than to share a thought on the parsha.  I hope to put up my  parsha shiur each week after giving it on Thursday nights.  My plan is to focus on a different issue pertaining to midot and various aspects of mitzvot bein adam l'chaveiro.  This shiur is based on a comment of  Rashi describing some of the lessons in derech eretz that we can learn from father Abraham on his return from Egypt.  Have a good shabbos.

Binyamin - always looking for a good question
Shiur on Parshat Lech l'cha
Source sheet for parshat lech l'cha