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Balak 5776: Everyone and Anyone

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“Actually, you know, my middle son was studying 18th-century history and the American War of Independence, and he said to me the other day, ‘You know, Lord North, Dad, he was the British prime minister who lost us America. So just think, however many mistakes you’ll make, you’ll never make one that bad.’” —Hon...

Bava Kama 44-51

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May these words of Torah serve as a merit le’iluy nishmat Menachem Mendel Ben Harav Yoel David Balk a”h.


This week we learned Bava Kama 46 and 47. These are some highlights.

Bava Kama 46: Must an employer pursue his employees to pay them?

Ahavas Chessed (9:11) writes a novel law about the following case: An employee finished his job and asked the employer for his pay. The employer did not have the ability to pay him then; he told the man, “Unfortunately, I do not currently have the cash to give you what I owe you.” Later that day the employer received funds and could pay the worker. However, when he got the money the employee was not around to get paid. Must the employer...

Balak: Kabbalat Shabbat at the Infirmary

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In his role as an itinerant storyteller (and a summer camp doctor), the Maggid has been privileged to serve on the staff of a wonderful sleepaway camp in Pennsylvania for eight years. The following story is one of those rare Maggid tales that is actually based on a true incident. It’s a little bloody, so reader’s discretion is advised.

Bamidbar: 23: 21

Medical emergencies never happen at a convenient time. (Is there such a thing as a convenient emergency?)

I was in the infirmary, just finishing up a last-minute breathing treatment on a little boy who was wheezing, when the nurses rushed her in. Ruchi was dressed in her Shabbat finest, a simple white blouse and a fancy blue skirt...

10 Must-Know Facts About the Teaneck Eruv

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As a follow-up to last week’s column, please note the following important information regarding the Teaneck eruv.

1) The Teaneck Eruv Team—The Teaneck eruv has since its inception been a fine eruv. Recently, intensive efforts have been made to further upgrade the eruv. First, let’s introduce our team. The lay leaders, Joey Bodner and Murray Leben, are a constant source of support and encouragement to the rabbanim to maintain the Teaneck Eruv at the highest standard possible. An eruv vaad has been created with myself, Rav Rothwachs, Rav Sobolofsky and Rav Taubes serving as the rabbinic leadership for the eruv. Most important, Rav Micha Shotkin has been hired to serve as the...

The True Power

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The Gemara in Bechorot poses the question as to why honey is considered to be kosher. The Torah prohibits any secretion or part of a living being from being consumed while the creature or animal is still alive. The same question is posed elsewhere concerning milk. The basis of this law is the prohibition of “ever min hachai,” one of the seven Noahide laws instructed by Hashem to all mankind in Parshat Noach. The Gemara concludes that milk is kosher based on the pasuk’s explicit praise of Eretz Yisrael as being a land flowing with milk and honey. The Gemara concludes that honey is kosher for a different reason. In Parshat Balak, Bilaam, a non-Jewish prophet, was hired by Balak to...
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