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“Honor your father and your mother.” (20:12)

To what extent must one honor his parents? Horav Yitzchak Zilberstein, Shlita, focuses on the degree of kavod, honor, one must accord to a parent who, due to illness or advanced age, has a deteriorated mental capacity. The question becomes stronger in situations when the illness has advanced to the point that there are serious issues of extreme hardship for the children, both as sons or daughters to their parents and as husbands or wives to their respective mates. How much does one have to sacrifice for a parent? How much hardship, and – at times – abuse must one…

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“Beware of ascending the mountain or touching its edge; whoever touches the mountain shall surely die.” (19:12)

Rabbi Paysach Krohn cites the Kotzker Rebbe’s homiletic interpretation of this pasuk. This was to be the basis of a speech  that  Rabbi  Moshe  Sherer,z.l., was to deliver at Agudath Israel’s 76th Annual Dinner. Regrettably, Rabbi Sherer, who served as Agudah’s president for over thirty years, passed away that morning. The following is the Rebbe’s exegesis and Rabbi Sherer’s supplemental note. There are instances when one undertakes a project with the desire to make a significant contribution via his work. All too often, as happens with many of us, we do not achieve our planned goals. Yet, this does not faze…

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“The name of one was Gershom, for he had said, ‘I was a sojourner in a strange land.’” (18:3)

Horav Shlomo Margolis, Shlita, notes that Yosef Ha’tzadik named his first son Menasheh because “G-d has made me forget  all  my  hardship  and  all  my  father’s     household” (Bereishis 41:51). Upon naming their sons, Moshe Rabbeinu and Yosef recognized the significance of remembering the past. There are people who attempt to erase the past, to eradicate the memories of the previous generation, its culture and way of life. Some are even ashamed of the past, considering it to be obsolete and antiquated. Not so the Torah- oriented Jew. He remembers the past; he venerates the past; he lives the present and…

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“Yisro heard… everything that G-d did to Moshe and to Yisrael, His people.” (18:1)

Yisro heard about two events: the miracles at the Red Sea, when the Egyptians were punished for their treachery; and the war against Amalek, when Klal Yisrael triumphed over their archenemy. Yisro was not the only one who “heard.” Many heard; he, however, internalized it and acted positively in response. Why did Yisro need two incidents to impress upon him the greatness of Hashem and His People? Was not the splitting of the Red Sea a sufficient miracle to influence his way of thinking? Indeed, the war with Amalek could have been misconstrued as a victory effected by Klal Yisrael’s…

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