Welcome to the Nishma Insight Discussion Forum blog.


The NISHMA INSIGHT is our popular dvar Torah, distributed almost every week by e-mail, that touches upon an important concept in the Parsha, theme in a holiday or event in contemporary society.

Often, readers respond, via e-mail, with comments that initiate a further dialogue. Through this Discussion Forum, we now wish to open this dialogue to others. If you have a comment on the INSIGHT, we invite you place to your comments here; then we invite everyone to join the discussion.

(If you are not receiving the NISHMA INSIGHT, we invite you join our mailing/e-mail list through completing our sign-up form available at our website.)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Insight 5773-15: The Goal and the Process

For Vayechi
Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Study Question

1) The question exists, upon reading Rav Henkin's words, how modern day Israel fits into this mix. It would seem that the modern return to Zion also demanded of us to fight for what is right rather than simply consider peace above all else.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Insight 5773-14: The Death of a Son

For Vayigash
Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Study Questions

1) We can start with the very question inherent in the Insight. How does one balance a vision of the world totally directed by God with a vision of the world that appears random and demands our involvement in action? Ramchal's Da'at Tevunot may be a place to start.

2) There is actually a deeper side to the Insight that is clearly implied in its words but is somewhat also deflected in the writing. The question is not only about how we are to respond but also how we are to feel. Yosef's question was existential -- which means that he believed Yaakov would have responded to the ways of the world as is, without a comfort in knowing that everything is ultimately for the good. Yet we are also to believe that everything is for the good which the Chassidic masters indicate is the very basis of the ability to always be in simcha. How can one combine these two emotions?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Insight 5773-13: The Lesson of the Nes Nigleh

For Miketz and Chanukah
Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Study Questions

1) The Chassidishe story at the end of the Insight raises the question: How can one know, without direct input from God either through a nes nigleh or the response of a prophet, whether a difficulty that we encounter is a silent message that we should reconsider our action or a challenge that we are called upon to overcome?

2) This bothered me last week as well: why did Yosef not tell the brothers of the scorpions in the pit -- or did he try but they wouldn't listen to him?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Insight 5773-12: Ein Bo Mayim

For Vayeshev
Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Study Questions

1) The issue of the perplexing nature of Yosef would seem to be even further highlighted through the thoughts presented in the Insight. Yosef was clearly a person for whom open miracles did occur yet his brothers, the equally righteous sons of Yaakov, saw him in an entirely different -- in fact, opposite -- light. This is the underlying question throughout this story. How could this be?

2) The issue or perception in regard to an open miracle is also a subject worth addressing. For a miracle to have an impact, it is not enough for it to have been performed but it is necessary for those witnessing this event to be able to perceive that it did occur. What would be this test, though, of perception?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Insight 5773-11: From Yaakov to Yisrael - Tihe Birth of Dynamic Mesora

For Vayishlach
Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Study Questions

1) The obvious question must be: why now? What was unique about the sons of Yaakov that indicated that they would be able to form this kehal goyim while this would not have been a possibility for Yitzchak and Yishmael or Yaakov and Esav? Or could it have been a possibility for the previous generations as well yet the distinction of Yaakov's sons were that they were all righteous?

2) How does this understanding of the mesora change the way you view the previous episodes in the Chumash and change the possible way you will now look at the story of Yosef?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Insight 5773-10: Hoda'ah

For Vayeitzei
Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Study Question
It would seem that pursuant to the thesis of this Insight, hoda'ah in its pristine form does not just reflect thanks, praise and wonderment but also has a factor of bewilderment, even mystery. The birth of Yehuda falls into this category for, with this birth, Leah assumes a unique position amongst the wives of Yaakov, including Rachel, as a foremother of the Jewish People. The question is why and this is a mystery and it is within this context that Leah gives hoda'ah to God -- and this is something that we thereby learn we should aspire to include in all our expressions of hoda'ah. Still, as in the case of chukim, those mitzvot which we not only don't understand but inherent can never fully understand, we are still bidden to attempt to understand this mystery -- and so the question: Why is it that Leah Immeinu -- the mother of Yehuda and Levi and the wife buried beside Yaakov -- acquired this status?  

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday, April 27, 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012