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 29, 2017

Friday, December 15, 2017

Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday, November 24, 2017

Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday, November 3, 2017

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Friday, July 21, 2017

Insight 5777-38: FINDING THE BALANCE

For Parshat Mattot
Not yet available on the Nishma website

It is interesting to note, in consideration of the thoughts expressed in the Insight, the midrashic view that the tribe of Gad was really motivated, in their request for this land on the other side of the Jordan, by a desire to remain in the land in which Moshe was buried. They wanted to stay near their teacher. See Yalkut Shimoni, Vezot HaBracha 962.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Friday, June 30, 2017

Insight 5777-36: THE FLOW OF THE TEXT

For Parshat Chukkat
Not yet available on the Nishma website

This recognition of how distraught the Jewish People were in response to Miriam's death may also, perhaps, provide some insight into their behaviour in regard to their request for water. The nation suffered a great loss and they felt it. This may have affected even this new generation which would be entering the land. The emotions of the moment may have been a mitigating factor.

This may also have been a factor in regard to Moshe and Aharon. They lost their sister. This fact still does not explain what transpired with them -- which ultimately is seen as a mystery -- but their emotions of the moment may be a matter to consider in some way. (The fact is that this would be a factor which would make them possibly less culpable, adding to the overall question of what actually happened that brought forth this response from God.)


Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday, June 16, 2017

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday, May 12, 2017

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday, March 17, 2017

Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday, March 3, 2017

Insight 5777-23: "Separation of Church and State"

For Terumah
Not yet available on the Nishma website

One may wonder how the ideas developed in the Insight may impact on the concept of Freedom of Religion which would seem to flow from this separation of church and state. Does the Torah, thus, accept no concept of Freedom of Religion? On one hand, this would seem obvious but given that the Jewish People have benefited from this concept as practiced by others, it would seem difficult to dismiss it outright. 

In this regard, please see my latest shiur on Koshertube on "Religion and Freedom of Religion" at http://koshertube.com/videos/index.php?option=com_seyret&Itemid=4&task=videodirectlink&id=23990 and also available on the new Koshertube of Youtube site at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9oy8aH5joo  

Friday, February 10, 2017


For Beshalach
Not yet available on the Nishma website

 It should be noted that the Rav then extends his idea to further explain the similar value in all readings of Tanach. We, thus, also gain similar strength in all readings of a haftara and the megillot.  - RBH

Friday, February 3, 2017

Insight 5777-19: Gold and Silver

For Bo
Not yet available on the Nishma website

It  should be noted, in that God assured Avraham that the nation would leave with riches and also effectively God was directing the nation to receive their just compensation from the Egyptians (see T.B. Sanhedrin 91a), this act of asking for the valuables was obviously beneficial for the nation at the time. It was the nation's mindset at the time which could not see this. The argument would thus be that God should have, perhaps, challenged this mindset rather than accepting it through changing the language of His directive.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Insight 5777-16: Communication

For Vayechi
Not yet available on the Nishma website

As an illustration of this issue, I would like to share this story of the Chafetz Chaim.
In the city in which Rabbi Elchanan Wasserman, a foremost student of the Chafetz Chaim, was the Rav, there was a wealthy man who wanted to meet the Chafetz Chaim. This man asked Rav Elchanan to try and arrange this, which he was happy to do. The man then went to Rodin to spend some time in the company of the Chafetz Chaim.

Upon this man's return to his home, Rav Elchanan asked him all about his trip and what he learned about the Chafetz Chaim. The man replied that, in truth, he was really impressed with the Chafetz Chaim's son for anytime he wanted to speak you could see the struggle within him as whether this would be proper or not. As for the Chafetz Chaim, though, he just talked to everyone without any hesitation. He didn't see any specialness in his behaviour.

Rav Elchanan then asked the man whether, in all the time he was with the Chafetz Chaim and in the all the conversations which he overheard, he ever heard the Chafetz Chaim say anything incorrect. The man thought and replied that he did not. Now, Rav Elchanan said, you understand the true greatness of the Chafetz Chaim: he can communicate with all in a manner that looks absolutely normal but he also, at the same time, maintained the highest ethical standards.

Indeed, Rav Elchanan said, the Chafetz Chaim's son is a great man for he understood the challenge of communication and always tried to do what was right. He, though, was still not the Chafetz Chaim who had internalized in his being the answer to this challenge.