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.

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Friday, March 15, 2019

INSIGHT 5779 - #21: MY TRUTH

For Parshat Zachor
Not yet available on the Nishma website

1) There is, perhaps, an interesting application of this idea in regard to the Purim story. T.B. Megilla 12b informs us that the people were hesitant in responding to the edict to attack the Jews because they were concerned about the potential for Achashveirosh to change his mind and punish them for following his first intentions after he changed his mind. His edicts were simply not well thought out as evidenced by his edict that the husband should objectively be the head of the household notwithstanding the actual reality of the subjective nature of the individual husband-wife relationship. (See, further, Rashi.) This is the way of the evil person -- to state a truth regardless of its basis in reality -- and this was Achashveirosh. (Perhaps, also, connecting to the classic question of whether he was just a fool or more evil than Haman). In this case, imposing his 'My Truth' actually worked for the benefit of the Jewish People.

2) It was intention that I chose the title 'My Truth", obviously referring to the modern use of this term. This is not to say that the use of this term always reflects evil -- it clearly does not and there are times, in fact, when we should use this term to reflect the proper application of our subjective evaluation of the facts within the parameters of honest objectivity. My use of this term, though, does still indicate that people must be careful not to follow Amalek's lead to define one's behaviour notwithstanding what is absolutely known to be the objective reality.

Friday, March 8, 2019


For Pekudei
Not yet available on the Nishma website

Tuesday, January 29, 2019


For Mishpatim
Not yet available on the Nishma website

Friday, January 25, 2019

Insight 5779-18: Seeking the Whole

For Yitro
Not yet available on the Nishma website

In regard to the verse of Anochi, I should add that it is further significant that many believe it not to be an actual commandment. While Rambam does count it as actual mitzvah, many others do not. They define it precisely as laying the basis for the mitzvot. This idea would further substantiate the thought presented in the Insight.

Friday, January 18, 2019


For Beshalach
Not yet available on the Nishma website

It is of interest to note that Patrick Henry saw his words a reflecting a deep commitment to the human being being created in the image of God. Liberty was not to be a license for a person to do whatever a person desired. It was the freedom for one to do all that was necessary to reach the Divine goal for the person. It was clearly a Torah value which he enunciated. The freedom attained through the Exodus from Egypt was not intended to allow people to be as hedonistic as they may wish. It was actually a transfer from being slaves of Pharaoh to becoming ovdei Hashem [servants of God]. Part of this task was for one to grow and develop, more and more, into this type of person. It is a lack of this understanding of what liberty truly is from which we suffer from in today's world.


Friday, January 11, 2019


For Bo
Not yet available on the Nishma website

The existence of free will is, of course, what makes us culpable for our actions and thereby grow and develop into singular beings able to emulate God to the extent that we can. Pharaoh and the Egyptians, in order to be subject to the punishments inflicted by the plagues had to have free will. What this Insight is adding, though, is that it is also important for us to recognize that, even as we think we are so right and believe in the strength of our decisions and being, what we may be experiencing is not our free will but its actual removal from us by God. We can also be in the Hands of God Who is directing us pursuant to His plan and objective. That recognition is an important realization in challenging our potential haughtiness.

Friday, January 4, 2019


For Va'era
Not yet available on the Nishma website