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.)

Thursday, August 15, 2019

INSIGHT 5779 - #41: SEFER HAYASHAR

For  V'etchanan
 
Not yet available on the Nishma website

Thursday, August 8, 2019

INSIGHT 5779 - #40: LIFNIM MESHURAT HADIN

For  Tisha B'Av
 
Not yet available on the Nishma website

Friday, August 2, 2019

INSIGHT 5779 - #39: CONSEQUENCE

For  Masei
 
Not yet available on the Nishma website

Friday, July 26, 2019

INSIGHT 5779 - #38: JUDGING ONESELF AND ANOTHER

For  Pnchus
 
Not yet available on the Nishma website

Friday, July 19, 2019

INSIGHT 5779 - #37: BONDS OF SOCIETY

For  Balak
 
Not yet available on the Nishma website

For clarification purposes, I just want to further explain my point. To draw someone into a certain plan of behaviour which this person may find objectionable, the first step may be to draw the person into an activity which the person actually values. In sharing this activity with this other, some connection may also form. Steps can then be taken to foster the connection while drawing the person into other behaviours which this person may not necessarily value as much but would still not find objectionable. As the connection then strengthens, especially if it is seen as a value in itself, a slightly objectionable action could then be suggested and if that works, the potential to draw the person into further objectionable activities could be a result. As there is a connection between sexuality and relating, one could see how such a path could lead a person who values human relationships, over some time period, to be drawn in, by an initial simple act of relating, into a sexual misdeed -- even, albeit, initial concern for inappropriate sexuliaty.
Rabbi Ben Hecht

Friday, July 12, 2019

INSIGHT 5779 - #36: THE DEFINITION OF THE TZADDIK

For  Chukkat
 
Not yet available on the Nishma website



One may wonder why we could not learn the idea I present in the Insight directly from the story of Moshe and the rock found completely within this Parsha. The fact that Moshe and Aharon are deemed to have sinned and, as such, faced the consequence of not entering Israel would seem to convey the same message regarding righteousness. We do not see righteousness from a micro perspective and while one is still responsible for the details of one's actions, the tzaddik is evaluated from the macro perspective, the gestalt. The fact is, though, that the problem with Moshe's hitting of the rock is unclear and there is so much ambiguity regarding this action, a lesson of this nature could be easily circumvented. While there is much discussion regarding what exactly Miriam did wrong, there is no doubt that a transgression was done. Nevertheless, the righteousness of Miriam is never challenged.

Friday, July 5, 2019

INSIGHT 5779 - #35: VALUE AND AGENDA

For  Korach
 
Not yet available on the Nishma website

Friday, June 28, 2019

INSIGHT 5779 - #34: RELATING TO GOD

For  Shelach
 
Not yet available on the Nishma website

Friday, June 21, 2019

INSIGHT 5779 - #33: YITRO: UNIVERSAL AND PARTICULAR

For  Beha’alotcha
 
Not yet available on the Nishma website

Friday, June 7, 2019

INSIGHT 5779 - #32: THE UNIQUENESS OF SINAI

For  Shavuot
 
Not yet available on the Nishma website

Friday, May 31, 2019

INSIGHT 5779 - #31 - PURPOSE AND GOAL

For  Bechukotai
 
Not yet available on the Nishma website

Friday, May 24, 2019

INSIGHT 5779 - #30: BEYOND FREEDOM ARE VALUES

For  Behar
 
Not yet available on the Nishma website

Friday, May 17, 2019

INSIGHT 5779 - #29: PROTECTING THE TORAH

For Emor
 
Not yet available on the Nishma website

Friday, May 10, 2019

INSIGHT 5779 - #28: JUSTICE AND KINDNESS

For Kedoshim
 
Not yet available on the Nishma website

Friday, May 3, 2019

INSIGHT 5779 - #27: FOREIGN CUSTOMS

For Acharei Mot
 
Not yet available on the Nishma website

Thursday, April 25, 2019

INSIGHT 5779 - #26: CHOSEN

For Pesach
 
Not yet available on the Nishma website

Friday, April 19, 2019

INSIGHT 5779 - #25: FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY

For Pesach
 
Not yet available on the Nishma website

Friday, April 12, 2019

INSIGHT 5779 - #24: UNIVERSALITY AND TORAH

For Shabbat Hagadol and Pesach
 
Not yet available on the Nishma website

Friday, April 5, 2019

INSIGHT 5779 - #23: THE NATION’S FIRST MITZVAH

For Parshat HaChodesh
 
Not yet available on the Nishma website

Friday, March 29, 2019

Insight 5779-23: The Value of Distinction

For Shemini
 
Not yet available on the Nishma website

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

INSIGHT 5779 - #20: THE ENDS AND THE MEANS

For Pekudei
 
Not yet available on the Nishma website

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

INSIGHT 5779 - #19: THE HUMAN PURSUIT OF JUSTICE

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

INSIGHT 5779 - #17: GIVE ME LIBERTY OR…

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.

RBH 

Friday, January 11, 2019

INSIGHT 5779 - #16: MOCKING EGYPT

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

INSIGHT 5779 - #15: THE WHOLE PICTURE

For Va'era
 
Not yet available on the Nishma website