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, November 16, 2012

Insight 5773-09: The Stimulus Cause of Bracha

For Toldot

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Insight 5773-08: The Wisdom of the Zaken

For Chayei Sarah

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Insight 5773-07: The Mechanics of Kiddush Hashem

For Lech Lecha

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Insight 5773-06: The Movement of Value Traits

For Noach

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Insight 5773-05: Creation and Change

For Bereishit

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Insight 5773-04: The Chuppah

For Yitro and V'zot HaBracha

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Insight 5773-03: Giving Up

For Ha'azinu

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Insight 5773 - 02: Atheists v. Theists: Wha Has Done More Evil?

For Yom Kippur

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Insight 5773-01: Distinctions in Honour

For Netzavim

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Insight 5772-44: Defining A Mitzvah

For Ki Teitzei

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Insight 5772-43: Beyond Behaviour

For Re'eh

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Insight 5772-42: THE PARADOXICAL CHALLENGE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

For Ekev

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Insight 5772: The Prism of Destruction

For Tisha B'Av

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Insight 5772-40: Yehoshua

For Pinchus

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Insight 5772-39: The Prophet Status of Bilaam

For Balak

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Insight 5772-38: Miriam's Well

For Chukkat

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Insight 5772-37: Asking the Right Question

For Korach

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Insight 5772-36: The Trip to Chevron

For Shelach

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Insight 5772-35: A Body of Policy

For Beha'alotcha

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Insight 5772-34: The Psychology of Sotah

For Naso

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Insight 5772-33: Bamidbar and Shavuot

For Bamidbar / Shavuot

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Insight 5772-32: The Sabbath of a Nation

For Behar / Bechukotai

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Insight 5772-31: The Essence of Humanity

For Emor

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Insight 5772-30: A Holy Congregation

For Acharei Mot / Kedoshim

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Insight 5772-29: Contagious

For Tazria / Metzora

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Insight 5772-28: The Non-Kosher Food Object

For Shemini

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Insight 5772-27: Freedom's Stage at the Sea

For Pesach, Beshalach

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Insight 5772-26: A Nation Forged by Mitzvah

For Pesach, Bo

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Insight 5772-25: Chesron Kis

For Tzav

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Insight 5772-24: Chatot

For Vayikra

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Insight 5772-23: Passivity

For Vayakhel

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Insight 5772-22: Alcohol

For Purim

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Insight 5772-21: The Role of Moshe

For Tetzaveh

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Insight 5772-20: The Emotions of Giving

For Terumah

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Insight 5772-19: The Superior Morality of Halachic Study

For Mishpatim

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Insight 5772-18: Existential Study

For Yitro

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Insight 5772-17: Natural and Supernatural

For Beshalach

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Insight 5772-16: Bechira

For Bo

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Insight 5772-15: Setting Them Up for the Fall

For Va'era

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Insight 5772-14: The Jew in a Foreign Land

For Shemot

Not yet available on the Nishma website.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Insight 5772-13: The Necessity of Honour

For Vayechi

Not yet available on the Nishma website.