Parashat Kedoshim – How to be holy

This week’s second parasha starts off with the commandment to be holy. Why? Not because it’s logical or moral, but rather, simply because Hashem himself is holy. דַּבֵּ֞ר אֶל־כָּל־עֲדַ֧ת בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל וְאָמַרְתָּ֥ אֲלֵהֶ֖ם קְדֹשִׁ֣ים תִּהְי֑וּ כִּ֣י קָד֔וֹשׁ אֲנִ֖י יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃ Speak to the whole Israelite community and say to them: You shall be holy, for I, the LORD your God, am

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SHABBAT PURIM: The Megillah’s Life Lesson Regarding Getting Along With Others

For the eternal merit to the soul of my grandfather Yitzchak Aziz Ben Mashallah Hacohen A”H When Haman was promoted to second-in-command, the king ordered that every passerby must bow down to him. The Gemara (Sanhedrin 61b) explains that it was halachically permissible to comply with this edict, for there was no issue of actual idolatry involved. As a result,

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PARSHAT MISHPATIM: Do You Communicate?

For the eternal merit to the soul of my grandfather Yitzchak Aziz Ben Mashallah Hacohen A”H The great revelation at Sinai was a most significant moment in the experience of communication. The event is described as an experience like “eating and drinking;” a real, live, enjoyable experience. Moshe, the leader of the people, achieved an even greater level of communication

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Fallacies of Articles Past

In 2019 – when I first started at the VT Scroll as the Opinion Editor – I wrote a relatively bulky article titled “UBI: An Unexpected Antidote”. In it, I discussed the merits of universal basic income as a replacement for the current welfare regime – particularly in how it could reduce bureaucracy. Notably, I argued at the time that

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PARSHAT VAYECHI: THE TRUE MEANING OF A B’NEI TORAH

For the eternal merit to the soul of my grandfather Yitzchak Aziz Ben Mashallah Hacohen A”H ” יִשָּׂשכָ֖ר חֲמֹ֣ר גָּ֑רֶם רֹבֵ֖ץ בֵּ֥ין הַֽמִּשְׁפְּתָֽיִם׃” Pashas Bereshis, Perek 49, Passuk 14-(בראשית פרק מ״ט פסוק יד) Parshas Vayechi contains the final blessings that Yaakov gave to each of his sons prior to his death. In his blessing to the tribe of Yissochar, whose

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PARSHAT VAYIGASH: WE SHOULDN’T MEASURE SUCCESS BY FAME, FORTUNE, OR POWER

For the eternal  merit  to the soul of my grandfather Yitzchak Aziz Ben Mashallah Hacohen A”H When Yosef ’s brothers returned home and informed Yaakov that he was still alive and was the viceroy in Egypt, Yaakov’s first response was one of disbelief. However, when he saw the wagons that Yosef sent, Yaakov became convinced that they were telling the

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Valley Torah Boys Return to statewide Mock Trial Tournament – now on zoom

In the first week of September, the Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF) announced the restart of the National Mock Trial Competition. This year the CRF announced that while the organization is not canceling the competition due to COVID-19, they will complete the competition via Zoom. What this meant for David Kerendian (’22) and I (’22), co-captains of the VTHS boys’ team,

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A simpler cure to Corruption – featuring original research

In 2014 a report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies placed the annual global cost of corruption at over a trillion United States dollars. For context, that accounted for 1.3 percent of global GDP in 2014.  Years later, a 2018 report issued by the World Economic Forum estimated corruption consumed 5 percent of global GDP.   While estimates vary

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Transition authorized: Trump admin. cooperating with biden team

It has been nearly three weeks since election day 2020 and more than two weeks since the race was called by major media sites, but only today can president-elect Joe Biden officially begin the presidential transition process.  The General Services Administration (GSA) is an independent U.S. government agency that helps manage the functioning of most federal agencies in America. The transition of

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PARSHAT TOLDOT: EISAV’S IDEOLOGY

” וַיֵּצֵ֤א הָרִאשׁוֹן֙ אַדְמוֹנִ֔י כֻּלּ֖וֹ כְּאַדֶּ֣רֶת שֵׂעָ֑ר וַיִּקְרְא֥וּ שְׁמ֖וֹ עֵשָֽׂו וְאַֽחֲרֵי־כֵ֞ן יָצָ֣א אָחִ֗יו וְיָד֤וֹ אֹחֶ֙זֶת֙ בַּעֲקֵ֣ב עֵשָׂ֔ו וַיִּקְרָ֥א שְׁמ֖וֹ יַעֲקֹ֑ב וְיִצְחָ֛ק בֶּן־שִׁשִּׁ֥ים שָׁנָ֖ה בְּלֶ֥דֶת אֹתָֽם (בראשית פרק כה פסוקים כה-כו) For the eternal  merit  to the soul of my grandfather Yitzchak Aziz Ben Mashallah Hacohen A”H After Eisav emerged from Rivkah’s womb, Yaakov came out after him holding on to

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Against Internship-interventionism

The earlier half of October saw the European Parliament – a legislature elected by citizens of European Union member states – vote on a resolution which, amongst other items, called for a ban on unpaid internships. The vote passed with eight-two percent in favor, eleven percent opposed, and the remainder abstaining.  The resolution emphatically condemns unpaid internships as a violation

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The Houston Trashtros: The Methods, Discovery, and Punishment of One of the Biggest Cheating Scandals in MLB History

In October 2017, the Houston Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in an epic 7 game World Series to take home the first championship in their 55 year history. Led by MVP Jose Altuve, former 1st overall pick Carlos Correa, and World Series MVP George Springer, the Astros won 101 games in the 2017 regular season, their best season in

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SAt / act in 2020?

As a high school student now trying to apply to college, we all face a similar situation due to COVID-19: should we take the SAT or ACT?  Because of the Global Pandemic, the College Board and American College Testing organizations, creators of these standardized tests, asked colleges for the upcoming year to be sympathetic to high schoolers and acknowledge that

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Parshas Pekudei: Every Letter Counts

Parshat Pekudei is well known as one of the most descriptive Parshiot in the Torah, especially with regards to the building of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). When delving into the Parsha itself, the first Possuk (verse) of the Torah appears to have a blatant redundancy where it says “אלה פקודי המשכן, משכן העדת” (translation: These are the accounts of the Mishkan,

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Sofer Station 2: Adar Beis Special!

Welcome back to The Sofer’s Station! The second month of Adar has arrived! Being that one of the four mitzvot of Purim, celebrated this month, is to read the Megillah, the next couple of articles will briefly talk about important “ingredients” in writing a Megillah, specifically Megillat Esther. These “ingredients” will be scrutinized in detail in later articles. As mentioned

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“Snowflake Culture” Comes From Both Sides…Especially at Valley Torah

Unless you have been living under a very large rock there is no doubt you have heard the term “snowflake”—a derogatory term placed on someone who gets easily offended. Commonly used to put down people on the left side of the political spectrum, a snowflake believes that they are, for some reason or another, entitled to special treatment. Recently, however,

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Shabbaton 2018-19: A Weekend of Achdus and School Spirit

Of the many events in a Valley Torah Student’s career, one that can’t be missed is the annual winter Shabbaton. Much like all of the other meticulously planned school events, the Shabbaton has been designed for decades by our Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Stulberger, and graciously executed by Rabbi Semmel and other administrators over the times, as a weekend where students

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Israel in Review: 2018

In the month of January, many of us get reminiscent about the previous year. With American politics as crazy as they now are, let’s take a look at how 2018 treated the state of Israel. The year didn’t start off too well for the Israeli government. Amid allegations of corruption, the government opened an investigation into Prime Minister Netanyahu’s affairs

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The Sofer’s Station: Intro

Hello and welcome to the Sofer’s Station! One thing that I am currently studying is how to become a Sofer סת״ם (Stam).  סת״ם stands for ספר תורה, תפילין, ומזוזות (Sefer Torah, Tefillin, and Mezuzah). A Sofer סת״ם writes these holy objects. There are many different halachot when dealing with the halachot of סת״ם. I will be writing the Halachic section

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VTHS 2019 Baseball Preview

The new baseball season is approaching quickly and there’s a lot to look forward to this year for the Valley Torah Wolfpack. Returning players such as Eli Solomon (‘19) and Yosee Kreitenberg (‘20) have been recently appointed captains and look to lead the team to their first playoff berth in three years. Both Eli and Yosee have been playing since

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“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

Expensive shoes forced on my vagabond feet Drag me on their own pilgrimage.  Royal clothing shield my longing heart From the people whom hold my friendship.  Free me. Free my soul. Free my path. Release me to my people. 

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PARSHAT KORACH: AHARON’S RESPECT FOR HIS FELLOW JEWS

The Torah in Parashat Korah delineates the twenty-four “Matenot Kehuna” – gifts that the Kohanim are to receive from the rest of the nation. After listing all the various gifts, G-d commands Moshe to tell Aharon that these gifts are a “Berit Melah Olam” – literally, “an eternal covenant of salt” (18:19). Different approaches have been taken to explain the

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Parashat Sh’lach – Positive Evaluation

Viewpoints can be found throughout our nation’s history, whether it’d be Avraham’s viewpoints on who the master of the world is down to who the Jews thought should be king after Shlomo Hamelech’s passing. From explaining why some people did a certain action down to how they view the world, subjectivity is crucial in developing a person. While Hakadosh Baruch

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PARSHAT NASO:HASHEM IN AN ORDERLY AND DISCIPLINED FASHION

Our Rabbis teach us that everything written in the Torah is recorded because of its relevance to every Jew in every generation. Why are the seemingly trivial details which dominate Parshat Naso, such as the arrangement of the encampments of the various tribes, significant and relevant to us? Rav Aharon Kotler suggests that although this information seems like historical facts

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If you prick us do we not bleed? A shakespearean take on the the logical fallacies of anti-semitism

In response to recent anti-Semitic incidents that have taken place in major cities across the globe, including New York, London, Paris, Jerusalem, and my hometown of Los Angeles, a quote from a 16th-century play by William Shakespeare comes to mind. In the first scene of the third act of Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare conveyed an unprecedented message

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A conversation with dr. presbi: Fiber-optics, intelligent Design, and the big bang

This past Thursday, May 13, 2021, Valley Torah students gathered in the outdoor Beis Midrash tent for a talk with world-renowned physicist Dr. Chaim Presby regarding an array of topics ranging from his work with fiber-optics to his viewpoint on macroevolution and intelligent design. Dr. Presby is a senior lecturer for outreach programs associated with Gateways and has been a

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PARSHAT BAMIDBAR: The Greater the Person is, the Greater the Load he is Given

This week’s parsha delineates the various responsibilities of the Levi’im. “And the assignment of Elazar ben Aaron HaKohein is the oil of illumination, the spices of the incense, the daily flour offering and the anointment oil” (Bamidbar 4, 16). Rashi cites the Gemara Yerushalmi which explains that Elazar was not merely charged with overseeing that the above items were transferred

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Parashat Bechukotai – Fear and Love of Hakadosh Baruch Hu

Although this article will be discussing punishments, it is still heartbreaking to witness a tragic incident. Along with the rest of the Jewish nation, I am devastated because of the horrific events of last week’s Meron tragedy. May it be the last tragedy the Jewish nation ever faces. Bechukotai has more Psukim discussing curses than blessings. Specifically, while the list

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Chesed club hosts Gift of Life Marrow Registry to help cure blood cancer

Amid an unprecedented hiatus in its group activity, the Valley Torah Chesed Club has decided to end off this disaster-trotted year with as many community service projects as possible- and remarkable ones too. The National Foundation for Cancer Research reports that approximately one person is diagnosed with blood cancer every 3 minutes, just in the United States. In 2020 alone, an estimated

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