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For an adult who is just starting to read the weekly parasha, which of those would you recommend a beginning learner? Torah Lights or Covenant & Conversation? B'shalom, Lady Arwen Legolas Wilson

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Last week’s Torah portion brings up brief mention of two people described as prophets: Eldad and Meidad. What comes to mind is that Eldad’s name comes first, before Meidad. Obviously, when two people are described, one’s name has to be mentioned first. But nothing in the Torah is random. Is there any particular reason Eldad comes first before Meidad? And if so, what would that be?

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In Exodus 34.7 it says, "He does not remit all punishment, but visits the iniquity of parents upon children and children's children, upon the third and fourth generations." Can you please tell me what this means to you? Will my children be punished for my sins? Will their children be punished for my sins? Will their children's children be punished for my sins? Please explain in as much detail as you can. Do you have anything on this topic? Thank you very much.

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Hi Rabbi. My question is - does listening to recorded shiurim count (or considered) as the mitzvah of learning Torah? Basically, is it a mitzvah to listen to podcasts about the Torah and Talmud? Thanks so much! All the very best, Stephen.

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In Devarim it is commanded to gather — Hakhel — at the end of the Sabbatical year. But is there a command to gather together on (every) Shabbat or the Moadim? Of course Vayikra 23 calls such moments Mikra Kodesh or Holy Convocations, but do these really imply that we should gather and keep these days together? Or are these just general statements in order that we should just proclaim these days as different as the other days and keep the holiness of these specific moments? The words "mikra kodesh" could be taken to mean "a declaration of sanctity," referring to the holiness of a day or appointed time. While translated as "a holy convocation" it refers to a group of people assembled for a special purpose; they are called together for a holy meeting, "a set-apart-gathering." So the question is: If we are really commanded to gather on these days and appointed times, or that these days and appointed times are only to be declared as holy days; i.e. are to be set apart from all other days?

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Dear Rabbi, I am trying to teach myself Gemorrah and I saw you gave a lecture on מצוה מבאה בעבירה on YU Torah. Might I ask you some questions about this? I started in the third פרק of Sukkot where R. Yochanan says a stolen לולב is פסול on Sukkot because it is a מצוה מבאה בעבירה. Question 1: Why didn’t the גמ' object to the stolen הושענת as a מצוה הבאה בעבירה? Question 2: What would be the case if I already owned a kosher לולב but stole a better one and used the stolen one? I don’t “need” the stolen one to do the מצווה? On the other hand, it is a מצוה מבאה בעבירה Question 3: What if you need a לולב on the first day and I have one I’m willing to give to you on one condition. The transfer is חל the moment you draw a drop of blood from your father. Is that a מצוה מבאה בעבירה? Is there a פגם on the לולב because it was obtained thru an עבירה, similar to גניבה? Or is it like Tosafot’s example of climbing a tree on שבת to get to a perfectly good sukkah on the top of the tree? Question 4: Does a מצוה מבאה בעבירה apply to an אסור committed בדיעבד? For example, you thought you found an ownerless לולב later found out that you picked it up from someone’s field. When you later realize you stole the לולב does it come out you didn’t fulfill the מצווה of לולב? Question 5: Rambam הלכות שופר וסכה ולולב 8:9 seems to hold that מצוה מבאה בעבירה is a דרבנן and one doesn’t apply a דרבנן on a דרבנן (taking the לולב on days 2-7). However, in the Mishna in Brachos 47b where Rabbi Eliezer freed his slave to make a מניין to say קדושה, the גמ" proposes it is a מצוה הבאה בעבירה, but answers a מצווה for the צבור is different. The גמ" could have said it was a דרבנן on a דרבנן (davening) Question 6: What is different about a מצווה for the צבור? If a מצוה מבאה בעבירה is מאוס to Hashem for לולב, it should be מאוס to Hashem for davening as well Question 7: what does the Shulchan Aruch 637:3 mean when it says one can’t fulfill his mitzvah in a stolen sukkah? Is the sukkah perfectly good but since it is a מצוה הבאה בעבירה one doesn’t get “credit” for sitting in a sukkah, or is it like he is eating outside a sukkah entirely? Thank you so much for any help you can give me