Dec. 07, 2018 |
“LISHMA” … FOR ITS OWN SAKE
This Friday night there will be six lights on the Chanukah Menorah in addition to the Shabbos lights. The house will be full
of light. What is special about the Chanukah
lights is that you cannot use them for seeing your way. They are just for
Nov. 30, 2018 |
THE WORLD IS WAITING FOR OUR BLESSING
My wife and I had been speaking at the University of
Michigan. At the Detroit airport, returning to New York, we had to wait for a
shuttle bus. There was a man behind the counter, apparently from Haiti. He
acted like a functionary, exhibiting no warmth or friendliness. As we left for
the bus, I said “Thank you,” and
reached out to shake his hand. This gesture had a remarkable effect. He
suddenly emerged from behind the counter, bowing to us and smiling.
Nov. 23, 2018 |
LOOKING AT AN ANGEL
“Vayishlach … Jacob sent angels ahead of him to Esau….” (Genesis 32:4)
Nov. 16, 2018 |
“Jacob departed from
Be’er Sheva and went toward Haran….” (Genesis 28:10)
Nov. 09, 2018 |
BE’ER SHEVA THEN AND NOW
“[Yitzchak Avinu] went
up … to Be’er Sheva. Hashem appeared to him that night and said, ‘I am the G-d
of your father Avraham. Fear not, for I am with you. I will bless you and
increase your offspring because of Avraham my servant.’ He built an altar there,
invoked Hashem by Name, and there he pitched his tent …. Avimelech went to him
from Gerar….” (Genesis 26:23-26)
Nov. 02, 2018 |
THE LEAST COMFORTABLE PATH
Recently, my wife
and I visited Ma’aras Hamachpaila, the Cave of Machpaila in Chevron, the
burial place of our Fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and our Mothers Sarah,
Rebeccah and Leah as well as Adam and Eve. Standing before the ancient stone
building, we felt the kedusha wash
Oct. 26, 2018 |
We learn from our
Father Abraham that we are different from all other nations. We are directly
connected with the Master of the World; we are not bound by the laws of nature.
Oct. 19, 2018 |
THE OLIVE TREE
The High Holidays are
a massive spiritual mountain. Wherever we are on that mountain, we have a lot
of climbing to do.
Oct. 12, 2018 |
A HUMBLE MAN RIDING UPON A DONKEY
In this week’s Torah
Portion, life on this planet is destroyed. I believe the Torah is showing us
that everything in the material world is vulnerable. Since mankind has left the
Garden of Eden, life has been a cycle of destruction and rebirth. We depend on
Hashem’s promise of techias Hamaisim (Resurrection of the Dead). Just as
“Noah” is the second Torah Portion, so “Techias
Hamaisim” is the second blessing in Shemoneh Esreh: “And You [Hashem]
are faithful to revive the dead!”
Sep. 21, 2018 |
A WORLD OF LIGHT
is the most amazing place in the world.
Sep. 07, 2018 |
WHY DID HASHEM CREATE DARKNESS?
Early this summer, my wife and I flew to Moscow. We left New York in the afternoon. I davened mincha (the afternoon prayer) on the plane and waited for dark so that I could daven maariv (the evening prayer).
Aug. 31, 2018 |
THE FIFTEEN-FOOT LADDER
There is a store in Lakewood, New Jersey where I buy hats
and shoes. This place has my extremities covered. (I guess the soul is my responsibility!) I want to tell
you why I like this store. Mr. Aaron Yosef Schreiber puts his soul into this
business. I like to patronize stores where someone cares. I dislike chain
stores, where you can stand on line at the checkout for an hour and no one is
interested. They get a salary with or without you.
Aug. 24, 2018 |
THE LAST EXILE
“Ki seitzei … When you go out to war against your enemies ….” (Dvarim 21:10)
Aug. 17, 2018 |
THE CONCEPT OF MONARCHY
Recently, my wife and I were privileged to travel to Russia
for a brief but fascinating trip under the leadership of Rabbi Aryeh Katzin, a principal
force behind Russian kiruv in the U.
S. Rabbi Katzin heads RAJE (Russian-American Jewish Experience) and founded
Sinai Academy. He grew up under Communism in Russia, learned Torah in
Yerushalayim, and was recruited some thirty years ago by leading American rabbis,
principal among them Rabbi Elya Svei zt”l.
Aug. 10, 2018 |
THE ANATOMY OF LOSHON HARA
This Shabbos and Sunday are Rosh
Chodesh Elul! One month until Rosh
Aug. 03, 2018 |
We are now in the Season of Teshuva (repentance). Next Shabbos
is Rosh Chodesh Elul, but – after all
– the entire summer is a time of teshuva.
Is this not what The Three Weeks are all about?
Jul. 27, 2018 |
SHEMONEH ESREH AS A PATH TO TESHUVA
Moshe Rabbeinu] implored Hashem at that time.” (Deuteronomy 3:23)
Jul. 20, 2018 |
THERE MAY YET BE HOPE!
“Eulogize the pious
and proper ones who sank in the treacherous waters. At the memory of this, my
soul is grieved.” (Kinnah 22, Tisha B’Av)
Jul. 13, 2018 |
“YOUR THOUGHTS ARE NOT MY THOUGHTS”
“These are the
commandments and the ordinances that Hashem commanded through Moses to the
Children of Israel in the plains of Moav at the Jordan River by Jericho.” (Numbers
Jul. 06, 2018 |
COVENANT OF PEACE
As the Three Weeks begin, we hear news that the government
of Great Britain intends to implement rulings that would force all schools in
England to adhere to a curriculum which is antithetical to Truth as revealed by
Jun. 29, 2018 |
Why do people hurt themselves?
Jun. 22, 2018 |
day in davening we say: “V’ha’ofanim v’chayos hakodesh … Then the
Ofanim and the holy Chayos… raise themselves toward the Seraphim facing them.
They offer praise and proclaim: Blessed is the glory of Hashem from His Place.”
What are Ofanim, Chayos and Seraphim?
They are heavenly beings, but how are we to relate to them?
Jun. 15, 2018 |
What can we learn from the frightening events described in this
week’s Torah Portion, Korach?
Jun. 08, 2018 |
WE WILL BE LIKE DREAMERS
The American Dream.
Jun. 01, 2018 |
TRAVELING WITH THE ARON
There is a unique passage in this week’s Torah portion.
May. 18, 2018 |
THE LEMON TREE
In Israel we have a small garden behind our home. It has a
border of soil, maybe two feet wide. Not much space, but there are beautiful
flowers. My wife, bli eyen hara,
understands plants, and this place looks like Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden) to me. Besides the flowers, there are
a few trees. One is a lemon tree.
May. 11, 2018 |
THE HIDDEN WORLD
“The heavens declare the glory of G-d, and the expanse of
the sky tells of His handiwork. Day following day brings expressions of praise,
and night following night bespeaks wisdom. There is no speech and there are no
words; their sound is unheard.” (Psalm 19)
May. 04, 2018 |
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WALL
I love the
season of Sefiras Ha Omer, the forty-nine days between Passover and Shavuos
during which we count the Omer. They are elevated above ordinary
days. They themselves feel like a Yom Tov!
In fact, the Ramban, in his commentary to
Leviticus 23:36, explains that Shavuos is related to Passover as Shemini Atzeres is related to Sukkos. Sefiras Ha Omer is the “Chol Hamoed” linking Passover to Shavuos.
Apr. 27, 2018 |
SURROUNDED BY TORAH
“Does a non-Jew
really understand the pleasures of this world? Did he ever wake up a few hours
before sunrise, drink a hot coffee, and then, with a clear mind, study Torah
without interruption for two hours, followed by immersion in a hot mikveh as
preparation for an inspired, fiery davening? Does he have any idea of the true
pleasures of this world?”
Apr. 20, 2018 |
IT IS TIME
I write these words
after Shabbos, as the Yom Tov of Pesach is leaving