Newsletter

WE ARE THE OLAH!


Is it not strange that Passover comes four weeks after Purim? They are the same basic story: the Children of Israel are threatened by a powerful foe and saved by miraculous intervention. Why did the Torah establish one major Holiday after the other?

I believe the Torah is warning us that, throughout our long journey, this story is going to happen over and over. We are going to be in mortal danger many times until the Final Redemption arrives.  

view
HAMAN FAILED!


Haman cast lots concerning which day he would try to destroy all the Jews, G-d forbid. Since he was “all powerful” and ruled a kingdom which spanned the entire world, how could the Jews escape? He had it figured out. It was “all over.” 

view
IRRATIONAL!


 We have now entered the second month of Adar (which happens only during a Jewish Leap Year, seven years out of every nineteen-year cycle). During this time of year, the Torah tells us to increase simcha. But, even without the Torah’s encouragement, I believe that we all feel the optimism inherent in this season, which is assisted by a change in weather. It has been a cold winter where we live, and – Baruch Hashem! – a relatively wet winter in Israel, and now we sense the beautiful season of spring approaching.  

view
“ASSEMBLE ALL THE JEWS”


Rabbi Yaakov Landau Shlita”h, the Rabbi of Congregation Chanichei Ha Yeshivos in Lakewood, spoke recently about the current state of the world. He compared our current situation to the times of Purim, when Haman ordered that letter be “sent by courier to all the provinces of the king, to destroy, to slay and to exterminate all the Jews from young to old, children and women ….” (Esther 3:13) 

view
A SECOND CHANCE

  
I would like to bring you up to date on a few things.  

view
THE STREETS OF YERUSHALAYIM


 I walked out of shul. The streets of Yerushalayim were still damp from the previous day’s rain. I had davened slowly and felt peaceful. The cares of the world seemed lighter, because it was clear to me that all the disturbing events of our times have been predicted as a prelude to the coming of Moshiach, and we can surely anticipate that Moshiach will be here soon.  

view
CUFFLINKS


“They shall make a Sanctuary for Me, so that I may dwell among them.”(Exodus 25:8) 

view
HOW DID WE FORGET?


And now we enter a new world. 

view
THE SAP OF REDEMPTION


Is it a coincidence that this climactic Torah Portion, in which the Children of Israel meet Hashem at Mount Sinai, should fall out during the week of T’U b’Shevat (The New Year of Trees)? Well that question is of course unnecessary, because there are no coincidences. 

view
STAND FAST AND SEE THE SALVATION OF HASHEM


The power of this week’s Torah Portion challenges description. It is not simply what happened to our ancestors, but it reflects our situation today. 

view
DO NOT BE AFRAID, MY SERVANT JACOB!


And we leave Egypt. 

view
EXILE AND REDEMPTION


The Torah goes at great length into the Egyptian Exile because we have to understand the reality of Exile. The Torah goes at great length into the Redemption through Moses because we have to understand the reality of Redemption. 

view
G-D HEARD THEIR MOANING


“A new king arose over Egypt who did not know of Joseph  … Pharaoh commanded his entire people, saying, ‘Every boy that will be born … you shall throw him into the river ….” (Exodus 1:8ff) We were threatened then and we are threatened now. 

view
WITH DAWN, A CRY OF JOY


Exile begins. 

view
TWO WORDS


Many decades ago, a few years after we got married, before the dawn of Torah in our lives, my wife and I lived for over a year in England. I was studying English Language and Literature at Balliol College, Oxford (founded 755 years ago). Although some might think those years were a waste, it is not true. Hashem guides one through life, and I was led to study English-language skills which I use to this day in books, articles and public speaking. I was taught clarity and proper use of the English Language. 

view
“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 looking. 

view
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. 

view
LOOKING AT AN ANGEL


“Vayishlach … Jacob sent angels ahead of him to Esau….” (Genesis 32:4) 

view
TAKE WORDS


“Jacob departed from Be’er Sheva and went toward Haran….” (Genesis 28:10)  

view
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)  

view
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 over us. 

view
BEYOND NATURE


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. 

view
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.  

view
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!” 

view
A WORLD OF LIGHT


The sukkah is the most amazing place in the world.  

view
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).  

view
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. 

view
THE LAST EXILE


“Ki seitzei … When you go out to war against your enemies ….” (Dvarim 21:10) 

view
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

view
THE ANATOMY OF LOSHON HARA


This Shabbos and Sunday are Rosh Chodesh Elul! One month until Rosh Hashanah!   

view

 

Recent Posts


Tags

Tisha b'Av Holy Temple Jeremiah Zion exile prayers Miriam soul David stars Jerusalem Sages Holiness self-worship Elul night spiritual Jewish Zohar Genesis Divine presence light bird Angel of Death Jewish festival Haman Temple cries rain Geula Pharaoh danger Judah Yaakov judgement cholent Matriarchs Yom Kippur New Moon missiles ancestors shmittah chessed sun Chanukah meraglim Moses brotherhood Isaiah Macabees Sarah heavenly throne tears Rebecca yeshiva 2020 Vision sacrifices peace Tu b'Av eternity compassion mitzva Ruth song Zechariah kinneret paradise Prophecy Passover Seder Golden Calf Leah Blame slavery chaos Zion, Angel fault deluge biblical evolution Shechina Samuel the Prophet Hagar Judaism Lot menorah seder culture keys enemies media redeemer Malbim Rome Magog holy King David three weeks G-d miracles Egypt Mount Hermon Temple Mount patriarchs evil heavenly gates Red Sea Isaac Hasmoneans Torah Western Wall messiah Moshaich Sea of Galilee Ezekiel minyan Sephardi terror Ishamael creation Chanukkah logic pray Talmud eternal pain esrog plague Israel Final redemption Purim Sukkos violence Chafetz Chaim Tzuk etan Teshuva synagogue High Holy Days Beit Hamikdash India United Nations Chofetz Chaim locusts Rachel Noah Land of Israel priests Laban King Solomon incense Psalms Solar eclipse Day of Judgement patriarchs'matriarchs Canaan Rosh Hashanah Terror Attack in Jerusalem Babylonia Abraham Avraham angel Sefiras haOmer Rabbi Akiva miracle darkness Galil Eve evil inclination heaven prophet King of the Universe Golan commandment matzos tabernacle prophet Samuel Lunar eclipse fragrance rabbi rosh chodesh Mount Zion dreams Samuel spirituality Greeks Yerushalayim Master of the Universe Shushan sin stones Passover Banias barley Edom yarmulke Ten Commandments lights kesuba Matisyahu automobiles Second Temple gossip Jewish People Moab Sodom Holocaust Midrash fear holiday Garden of Eden Amalek Ammon mikveh, Sabbath kiddush secret kosher prayer Raiders of the Lost Ark America Rashi Song of Songs Ishmael tablets Miraglim terrorism trees Faith mitzvos Moshe ethics Earth flood Achashveirosh Day of Atonement Pinchas Sabbath Tallis world to come Abrahem idol Bilaam Shavuos Rebbe Tefillin Red Heifer Amram Joseph prayer book Bais Hamikdosh Baku Judgement Day Children of Israel water moon Aharon materialism Mordechai idolatry Parsha resurrection Chol haMoed terrorists Gog Father in Heaven End of Days Europe Rosh Hashana earthquake forefathers alone Moshiach Mount Sinai Boaz repent Benjamin bible tremors shield of Abraham slaves fires Holy Ark Western World High Priest Maimonides siddur shofar Esther sanctity terrorist angels Nation of Israel Adam repentance Hashem Repentence Shabbos mikveh Solomon Ashkenazi prophets Esau bris milah murder leprosy Ishmeal Heavenly Mercy redemption Babylon Sukkah Jews Psalm Creator Torah portion Golus Jew persecution Torah scholars Balak Exodus God survival purity liberation Jewish holidays Hebrew death blessing Eglon Tu b'Shvat salvation Maccabeans Jacob Rabbis Dead Sea war Protective edge hubris king spies Holy land

Archive