Newsletter

THE BOY IN THE BARBER SHOP


Recently, in the barber shop, a boy was waiting for the next appointment. He wore a hockey uniform and sat hunched over his phone. He looked at no one. He said nothing. When his turn came, he wordlessly walked to the barber’s chair. No “good morning.” No smile or interaction. He looked into space. No word came from his mouth or light from his eyes.  

view
WE ARE ORPHANS!


We have arrived once again at that moment, painful for me, when we leave the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, not to meet again until next year. It is like mourning for one’s parents. How can we go on?

Just who were these angelic but achingly real people? 

view
PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION


In our Torah portion, our father Jacob says to Esau, “I will make my way at my slow pace … until I come to my lord at Seir” (Genesis 33:14).  

view
"OVER ALL HIS BROTHERS HE LAY"


“Rabbi Isaac said: Why were our forefathers infertile? Because the Holy One Blessed is He desires the prayers of the righteous” (Yevamos 64a).

 
view
SURVIVING SODOM


We were in Israel during last summer’s missile attacks. The sirens would sound and we would rush to the shelters. This year there is no siren; there are no shelters; there is no warning. The attack can come at any time, at any place. The Arab you knew for years from the neighborhood grocery store can kill you. The Arab in the Bezeq truck can kill you on his way to “work.”  

view
CONTROLLING THE INNER ISHMAEL


In this week’s Torah portion we meet Ishmael.  

view
SECOND MARRIAGE


My wife and I got married twice. The first time, before we were observant, a very liberal “rabbi” handed us a “kesuba” (marriage contract) which read “ani l’dodi v’dodi li … I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine” (Song of Songs 6:3).  

view
"EXHAUSTED NATION"


“Perhaps you will say in your heart, ‘These nations are more numerous than I. How will I be able to drive them out?’  

view
LESSON IN CHARACTER REFINEMENT


During the Sefiras HaOmer period of counting the 49 days between Passover and the holiday of Shavuos, we are working intensely to refine our character, trying to merit receiving the Torah on Shavuos. During Passover, I was privileged to perform the rare mitzvah (Torah commandment) of “shiluach hakan” - sending away the mother bird before taking her young (Deuteronomy 22:6-7). 

view
THE IRON FURNACE


“G-d has taken you and withdrawn you from ‘kur habarzel’… the iron furnace, from Egypt, to be a nation of heritage for Him, as this very day…” (Deuteronomy 4:20). 

view
WHERE IS BAKU?


Next week is Passover, and I can think of no better introduction to the festival of our liberation than to report to you on our recent speaking trip to Baku.  

view
A SATISFYING AROMA


“Ketores - the Incense Offering - the dearest of all the offerings.”  (Rashi on Numbers 16:6)  

view
STARS OF ISRAEL


"When Jacob finished instructing his sons, he drew his feet onto the bed; he expired and was gathered to his people." (Genesis 49:33) So ends an era. But the influence of the Patriarchs is so powerful that it remains with their children until the end of time. All of our prayers begin with the words, "G-d of Abraham, G-d of Isaac and G-d of Jacob...

view
REFLECTED LIGHT


Chanukah is the quintessential holiday of exile.

The neiros (Chanukah lights) illuminate the darkest season of the year. This is the only holiday that begins during the period of the waning moon. The days of Chanukah actually become darker and darker ... until the very end, because Chanukah ends just when the sliver of the New Moon is becoming visible in the night sky. 

view
MITZRAIM!


Now we descend with Joseph to Egypt.

The significance of our ancestors’ sojourn in Mitzraim (Biblical Egypt) must be prodigious, because we never cease to mention it. Every Sabbath begins with, “zaicher l’ytzias Mitzraim … a memorial of the Exodus from Egypt,” and every holiday cycle begins with Passover, the entire theme of which is the story of our Redemption from Mitzraim. 

view
MIRACLE AT KENNEDY AIRPORT


The world was filled with idolatry. One man, our Father Abraham, understood that there had to be a Creator. He found the Torah and its Author. From our Father Avraham descended a nation of Priests, “goy kadosh … a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:6) In today’s darkness, Hashem is still close to us. If we look for Him we can find Him. We simply have to keep looking.  

view
WHY WE NEED TO ACT LIKE ANGELS


The essential message of Yom Kippur is that everything depends on our spiritual condition. To the extent that we follow Hashem's will, our life will be good. The economy is not the determining factor. Politics is not the determining factor. Social issues are not the determining factor. The only thing that counts is our relationship with G-d. That's it. 

view

 

Recent Posts


Tags

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

Archive