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“G-d has taken you and withdrawn you from ‘kur habarzel’… the iron furnace, from Egypt, to be a nation of heritage for Him, as this very day…” (Deuteronomy 4:20).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

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

Archive