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
WHAT IS DARKNESS?


“Blessed are You, L-rd, our G-d, King of the Universe, Who forms light and creates darkness, makes peace and creates all” (Morning Service).

Like anything written by our sages, these words are filled with eternal significance.  

view
TERRORIZED BY THE NEWS


I do not like the term “terrorism.”

It makes us cringe, as if we were slaves to our enemies. The word induces fear, but we are not supposed to be afraid of people. “G-d is with me. I have no fear. How can man affect me?” (Psalm 118) 

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
THE DREAM


It is naïve to pretend that our troubles are over, but when the holy day of T’U b’Av - the fifteenth of the month of Av - arrives, along with the next Sabbath known as Shabbos Nachamu, when verses of consolation are read, who can say that he doesn’t breathe easier, knowing that we have passed through incredible trials and that G-d Himself is giving us consolation? 

view
THE REAL SUPREME COURT II


Two weeks ago, I wrote an article concerning the United States Supreme Court’s recent decision regarding the status of Jerusalem. This week’s Torah portion delineates the boundaries of the Land of Israel, as it says, “This is the land that shall fall to you as an inheritance” (Numbers 34:1 ff).  

view
TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THE RED HEIFER


This week we are presented with the classic “chok,” a law which is seemingly incomprehensible. As the Artscroll commentary puts it, “The Midrash focuses primarily on one paradox in the laws of the Red Heifer: Its ashes purify people who had become contaminated, yet those who engage in its preparation become contaminated.” (Introduction to the Torah portion Chukas, Stone Chumash) King Solomon exclaimed concerning this mitzvah (Torah commandment), “it is far from me” (Ecclesiastes 7:23). 

view
WHAT EXACTLY IS EXILE?


How contemporary is every word of Torah!

Tragically, the events of this week’s Torah portion are reflected in our own days. As our sages tell us, “In the period which will precede the coming of the Messiah, insolence will increase … those who dread sin will be despised … and truth will be absent…” (Sota 49b). 

view
SPIES AGAIN


In this week’s Torah portion, the Jewish People encounters the other nations and becomes petrified. But we are not supposed to be afraid! As King David tells us, “G-d is with me. I have no fear. How can man affect me?” (Psalm 118) 

view
"YOU HAVE RAISED MY SOUL FROM THE LOWER WORLD"


What does King David have to do with the holiday of Shavuos?  

view
THE PATH OUT OF EXILE


I believe that it is appropriate during the Sefiras HaOmer countdown between Passover and the holiday of Shavuos to contemplate our own life and our relationship to events in the world around us. Especially in this era of history, a realistic assessment of world events is likely to lead one closer to the Master of the Universe, as it becomes increasingly clear that we cannot depend on the surrounding culture.  

view
A SATISFYING AROMA


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

view
FAREWELL TO THE PATRIARCHS


This week we say “goodbye” to the Patriarchs. “When Jacob finished instructing his sons, he drew his feet onto the bed; he expired and was gathered to his people.” (Genesis 49:33) 

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
ANA HASHEM HOSHIA NA … PLEASE G-D, SAVE US!


“Jacob was left alone and a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn.” (Genesis 32:25)

Who was more alone than our father Jacob? Jacob is alone and his children are alone. “Behold! It is a nation that will dwell in solitude and not be reckoned among the nations.” (Numbers 23:9) That is our unique position in the world and also our strength. 

view
RAISING OUR EYES


"[Isaac] raised his eyes, and behold: camels were coming... Rebecca raised her eyes and saw Isaac ...." (Genesis 24:63-4)

King David said, "I raise my eyes to the mountains; from where will my help come? My help is from Hashem, Maker of heaven and earth..." (Psalm 121) 

view
EVIL AUTOMOBILES


The Torah portion of Bereishis described how Hashem made a perfect world. This week’s Parsha describes how man can destroy it! I regret to say this (although everyone knows it): today’s world resembles Sodom a lot more than the Garden of Eden. But Hashem has limited tolerance for the destruction of His world. What happened to Sodom is very relevant to us today. 

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
DON'T BLAME THE MEDIA


People are upset at the media.

During the War in Gaza, it seemed as if the entire world was against Israel! And for good reason! It was! I want to ask: are you surprised? 

view

 

Recent Posts


Tags

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

Archive