Newsletter

THE SECRET OF THE FIFTEENTH DAY


Six months ago, I wrote about Tu B’Av, a holiday which brings hope after the terrible events of Tisha B’Av. There is something about the Fifteenth day of the Jewish month which is related to redemption. The first day of Passover, the first day of Sukkos, Tu B’Shevat, and Shushan Purim all occur on the Fifteenth day of the month. 

view
SEVENTY WOLVES


In the old, old days, long before I became observant, I lived in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, a world of wealthy, assimilated Jews who fled the Torah as if it were poison. From nursery all the way through twelfth grade, I attended what was considered an “elite” private school. Our class, numbering about one hundred, was composed almost exclusively of assimilated Jews, with a smattering of others as a result of the school’s liberal philosophy. Feelings of guilt as a result of our comfortable lifestyle made it almost mandatory to include a few non-Jews.  

view
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
DREAMING OF STARS


Joseph is in prison and Pharaoh dreams. Suddenly Joseph is king of Egypt. “Yeshuas Hashem k’heref ayin … the salvation of G-d comes in the blink of an eye!” This is high drama.

Our contemporary world also reflects high drama, as powerful battles play out on many stages. Hidden behind all these conflicts, the great salvation is being prepared in Heaven, as the Messiah prepares to arrive “k’heref ayin,” with blinding suddenness.  

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
TWO KINDS OF WEEPING


In a certain study hall in Jerusalem, there was a Rabbi who would continually pace up and down between the lecterns, carrying on an intense conversation in learning … with himself! This was a delightful and sometimes amusing spectacle. As he paced, however, he was also aware of his surroundings. One day, I was explaining to my study partner my personal criterion for a good leader of the prayers, namely that he should make me cry. 

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

 

Recent Posts


Tags

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

Archive