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Is Independence Good?

We will be celebrating the State of Israel’s 69th Independence Day very soon (May 2nd), an occasion for gratitude to G-d and also to the people who sacrificed so much to create a homeland and a Jewish state for the first time in over 2000 years. However, this upcoming event raised a question in my [...]

By | 2017-04-25T15:15:47+00:00 April 25th, 2017|Shabbat Blog|Comments Off on Is Independence Good?

Where is Moses?

Soon, at the Seder,  we will be sitting and reading, learning, teaching and questioning the Haggadah – the story of Pesach and the Exodus which we are obligated to review, to investigate, and to convey to our children and grandchildren on the night of Pesach. It is fascinating to note that there is something fundamental [...]

By | 2017-04-04T07:44:42+00:00 April 9th, 2017|Shabbat Blog|Comments Off on Where is Moses?

Remembering the Exodus

Generally, we classify the commandments of the Torah into commandments that pertain to our relationship with G-d and commandments that pertain to our relationship with other people. There are some who had a third category, the commandments that govern the relationship between body and soul, in other relationship with the self. Generally, when we think [...]

By | 2017-04-04T05:32:02+00:00 April 4th, 2017|Shabbat Blog|Comments Off on Remembering the Exodus

Exile

As we are no preparing for Passover, of course, we begin to think about the exile in Egypt and about exile in general. When one becomes familiar with the Torah and with Judaism, one will observe that exile features frequently in the Torah. Adam and Eve are exiled from the Garden of Eden, Cain is [...]

By | 2017-03-27T10:23:48+00:00 March 27th, 2017|Shabbat Blog|Comments Off on Exile

Night and Day

Daylight saving time has recently begun here in the USA. So it has got me thinking about day and night and their significance in Jewish thought.  We know that in secular law, the calendar day starts and ends at midnight, however, in Jewish tradition the day starts the evening beforehand. So for example, Shabbat, starts [...]

By | 2017-03-19T16:27:29+00:00 March 19th, 2017|Shabbat Blog|Comments Off on Night and Day

Snow Storm

We are just on the brink of experiencing a massive winter snow storm here in New Jersey. As I write this we are expecting between one and two feet of snow to fall tomorrow.  Personally, I don’t like winter, and I don’t enjoy the snow, however, from a Jewish perspective, winter isn't really so bad.  [...]

By | 2017-03-14T05:02:09+00:00 March 14th, 2017|Shabbat Blog|Comments Off on Snow Storm

Survivor, Persia!

We will be celebrating the festival of Purim very soon, so I would like to give you an overview of the history, background and significance of this festival.  The Purim story begins about 900 years after the Exodus from Egypt.  The Jews had been living in Israel continually, since they first entered with Joshua.  For [...]

By | 2017-03-05T12:42:11+00:00 March 5th, 2017|Jerusalem Retreats, Shabbat Blog|Comments Off on Survivor, Persia!

Whitewashing History

I have recently been teaching some ideas from two great Rabbis of Prague, the Maharal and Rabbi Yechezkel Landau (Noda BiYehudah). Prague was an extraordinary center of the Jewish community and Jewish learning. In Prague, the Altneu Shul, has been the main Synagogue of Prague and has hosted services almost continuously since about the 14th [...]

By | 2017-03-05T12:47:01+00:00 February 27th, 2017|Jerusalem Retreats, Shabbat Blog|Comments Off on Whitewashing History

Laws that Elevate

This week’s parsha, Mishpatim, follows the description of the revelation at Mt. Sinai, the giving of the Torah, and the listing of the famous, Ten Statements (or, colloquially, Commandments).  In our Torah reading there is an extensive focus on civil law, interpersonal relationships, finances, torts and damages.  The Ten Commandments were inscribed on two tablets. [...]

By | 2017-02-22T08:18:55+00:00 February 20th, 2017|Shabbat Blog|Comments Off on Laws that Elevate

Torah From Heaven…On Earth

This week’s Torah portion, Yitro, relates the events of the revelation on Mt. Sinai, at which G-d revealed and transmitted the Torah to the Jewish people. Maimonides, in his explication of the Thirteen basic fundamentals of Jewish belief, states the following: The entire Torah was given by G-d to Moses, and the Torah that is [...]

By | 2017-02-13T01:27:17+00:00 February 13th, 2017|Shabbat Blog|Comments Off on Torah From Heaven…On Earth