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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

Shevat and the Land of Israel

Now that we are in the month of Shevat, approaching the 15th of Shevat, TU Bishvat, I think it is appropriate to discuss some of the laws of the land of Israel. For the first three years after a tree is planted, the fruit is known as orlah, and it may not be eaten, it [...]

By | 2017-02-06T01:01:29+00:00 February 6th, 2017|Shabbat Blog|Comments Off on Shevat and the Land of Israel

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 | 2017-01-30T02:18:38+00:00 January 30th, 2017|Shabbat Blog|Comments Off on Remembering the Exodus

Blessings

In this week’s Torah reading, Vayechi, Jacob blesses his sons in a very famous, poetic and beautiful section of the Torah.  This got me thinking about what we mean by a "blessing".  A friend of mine was in an Virginian airport, I think, and he was about to have his coffee and, as he normally [...]

By | 2017-01-10T10:51:18+00:00 January 10th, 2017|Shabbat Blog|Comments Off on Blessings

The 10th of Tevet

The Jewish calendar includes six days of fasting.  Four of these days are linked to the destruction of the Temples and the exile of the Jewish people.  These will be the focus of the following chapter.  The other two, the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, and the Fast of Esther, Ta’anit Esther, will be considered [...]

By | 2017-01-02T12:52:15+00:00 January 2nd, 2017|Shabbat Blog|Comments Off on The 10th of Tevet