Chapped Hands and the Temple

We are approaching spring, hopefully, but as winter continues one of the things that I have been thinking about is chapped skin. Yes, my hands get very rough and chapped.  I use a hand cream on them, but, when I put on my tie I can actually feel the fabric catching on my skin.  I cannot help thinking that one of the reasons my hands are chapped is because as ...

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The Month of Miraculous Jewish Survival

We are currently in the month of Adar I, and will celebrate Purim in about a month, during Adar II.  Rashi tells us that the season of miracles and redemption culminating in Passover begins at the beginning of the month of Adar.  This is why the Talmud tells us that “When Adar begins one should increase their happiness.”  I believe that the miracle of Purim is really the ongoing miracle ...

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The Sun, the Moon and the Seasons

This week we mark the beginning of Adar Rishon, or Adar 1, the additional month of a Jewish leap year.  Measuring and marking the passage of time is a universal human preoccupation. At least forty different calendars are in use around the world today.  The most widely used systems are the solar calendar, based on the cycle of the sun, and the lunar calendar, based on the cycle of the ...

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Petty Theft

People often accuse Judaism of being too focused on details. This week’s Torah portion, Mishpatim, is cited as an example of this focus.  It is full of detailed laws regarding torts, damages, theft, contract law, marriage law, property law etc. etc. It is not a very “spiritual” section of the Torah.  However, I gained some insight into the Parsha during some recent travels.  I witnessed a few cases of theft ...

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God Bless America

Abraham’s relationship with God was rooted in a covenant, an agreement between two parties, each having obligations toward the other.  Abraham and his descendants were obligated to practice circumcision, kindness and justice and to have faith in God.  God in turn promised that Abraham’s descendants would maintain a special relationship with Him.  They would be given the Land of Israel and would be a “blessing to all nations of the ...

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