The Three Weeks

The Seventeenth of Tammuz begins a three week period of mourning that culminated with Tisha B’Av, the Ninth of Av.  The Mishnah states: Five things happened to our ancestors on the 17th of Tammuz — The First Tablets were broken, the daily offering ceased, the walls of Jerusalem were breached, the evil Apostomus burnt a Torah scroll, and an idol was set up in the Sanctuary. The first calamity to occur on ...

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Able to Say Kaddish

I recently observed the Yarhzeits (yearly anniversary of the passing of a relative) of my parents of blessed memory. Unfortunately due to the current circumstances I was not able to say kaddish for them.  Thank G-d in the last couple of weeks I have been able to attend a minyan again, albeit outdoors, socially separated and with a  mask, but a minyan nonetheless. I recited kaddish at the first minyan ...

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God Bless America

I feel that it is appropriate to publish an essay that I wrote a number of years ago. Enjoy! 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.  ...

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Boredom and Berachos

Many people seem to be bored with their lives. They look for diversion in activities such as swimming with sharks, bungee jumping and extreme sports. Others obsessively pursue whatever is new — fashion, music, or high-tech gadgets. This boredom really stems not from a lack of novelty, but from a lack of appreciation of life itself and all the blessings of life. A person who takes pleasure in his very ...

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Tactical Mitzvot

A great rabbi once said that it is easier to memorize the entire Babylonian Talmud than to change one character trait.  Self-improvement is one of the greatest and most difficult challenges that a person faces.  How does one go about overcoming a negative trait? The answer was supplied by my karate teacher many years ago (when I was fit and flexible).  He said, “Always attack where the opponent is weakest.” The ...

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