Kaddish

I recently observed the Yarhzeit (yearly anniversary of the passing of a relative) of my mother, of blessed memory.  Part of the observance is saying Kaddish, a prayer that is said by mourners and by the prayer leader.  Kaddish  was instituted almost 2,000 years ago and is mentioned in numerous places in the Mishnah and Talmud.  Kaddish is written in Aramaic, the spoken language of the Jews in Israel and ...

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The Mitzvah of Knowing Truth

There is a popular misconception that “Judaism is not a religion of dogma” and that it makes no demands on belief.  However, it is clear from the Torah itself that there are obligations of the intellect as well as obligations of action.  In this week’s Parsha, Yitro,  we find the following, famous statements. I am the Lord your G-d, Who has taken you out of the land of Egypt, from the ...

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Rabbi Mordechai Becher’s VLog – In Memory of my Mother – Parshat Nasso 5779

In this week's parsha, G-d commands the priests to bless the Jewish people. Jewish parents then took this blessing for themselves and used it to bless their children every Friday night. On the anniversary of the death (Yahrzeit) of his mother, Trudy Becher alov hashalom, Rabbi Becher looks at the blessing that a parent gives a child, and the blessings that his own parents in Australia gave to him as ...

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Clothes Maketh the Man or Woman (or do they?)

It is almost impossible to avoid media discussions about the clothes of the latest members of the British royal family.  A segment of a talk show is dedicated to this, newspaper articles, blogs and twitter feeds dwell on the most minute details of the royals’ fashion choices.  So, I thought that a few words may be in order regarding Judaism’s attitude to clothing, modesty and beauty. He has told you, O ...

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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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Summer of Ethics

We are now in the period of time known as Sefiras Ha’omer – counting of the Omer, the time between Pesach and the following festival which is Shavuot. Shavuot celebrates the giving of the Torah at Sinai, when the Jewish people received the Torah at Mount Sinai, which occurred the 50th day after the exodus of Egypt. And so, in between Passover, when we became a nation, we were born ...

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Lag B’Omer – The 33rd Day of the Omer (5779)

In the first century of the Common Era, the Jewish people experienced a major tragedy during the period of counting the Omer.  The greatest sage of the generation was Rabbi Akivah, who had taught vast numbers of people.  The Talmud relates that 24,000 (!) of Rabbi Akivah’s students, who constituted the primary chain of Torah transmission, died as a result of an epidemic between Passover and Shavuot. The Talmud states ...

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