In Appreciation of Winter

As a young boy growing up in Melbourne, Australia, fall was almost non-existent and winter only meant that I had to wear shoes when playing outside and, occasionally, a parka. It never snows in Melbourne, and a brutal winter day can sometimes go down to the mid-40s.  Immediately after I finished high school (in December, the beginning of the summer in Australia) I left to learn in Yeshivas ITRI in ...

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The Tragedy of Translation

As we enter the month of Kislev, and the weather turns colder, we start thinking about Chanukah, menorahs, latkes and donuts.  Some of us, of the more nerdy variety, start to think of Philo Judeaus, the Septuagint, Alexandria and Greek tragedies.  One aspect of the Greek opposition to Torah was their objection to the idea that any one people could be “chosen” or have a Divine revelation.  Their campaign against ...

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Aquariums and Ikarim

I am reading “Fishes: An Introduction to Ichthyology” to prepare for my upcoming Torah Safaris of the Camden Adventure Aquarium and the Atlanta Aquarium.  The author, although putting the word “design” in quotes, keeps using the word when talking about the incredible senses, anatomy and structure of fish that are perfectly designed, oops, adapted for its aquatic environment.   Now, to me reading about the creatures of the sea (about 30,000 ...

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Expensive Real Estate Indeed – Hebron and the Cave of Machpelah

One of the earliest recorded purchases of land was Abraham’s purchase of the Machpelah cave and field in Hebron for the burial of his wife, Sarah.  The Torah provides us with the details of his protracted negotiations with the Hittites, Abraham’s insistence on paying “full price,” and his concern that the elders of the Hittites should agree to and witness the purchase because this was the beginning of G-d’s promise ...

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The Need to Know

It is clear from the Torah that there are obligations of the intellect as well as obligations of action. I am the Lord your G-d, Who has taken you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery.  You shall not recognize the G-ds of others in My presence. The first two of the Ten Commandments obligate us to acknowledge G-d’s existence and His involvement in the world, and to ...

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