The Light in the Darkness

Despite the dreadful, heartbreaking nature of Tisha B’Av, an element of happiness is concealed within it.  Tisha B’Av  is called a mo’ed,  meaning festival, and certain prayers associated with sadness that are omitted on happy occasions are, in fact, not said on this day.  What is the source of the joy that lightens our mourning on Tisha B’Av?  Some commentaries explain that it springs from the knowledge that eventually, at ...

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17th of Tammuz – Broken Tablets and Burnt Scrolls

The Seventeenth of Tammuz, this coming Sunday, occurs exactly three weeks before Tisha B’Av and is the next most significant fast day.  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 ...

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This is the Statute of the Torah

The Torah reading for this week begins with an intricate series of laws regarding purity, impurity and purification. This involved many details which appear to some to be, excessive, a complaint commonly heard about Jewish law in general. I would like to explain one idea behind all this detail: consistency. Consistency is much more difficult to achieve than one might expect. Imagine someone waking up one morning and making a firm ...

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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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