Where is Moses?

Pesach is approaching very quickly and in about a week we will be sitting around the table eating, drinking, reading, learning, teaching and questioning in fulfillment of the Pesach Seder. It is fascinating to note that if you look through the Haggadah there is a great personality who was the hero of the Exodus, and he just doesn’t really play a part in the Seder at all.  Moses gets just one, ...

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We Are All in Egypt!

As we are now preparing for Passover, of course, we begin to think about the exile in Egypt and about exile in general. When one becomes familiar with the Torah and with Judaism, one will observe that exile features frequently in the Torah. Adam and Eve are exiled from the Garden of Eden, Cain is exiled, Abraham has to go into exile in Egypt and Jacob and his sons also ...

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Night and Day

In Jewish tradition every day starts in the evening. So for example, the Sabbath, Shabbat, starts Friday evening when the sun sets and it ends on Saturday when the stars come out. The Jewish 24 hour day extends from the beginning of the night till the beginning of night, so that the evening always proceeds the morning in the order of our day. This is implied in the verses in ...

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Purim and the Mirror on the Wall – 5773

This coming week Jews all over the world will celebrate the festival of Purim. Our Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, and we were exiled to Babylon and Persia (modern day Iraq and Iran). Haman ascended to power under the Persian Empire and was at the peak of his political influence and wealth. As we know, Haman hatched a plot to destroy all the Jewish people, something ...

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Happiness, Not Comfort – Parshat Terumah 5773

“When Adar arrives we increase our happiness.” (Talmud, Ta’anit 29a) We have just entered the month of Adar beginning a season of joy and celebration that includes Purim and Pesach. I think it is pertinent to discuss how to actually achieve happiness. There is a verse in Psalms (105:3) which states,  “Happy is the heart of those who seek G-d.”  Notice that the verse does not say   “Happy is the heart ...

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Minor Thefts – Parshat Mishpatim 5773

I was recently a passenger on a small airline flying out of Stewart Airport, I think it was called, Skybus. On Skybus you have to pay for everything; the muffins were $2 each, coffee was $1.50 etc.  After the crew had finished selling the muffins the stewardess was cleaning up somewhere in the back of the plane. I noticed a man walking toward the front of the plane to take ...

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My Child – Parshat Yitro 5773

I recently travelled with one of my children, which was a wonderful experience, giving us a lot of time together, without too many distractions.  As we were getting onto the plane, I handed our boarding passes to the stewardess, but it was not obvious that my son was standing with me, so she pointed to him and said, “Does he belong to you?”  My automatic response was, “Yes,” because I understood ...

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Chapped Skin and Hand-cream – Parshas Beshalach 5773

It is winter and one of the things that I have been thinking of is chapped skin. Yes, it is true; my hands are very rough and chapped. I use a hand-cream on them, but, when I put on my tie I can feel the fabric catching on my skin. I cannot help thinking that one of the reasons my hands are chapped is because as a religious Jew I ...

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Remembering the Exodus – Parshat Bo 5773

Parshat Bo Generally, we classify the commandments of the Torah into commandments that pertain to our relationship with G-d and commandments that pertain to our relationship with other people. There are some who had a third category, the commandments that govern the relationship between body and soul, in other relationship with the self. Generally, when we think about the commandment to remember the Exodus, we usually define it as being a a ...

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Divine Destiny and Egyptian Guilt – Parshat Va’eira

Parshas Va'eira 5773 One of the famous questions that is asked regarding the Exodus from Egypt and the whole issue of the slavery of the Jews in Egypt is that, indeed G-d had actually told Abraham that his children would be slaves in a foreign land, he predicted the exile, He said the Jews would be enslaved. If so, the commentaries ask, then the Egyptians should not get punished, because they ...

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