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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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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Blessings

Observant Jews recite blessings over virtually everything.  Before and after we eat and drink, upon waking in the morning, after using the bathroom, when lighting Shabbat candles, and so on. What is a blessing and what is its purpose? The standard format of the blessing, baruch atah Hashem - blessed are you G-d, Elokainu, our G-d, melech haolam, King of the Universe, followed by specific details of the occasion or circumstance ...

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To Dwell Alone

They are a nation that dwells alone…” (Numbers 23:9) Most commentaries understand this as a prediction that the Jewish people will not be considered the same as other nations and will not be given equal standing. However there are some who understand this as an imperative to actually be different. Rabbi Menashe Klein was asked about traditional Jewish clothing and ruled that this verse actually obligates Jews to dress differently ...

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Yahrzeit Candle

Mourning and the Nature of Life

Inasmuch as I am in mourning for my mother, of blessed memory, who passed away a little more than three weeks ago, my mind is somewhat preoccupied with the concept of the soul, life, death and the world to come.  The Jewish view of the human being includes both the physical and the spiritual.  The essence of the human is the spiritual, the body is like the clothing that surrounds ...

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