Responding to Tragedy

When, God forbid, a person hears of the death of a close relative or of anyone whose death causes him anguish he should say “Blessed are You God, Our God, King of the Universe, the True Judge.”[1]  In accordance with our belief that God is just and righteous, we accept upon ourselves His judgment; and even though the death causes us grief, we affirm our belief in God as 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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The Mitzvah to Give

The Biblical sources related to the commandment of tzedakah (charity) are found in this week’s Parsha, BeHar, in the section discussing the laws of the Sabbatical Year. The Torah states that any personal loans still outstanding at the end of this year are automatically cancelled. Nevertheless, God orders the people not to withhold loans close to the Sabbatical Year, but to lend the poor what they need.  The fundamental principles ...

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The Grand Finale

The Omer is counted for the final time on the 49th night. The following evening, the festival of Shavuot begins at sundown. Shavuot is the anniversary of the Revelation on Mount Sinai, when God communicated the Torah to the entire Jewish people and in so doing, revealed to them their national mission and purpose. In our prayers Shavuot is referred to as Zman Matan Torateinu, the Time of Giving of ...

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