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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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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Lag B'Omer

Lag B’Omer – The 33rd Day of the Omer

Two significant events occurred on Lag B’Omer, and though separated by many years, they both contribute to its special status. On the thirty third day of the counting of the Omer, Rabbi Akivah’s students stopped dying. Because the epidemic lasted thirty three days, the common custom is to observe thirty three days of mourning in the Omer period, ending on Lag B’Omer, the thirty third day of the Omer. ...

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