Boredom and Berachos

Many people seem to be bored with their lives. They look for diversion in activities such as swimming with sharks, bungee jumping and extreme sports. Others obsessively pursue whatever is new — fashion, music, or high-tech gadgets. This boredom really stems not from a lack of novelty, but from a lack of appreciation of life itself and all the blessings of life. A person who takes pleasure in his very ...

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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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Taking Israel for Granted

The Talmud in Tractate Chulin says something quite astonishing. It states that “idolaters outside of Israel are not really idolaters, they are just following the customs of their ancestors.” In other words, authentic idolatry only exists in Israel! Now that is a shocking statement, because it appears that Israel, the holy land, the land of prophecy, the land where all the commandments apply, the land where almost all the prophets ...

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Is The Torah Green?

With the recent withdrawal of the USA from the Paris Climate Change Accords, people have been asking me what is the Jewish attitude towards global warming? I think that the question of human caused climate change is an empirical question and therefore Judaism doesn’t really have an opinion about it. In addition, I can’t give you my personal opinion because a. I am not a scientist and b. I don’t ...

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