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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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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The Simple Life

As summer approaches, I think back to one of our most memorable summer trips.  Our family attended a Shabbaton where I was scholar in residence, at Kesher Israel congregation in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  The Rabbi, the synagogue and the community, were all wonderful, warm, fantastic and incredibly hospitable. On the way there we visited the Amish in Lancaster County, took a buggy ride, had a tour of an Amish town and house, ...

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