Newsletter

YOU ... WE ARE NOT WORRIED ABOUT!


I had been called for jury duty. As I walked into the courthouse, I had no idea what I would hear or see. My briefcase contained holy books and some food. Who knew how long I might have to stay here? I took pains to present an appearance that would properly represent G-d. At least I could try to honor His Name in this challenging environment.  

view
I HAVE A PLAN


The deputy mayor of Jerusalem was recently quoted as saying the government has given up hope on preventing attacks against Jews. I believe that. The government has no plan.

I have a plan.  

view
SEVENTY WOLVES


In the old, old days, long before I became observant, I lived in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, a world of wealthy, assimilated Jews who fled the Torah as if it were poison. From nursery all the way through twelfth grade, I attended what was considered an “elite” private school. Our class, numbering about one hundred, was composed almost exclusively of assimilated Jews, with a smattering of others as a result of the school’s liberal philosophy. Feelings of guilt as a result of our comfortable lifestyle made it almost mandatory to include a few non-Jews.  

view
WHAT IS DARKNESS?


“Blessed are You, L-rd, our G-d, King of the Universe, Who forms light and creates darkness, makes peace and creates all” (Morning Service).

Like anything written by our sages, these words are filled with eternal significance.  

view
TERRORIZED BY THE NEWS


I do not like the term “terrorism.”

It makes us cringe, as if we were slaves to our enemies. The word induces fear, but we are not supposed to be afraid of people. “G-d is with me. I have no fear. How can man affect me?” (Psalm 118) 

view
PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION


In our Torah portion, our father Jacob says to Esau, “I will make my way at my slow pace … until I come to my lord at Seir” (Genesis 33:14).  

view
HOW CAN STONES PROTECT US?


Imagine the scene: Jacob is fleeing from Esau, on his way to find a wife in the home of Laban. He is completely alone, as if there is no one else in the world, and – “because the sun had set” and darkness surrounded him – he finds the need to protect himself in this lonely, dark world. So he arranges twelve stones around his head.  

view
"MAGDIEL IS ROME"


In a few weeks we will, please G-d, read the Torah portion of Vayishlach, which concludes with the words, “Now these are … the chiefs of Esau (father of Edom) … the chief of Magdiel” (Genesis 36:40-43). 

view
"OVER ALL HIS BROTHERS HE LAY"


“Rabbi Isaac said: Why were our forefathers infertile? Because the Holy One Blessed is He desires the prayers of the righteous” (Yevamos 64a).

 
view
TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THE RED HEIFER


This week we are presented with the classic “chok,” a law which is seemingly incomprehensible. As the Artscroll commentary puts it, “The Midrash focuses primarily on one paradox in the laws of the Red Heifer: Its ashes purify people who had become contaminated, yet those who engage in its preparation become contaminated.” (Introduction to the Torah portion Chukas, Stone Chumash) King Solomon exclaimed concerning this mitzvah (Torah commandment), “it is far from me” (Ecclesiastes 7:23). 

view
SPIES AGAIN


In this week’s Torah portion, the Jewish People encounters the other nations and becomes petrified. But we are not supposed to be afraid! As King David tells us, “G-d is with me. I have no fear. How can man affect me?” (Psalm 118) 

view
THE PATH OUT OF EXILE


I believe that it is appropriate during the Sefiras HaOmer countdown between Passover and the holiday of Shavuos to contemplate our own life and our relationship to events in the world around us. Especially in this era of history, a realistic assessment of world events is likely to lead one closer to the Master of the Universe, as it becomes increasingly clear that we cannot depend on the surrounding culture.  

view
TREMORS


The second summer after our marriage, years before we were observant, my wife and I were employed as fire lookouts in Crater Lake National Park, Oregon. We lived in a cabin on top of Mount Scott, 8,832 feet above sea level. Our view extended about 150 miles in each direction and we looked down on Crater Lake, one of the most beautiful spots you could imagine. 

view
MORE EVIL AUTOMOBILES


We have just returned after two months in the Holy Land. It was hard to leave, but we have much to accomplish, and the words of Rabbi Moshe Shternbuch Shlita"h still ring in my ears: "Yisroel, you are a soldier and soldiers have to go where the battle is." 

view
WHY WE NEED TO ACT LIKE ANGELS


The essential message of Yom Kippur is that everything depends on our spiritual condition. To the extent that we follow Hashem's will, our life will be good. The economy is not the determining factor. Politics is not the determining factor. Social issues are not the determining factor. The only thing that counts is our relationship with G-d. That's it. 

view
HOW PEACE COMES


"When you will go out to war against your enemies...." (Deuteronomy 21:10). Thus begins this week's Torah portion. We are learning a lot about war these days. 

view
DON'T BLAME THE MEDIA


People are upset at the media.

During the War in Gaza, it seemed as if the entire world was against Israel! And for good reason! It was! I want to ask: are you surprised? 

view

 

Recent Posts


Tags

alone Shavuos king heaven redeemer yeshiva Holy land Divine presence cholent kinneret siddur incense Bilaam Moshaich fires evil Rabbis stars terror tears Achashveirosh culture survival mikveh, Sabbath menorah flood death repent Mordechai logic Zion Ten Commandments Egypt Maimonides brotherhood Psalm Angel of Death heavenly gates Holiness eternal Amram Parsha materialism danger Jacob Nation of Israel spirituality Day of Judgement Golden Calf Tu b'Shvat Song of Songs deluge Miraglim automobiles Gog pray dreams Laban 2020 Vision war High Holy Days Pharaoh Holy Ark matzos Jewish People Europe India esrog Holocaust Rome fragrance Amalek Faith idol Matisyahu paradise Moshe sun creation Torah scholars Chol haMoed Samuel yarmulke Golus prayer book Pinchas forefathers Beit Hamikdash Master of the Universe Golan seder synagogue darkness King David Rashi prophet Isaac Esau stones Tu b'Av minyan Talmud Shechina Psalms trees terrorist Rabbi Akiva Moab priests Solar eclipse kosher Holy Temple slavery slaves Hagar Lot Red Heifer purity America Jewish Chofetz Chaim angels Red Sea evil inclination Babylon three weeks Sea of Galilee Sodom Israel Ezekiel Lunar eclipse chaos Ruth Earth judgement Rosh Hashana Benjamin Sarah Tisha b'Av Eglon Midrash Jeremiah Chanukah Rebecca Elul Noah locusts biblical Eve Isaiah compassion Rosh Hashanah Land of Israel Moshiach murder cries Judaism tablets water Sukkah mitzvos Second Temple Terror Attack in Jerusalem End of Days tremors gossip Malbim media Magog night Father in Heaven Rebbe Avraham Galil Balak lights Children of Israel Creator Ammon Repentence Moses Jewish festival prophets evolution liberation earthquake Shabbos shofar God fault Aharon Garden of Eden Purim Yerushalayim eternity repentance barley rabbi Ishamael messiah bible Ishmeal Western World Solomon hubris Tallis redemption bird chessed Tzuk etan Temple Mount Teshuva Ashkenazi Baku Raiders of the Lost Ark persecution High Priest Esther miracle Genesis Maccabeans sacrifices Babylonia Mount Sinai ancestors prayer Passover spiritual blessing keys Greeks self-worship shield of Abraham leprosy Rachel soul Yaakov Geula tabernacle Edom resurrection Jewish holidays sin secret Mount Zion Hebrew Hasmoneans sanctity Passover Seder Banias Dead Sea miracles holy Tefillin rosh chodesh kesuba Haman Western Wall kiddush Heavenly Mercy Day of Atonement meraglim mikveh G-d King of the Universe New Moon Exodus Mount Hermon Bais Hamikdosh ethics Jew world to come moon Matriarchs Zion, Angel Abraham mitzva spies peace salvation Temple Zohar heavenly throne rain fear Protective edge Torah portion Ishmael missiles light Miriam Abrahem Adam Leah Judgement Day Sukkos Jerusalem terrorists patriarchs Zechariah Joseph pain Samuel the Prophet Sages King Solomon Macabees Yom Kippur David Final redemption Jews Boaz Hashem shmittah violence Sefiras haOmer Chanukkah song prayers commandment prophet Samuel plague Sephardi Judah Torah Canaan idolatry Chafetz Chaim Blame Shushan United Nations holiday enemies terrorism patriarchs'matriarchs Prophecy bris milah Sabbath exile angel

Archive