During the second summer of our marriage, when we were still in college, my wife and I were employed as fire lookouts in Crater Lake National Park, Oregon. We lived in a mountaintop cabin 9,000 feet above sea level and our view extended 150 miles in all directions, taking in thousands of forested acres. That summer there were two small fires and the world seemed normal. 


In a certain study hall in Jerusalem, there was a Rabbi who would continually pace up and down between the lecterns, carrying on an intense conversation in learning … with himself! This was a delightful and sometimes amusing spectacle. As he paced, however, he was also aware of his surroundings. One day, I was explaining to my study partner my personal criterion for a good leader of the prayers, namely that he should make me cry. 


“Jacob was left alone and a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn.” (Genesis 32:25)

Who was more alone than our father Jacob? Jacob is alone and his children are alone. “Behold! It is a nation that will dwell in solitude and not be reckoned among the nations.” (Numbers 23:9) That is our unique position in the world and also our strength. 



Recent Posts


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