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Monday, March 25, 2019

Divrei Torah

Parshas Matos-Masei: Managing Life’s Journeys

I had the great zechus (privilege) to live in Eretz Yisrael for 11 years, both as a single person in yeshiva and for six years as a “young married” with four children, including twins! Fourteen years ago we moved to America, dreaming one day to return to our beloved land…but we’re still here. This past week I experienced a

Pinchas: Multi-Generational Experience in Israel

The long-awaited future is finally here. An entire generation has passed and a new generation is finally poised to enter the Land of Israel, seize historical opportunity, and advance toward monarchy and the construction of a Temple. Their parents’ generation had initiated tragic rebellions and insurrections that ultimately

Pinchas: Creating a Foundation of Holiness

A few years ago, I experienced pain in my neck, shoulder, upper back and knee. I rubbed in a warming ointment, but it did not alleviate the pain. Massage helped, but only momentarily. I didn’t know what to do. I asked a doctor friend of mine for direction. He told me to stand straight with my feet slightly apart so he could

Balak: Sordid and ‘Sworded’ Tongues

Word of the advancing Jewish nation has spread among the entire Middle East. Forty years earlier, this band of slaves had been miraculously liberated from the totalitarian regime of Egypt and had been exposed to a spurt of Divine miracles. Though their entry to Israel had been significantly and tragically delayed, here they were at

Jewish Motorcyclists Celebrate Shared Jewish Values

“You mean to say that there are motorcyclists who are Jewish? How can that be?” I am often asked that question because the traditional image of a motorcyclist is one of an outlaw, a bad guy with tattoos who belongs to a gang and terrorizes others. Jews are supposed to be people of the book. How can these different

Parshas Balak: Honoring the Dignity of Man

Judaism places great importance on human dignity. We are, after all, created in the image of the Almighty. Many times it takes extra care to preserve dignity, but failure to do so can result in tragedy. Let’s look at a couple of examples.

There was a man who had done some terrible things and

Parshas Chukas: Fighting the Good Fight

Warfare is dangerous. People get hurt, spirits are broken and some battles are lost. Victories happen when there’s true perseverance—when the weary soldiers don’t give up. They rise up to fight with all their might, again and again until they are victorious. The same holds true with the wars inside us—the spiritual battles

A Tribute to David Thaler, z”l: My Role Model, Mentor and Friend

Until last week I belonged to a very special chevra, the “Family and Friends of David Thaler.” As a member of that chevra I was privileged to receive a weekly email recounting the family milestones and events, as well as insights David gleaned from his weekly Torah studies. I first met David when he joined an IEP meeting I

Clinging to Perfection

Did you ever think that in an imperfect world there can be an entity of perfection? Would it be comforting to know that you could attach yourself to a manifestation of perfection? In a world of confusion and doubt that has recently seen people taking their own lives, it’s important to know that a positive aspect of perfection

Chukat: Miriam’s ‘Well’

Forty years have elapsed, and the Jewish people are positioned to enter the land. The previous generation has all but passed, and gradually the leadership will perish as well. Our parsha highlights the passing of two of these leaders—Miriam and Aharon. Subsequent to Miriam’s death a water shortage develops, and the crisis is

Korach: Choosing Neighbors in Israel

The Korach insurrection about which we read this week arose from simmering unrest centered in the southern flank of the Jewish desert encampment. The Levite family of Kehat—Korach’s family—resided to the south and this area became “ground zero” for the political discontent. This disgruntlement traveled quickly and

Parshas Korach 5778: Accepting Our Mission

Some names are not high on the list when we have a new baby boy. Korach is one of those names. He instigated a major revolt against Moshe and was later swallowed alive in the abyss. Yet the parsha that bears his name is rather subtle in its introduction, opening with a seemingly small detail: Vayikach Korach—and Korach