Friday, September 21, 2018

Divrei Torah

We Should Accept the Differences in All of Klal Yisrael’s Children

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov tells of a prince who became mad and thought he was a turkey. He felt compelled to sit naked under the table, pecking at bones and pieces of bread like a turkey. All the royal physicians gave up hope of curing him of this madness. The king grieved tremendously.

A sage

The Shofar: From Frustration to Fulfillment

We have all experienced frustration at some point in our lives due to difficulty grasping a concept. As cognitively active beings, mankind must make sense of his environment, and if things don’t add up, tension ensues. For some, the challenge of confusion leads to a more concerted effort to arrive at a sensible conclusion. For the

Inspiration for the Month of Elul

Once again it’s the time of the year we search for inspiration in order to improve aspects of ourselves and our lives. Rosh Chodesh begins the long process extending throughout the month, culminating on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The wailing sound of the shofar, which is meant to stir our souls and awaken us to grow

Why Does the Bergen-Rockland Eruv Matter to Us?

Editor’s note: This was a drasha delivered by Rabbi Schiowitz at Teaneck’s Congregation Shaare Tefillah on Shabbat, August 19.

 I would like to begin with a yasher koach to members of our community who have been standing in a respectful and compelling manner, opposing the anti-Semitism

‘Tamim Tihiyu Im Hashem Elokecha:’ Be Complete With God

In this week’s parsha, Shoftim, we read about God’s commandment that a person should be “tamim” with God. But what does that mean and how is the obligation satisfied? There are a number of views on the meaning of the word tamim and how to fulfill this obligation.

Onkelos translates the

Let Us Recognize Hashem’s Hand in Our Lives

Tisha B’Av, the most tragic day in the Jewish calendar, is a day full of sadness. We observe the strictest traditions of personal and collective mourning, sit on the floor and read lamentations, remove all of the finer dressings from our synagogues and even do not put on tefillin in the morning—to show our unworthiness to wear

Hard to Swallow: Controversies 

Over Kashrut of Contemporary Toothpaste

May this special post be an ilui neshama (merit for the soul) of my dear mother, Mrs. Joan Maybruch, Yocheved Pesha bat Hillel, z”l, on her yahrzeit.

Is Kosher Toothpaste a Paradox?

Rendering Judgments and Pictures: Looking Beyond the Surface

Parshat Devarim

“Don’t judge a book by its cover” is common wisdom, but the Torah, in this week’s parsha, tells us how to properly judge. The pasuk in Parshat Devarim states, “You shall not favor persons [lit. you shall not recognize a face] in judgment, you shall hear the small just as the

Good Choices, Bad Choices

God writes in His holy Torah, “See I have placed before you today, the life and the good, the death and the evil, good and evil and you should choose life… And you choose life.” (Deuteronomy 30, 15, 19)

Life is full of choices, and the choices we make could either create light or

Coming Full Circle

It was just four days before Pesach when my phone rang. My father was calling to let me know that he and my mom wouldn’t be joining us for Pesach. He said he was having some “circulatory issues” and would be having additional testing during Chol Hamoed. When I pressed about his condition I got no answers, just that the doctor

Breathing Aleph

“Other than the Creator, there is nothing.”—

Yehoshua Bin Nun, Aleinu

Sure, you are huge. I mean, you are 10 billion times larger than a hydrogen atom. You surely have every right to feel in control, never mind super-significant. And,

Matchil BeGenut U’Mesayem BeShevach: It All Goes Back to the Brit

“We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, but Hashem our God took us out from there with a strong hand and outstretched arm. And if the Holy One, blessed be He, hadn’t taken our ancestors out of Egypt, we and our children and grandchildren would still be slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt…”