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Monday, March 25, 2019

Divrei Torah

Trends to Watch: Ahavat Yisrael Families

Magnifying the good, minimizing everything else. Preparing for Asara B’Tevet.

Think about the most recent simcha you went to. While for some, the ba’al/ba’alei simcha and their extended families are similar—all Modern Orthodox or all Yeshivish or all (fill in the blank).

Vayigash: Jewish Sensitivity and Caring

A few years ago I discovered I had celiac disease, which means I cannot eat gluten. No more regular challah, cookies and cakes. At home, it’s fairly easy, as there are now many gluten-free options at the supermarket. However, when going to a simcha or to someone else for a meal, the challenges multiply. Most people don’t think

Vayigash: Importance of Escorting Guests

וַיְדַבְּרוּ אֵלָיו אֵת כָּל דִּבְרֵי יוֹסֵף אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר אֲלֵהֶם וַיַּרְא אֶת הָעֲגָלוֹת אֲשֶׁר שָׁלַח יוֹסֵף לָשֵׂאת אֹתוֹ וַתְּחִי רוּחַ יַעֲקֹב אֲבִיהֶם - And they told him all of

Vayigash: Importance of Escorting Guests

וַיְדַבְּרוּ אֵלָיו אֵת כָּל דִּבְרֵי יוֹסֵף אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר אֲלֵהֶם וַיַּרְא אֶת הָעֲגָלוֹת אֲשֶׁר שָׁלַח יוֹסֵף לָשֵׂאת אֹתוֹ וַתְּחִי רוּחַ יַעֲקֹב אֲבִיהֶם - And they told him all of Joseph’s words

Yosef HaTzadik: The Tevet Jew

Dedicated in loving memory of Baila bat Mordechai v’Rachel, Dr. Beth Cunin, by Sharona and Baruch Benoff

Let us review where we have visited the past few months in our journey through the Jewish calendar. In Elul and Tishrei we bonded with God in the holiest of ways: in the synagogue and at

The Curious Placement and Explanation of Hilchot Chanukah

My wife’s grandfather, Rav Moshe Aaron Poleyeff, zt”l, a rosh yeshiva of Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan Theological Seminary for 46 years, passed away in 1966. Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik spoke at the end of his shloshim, which took place shortly before Chanukah. At the hazkarah, he shared the following insights about the laws of

The Continuing Clarity of ‘Zos Chanukah’

“I can’t believe it’s almost over!” Those words said so often at the end of Chanukah (and our other holidays). It expresses the feeling that although we might have had our fill of doughnuts and latkes, we may not have taken in all the spiritual gain of the holiday.

Let me share with you

Giving Thanks, Even in Difficult Times

It is easy to give thanks to Hashem when all is going well. When we have plenty of money, are in good health and our family is getting along with one another, we can easily say, “Baruch Hashem.” However, it is more challenging to be grateful when times are tough and things are not going as well. Perhaps that is one of the

The Global Impact of Chanukah Upon Humanity

 

Jewish festivals mark watershed moments in our national history. They celebrate both events that advanced our historical mission as well as pivotal moments in our evolving relationship with God. However, holidays also commemorate events that affected the general human condition and contributed to the evolving human spirit. For example, Pesach

Vayishlach: Yaakov’s Historical Roadmap

Toward the end of the first century, at least two delegations of Jewish leaders traveled to Rome to plead the case of the weakened Jewish nation. Jerusalem had been gutted and the Roman empire issued harsh decrees against the remaining feeble Jewish presence. Rabbi Akiva participated in the second delegation in 96 AD and reviewed

Parshas Vayishlach: How to Combat the Yetzer Hara

My friend’s father was a paratrooper in the Israeli army during the Six-Day War. He was dropped off in middle of the desert with orders to blow up the Egyptian planes while they were still on the tarmac. The miraculous success of the destruction of the Egyptian air force, before they were able to take off, gained the Israeli army

Lying and Deception in the Torah

Throughout Bereishit, we are intrigued by various stories of lies and deception. Many of these stories involve our revered patriarchs and matriarchs. What do we make of these stories? What sort of life lessons are we and our children being taught?

For example, we read that Avraham deceives both