Friday, February 23, 2018


Purim, Alcohol and the Messages  We Send: A Case for Consistency

It’s hard to believe but Purim is just around the corner. In less than two weeks, Jews all over the world will gather and celebrate a day embedded with meaning and infused with joy. Purim provides adults and children alike with the opportunity to connect with God and with each other in a remarkable way, granting us an experience

Tetzaveh: The Suit

Shemot 29:29-30

“There’s just no way.”

“But it’s tradition.”

“I don’t care. I just can’t do it.”

“Your father would have wanted you to wear the suit.”

Talking With Teens About a Sad Day in Florida

It was ridiculously warm outside late Tuesday afternoon.

And the last thing my Jewish day school high school students wanted to do was stay inside on a bright, balmy February 75-degree afternoon. They asked if we could hold class outside. It was too beautiful to stay in.

Brachot at a Brit Milah: Sephardic Versus Ashkenazic Customs

Part I

Mazal tov! David Feder, a beloved friend of Congregation Shaarei Orah, the Sephardic Congregation of Teaneck, had a boy! Since David, who observes Sephardic practice, now lives in a community that is not yet blessed with a Sephardic congregation, he asked me for guidance regarding the

Avoda Zara 34

May these words of Torah serve as a merit le’iluy nishmat Menachem Mendel ben Harav Yoel David Balk, a”h.

This week we learned Avoda Zara 34. These are some highlights.

Avoda Zara 34: Why do we wear a kittel on Yom Kippur?

Males and Memory: Learning the T wo Meanings of Z-C-R

Since Parshat Zachor is upcoming, I thought it would be appropriate to deal with the root Z-C-R. I actually dealt with this topic before. (Do you remember?!) But this is an improved version.

As we all know, the letters Z-C-R generate two different words in Hebrew: male and remember. Is there a

The Power of Unity

I don’t know if there’s anything worse than being a sock. Socks are put on hastily in the morning and have the inauspicious task of wrapping around a person’s smelly foot. They quickly become smelly, and often get wet. Then, at night, they are pulled off, and in the best situations cast into a hamper, if not just left on the

Parshat Zachor and a Recurring Historical Struggle

The disproportion between Amalek’s crime and their punishment is stunning. Their desert attack of the pilgriming Jews elicits a seemingly exaggerated response—a specific mitzvah to eliminate every member of this nation, coupled with a separate mitzvah to verbally remember (zachor) this event. Evidently, this isolated skirmish

Parshas Zachor: Looking Past the Veil to Defeat Amalek Today

For many years now, I’ve been bothered with a question that I know many have asked. Hashem performed incredible miracles for the Bnei Yisrael as they left Egypt and throughout their journey in the desert. These open Divine interventions infused them with a strong belief in Hashem. Why can’t we experience such open miracles

Modern Day Amalek Threats

This Shabbos we will be reading Parshat Zachor, where we are bidden to always remember Amalek. In Shemot (17:8-16) we read that Amalek became a mighty Nomad tribe. They were the first to attack the new nation of Israel. By doing so, they showed they had no fear of God, and broke the reputation of invincibility that the Jews had

We Must Have Continued Faith in Hashem

A middle-aged couple planned to celebrate their newly acquired status as empty nesters; they planned to check into a luxurious country spa for a midweek retreat on their way home from dropping off their youngest child in his college dorm. Unfortunately, their dream getaway was dashed by the tragic untimely heart attack and death of

A Lesson in Morality

Shabbat Zachor

Parshat Tetzaveh

The haftarah this Shabbat Zachor is the well-known story told in Sefer Shmuel I of King Shaul’s battle against Amalek, a war he was commanded to pursue in fulfillment of the mitzvah we read