Wednesday, April 25, 2018


Hallel on Yom Ha’atzmaut at Congregation Shaarei Orah

Part I

In celebration of Yom Haatzmaut of our beloved Medinat Yisrael, we will review the major points of the debate whether one should recite Hallel on Yom Ha’atzmaut. We will discuss some of the major Talmudic sources that have been the focus of this debate. Rav Ovadia

Some Interesting Words in the Amidah

Compared to some of our other prayers, the Hebrew in the daily Amidah is fairly straightforward. Nevertheless, there are some interesting words. I will now present a selection (in the order the words appear in the Amidah):

Gomel: In Tanach, the root G-M-L has several meanings. Sometimes it means

The Will of God or the Will of Man

At first glance, the connection between the haftarah and our parsha seems obvious: the tragic deaths of Nadav and Avihu, the sons of Aharon, the kohen gadol, in the midst of the nation joyously celebrating the inauguration of the Mishkan service is paralleled in our haftarah by the death of Uzzah, the son of Avinadav, one who


Q: Which weapon becomes more powerful when you cut off the tip? A: A sword. When you remove the “s” you are left with “word,” and one of those can be more powerful than the sharpest blade.

I’m not going to start talking about how words can hurt people, even though of course that is

The Beauty of Imperfection: Tasting the Bitter With the Sweet

Our Jewish ideology teaches the truth that Hashem created us as “imperfect” human beings, with the charge of growing spiritually each and every day. Indeed, it is this opportunity for growth that reflects the beauty of our “imperfection” and that distinguishes us from malachim, angels.” Yet, ironically, we are guilty of

Yom Hazikaron: Like Sheep or Like Doves

Days of mourning aren’t foreign to Jews. We all experience periods of personal mourning and grief at the loss of family. Beyond our personal aveilut we collectively experience national periods—such as sefirah and the period surrounding Tisha B’Av—which have been enshrined as historical periods of sorrow. In this respect,

Good to the Last Bite

In my youth, before I owned any sefarim I loved siddurim and machzorim and was always excited by new ones. This was especially true as Artscroll published its machzorim. (Today, we can hardly remember what the world was like before Artscroll, but it was only a few decades ago when Artscroll was an incredible novelty.)

It Takes a Community

There is a halachic hierarchy principle of prioritization when it comes to aiding those in need called aniyei irkha kodem. This means that we are obligated to provide for the needy in our own community first, before extending aid to others. I believe that this norm is a value that applies beyond simple charity; in fact, it

Blunting Teeth, Not Hitting Them

We just emerged from the wonderful experience of the Pesach Seder, one of the paradigms of Jewish education. Perhaps the most striking part of this pedagogic model is the four sons. Each child needs his or her own personalized approach—one that will reach him or her both intellectually and emotionally. Of the four sons, the most

The Raid, the Lawyer and ‘Is It Good for the Jews?’

We live in extraordinary times. We all heard the recent news about the FBI raid on President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. (Editor’s note: This Michael Cohen is not to be confused with our friend and frequent contributor Michael Cohen of Englewood and the Simon Wiesenthal Center) Its meaning has made a sport of

The Garage Sale

In just a few hours over the past two days we watched an entire household be sold for next to nothing. Our next door neighbor Anita, a 95-year-old workhorse who months ago became suddenly disabled, was placed in an acute assisted living facility and now has no idea that her home no longer belongs to her. Her sons had no choice but

Classic Drama ‘Detective Story’ Takes the Stage at Ma’ayanot

(Courtesy of Ma’ayanot) Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School, in collaboration with Black Box Studios, announced their 2018 Spring Ma’ayanot Drama Society production: Sidney Kingsley’s captivating, riveting drama “Detective Story.” Featuring the school’s largest and most diverse cast yet, “Detective Story” will be