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Rabbi Eliyahu Safran

Rabbi Eliyahu Safran

Counting Up, Counting Down

April 24, 2018, by

Physicists teach us that the movement of time is constant through space.  It moves on and on with the precision and consistency of the finest timepiece.  Tick, tick, tick.  At times reassuring.  Other times maddening.  Tick, tick, tick.  We measure our lives by these perfectly precise segments.  Tick, tick, tick.  Sixty to a minute.  Sixty […]

Who Stands Behind the Mask?

February 21, 2018, by

Rava said, It is one’s duty levasumei, to make oneself fragrant [with wine] on Purim until one cannot tell the difference between ‘arur Haman’ (cursed be Haman) and ‘barukh Mordekhai’ (blessed be Mordecai) – Babylonian Talmud, Megillah 7b Over the centuries, the “duty” to make oneself “fragrant” (drunk) on Purim has represented the great example of […]

Miracles: They Spin and Spin All Around

December 5, 2017, by

For me, dreidels are personal. In years gone by, I have been a rabbi, a teacher, a principal, a rebbi, I have been a lecturer, a communicator.  I have been so many things.  Looking back at my life is sometimes like looking through an old photograph album.  There are times I hardly recognize the man […]

Iasi: A Stain on History, an Ache in My Heart

April 24, 2017, by

My late father (z”l) was a special man – scholarly, pious, wise. A man whose eyes spoke of understandings unfathomable to me when I was young and whose strength and full impressiveness only come into clearest focus as I myself have gotten older. Parents are always something of a mystery to their children. Those parents […]

As Stands the Tree, So Stands the Man Singular and Strong

February 6, 2017, by

Rav Gustman tended a small garden outside his office at the Netzach Yisrael Yeshiva in Jerusalem each and every day.  Even while his students were in the Beit Midrash studying, this great gaon, remained outside, tending his garden!  His students presumed his behavior was a demonstration of chibat ha-aretz, his love for Eretz Yisrael.  In […]

What is Hidden is Never Lost: Rapa-Dreidels, Portugal and the Marranos

December 19, 2016, by

Communal memories do not vanish.  They may become tenuous, fragile as wisps, as fragments, as shards of dreams.  But they remain.  Though the atrocities of the Inquisition sought to banish our memories, our faith, and our identity with cruelties unthinkable even in our own modern era of unspeakable cruelty we continued to remember.  And the […]

Parallel Lives: Three Weeks to Recreate a Bond

August 8, 2016, by

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person – Mignon McLaughlin. We are decidedly troubling beings.  We are at once noble and sanctified creatures, imbued with the glory and holiness of God while, at the same time, being vulnerable and petty creatures, mired in the sad and troubling realities […]

Humility is Not Weakness

June 6, 2016, by

In the delightful book, “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery there is a scene in which the Little Prince takes credit for the sunrise itself, glorying in his work in bringing about the new day.  We find this scene charming because we recognize in the Little Prince the innocence and astonishment of childhood.   The […]

Not a Negative Does Not a Positive Make

May 31, 2016, by

There is a recurring trope in comedy movies in which a leader addresses a group, asking for volunteers to “step forward.”  Of course, no one steps forward.  However, everyone but an unwitting innocent steps backward. The poor sap becomes the “volunteer”. Not stepping backward is the same as stepping forward. Applying that same “principal” to […]

A Light to the Nation: A Small People; A Great Impact

May 9, 2016, by

…but I will make you a light of nations, so that My salvation shall be until the end of the earth. – Isaiah 49:6 Haters gotta hate. Sadly, this dismissive shorthand for the cruelty of individuals and nations has weighed on Israel too heavily throughout our history.  Our tradition has incorporated it into its teaching.  […]