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Rabbi Eliyahu Safran

Lights and Miracles

December 4, 2020, by

I collect dreidels. Lots of them. From the United States, from Israel, from Spain, Hungary, India, Russia, Scotland… from all over the world! Dreidels made from glass, from wood, from metal and, yes, from clay. Ornate dreidels and simple ones. Dreidels that make noise, dreidels that make light, dreidels that make music. I began my […]

The Physical, The Spiritual – The Balance

October 2, 2019, by

At our core is a seemingly contradictory duality, a duality that poses challenges and creates tensions in nearly every waking moment. We possess a physical nature, which we share with every other being that walks the earth, and we possess a spiritual nature, unique among creatures and one imbued with the dignity and divinity of […]

Hope and Faith: To Be Transformed

September 16, 2019, by

Our great king and poet, David, gave voice to his deepest desire when he wrote, “One thing I ask of the Lord…to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life…”  To live in the House of the Lord! Who could contemplate anything grander or more worthwhile? And yet, after the […]

The Truth Behind the Mask

March 11, 2019, by

The whole world is a narrow bridge, but the essence, is not to be afraid – Rav Nachman of Breslav That the Ba’alei HaKabalah find mystical connections and meanings in things large and small is a credit to their insight and spirituality. Still, when they draw a direct connection between Purim and Yom Kippurim it feels […]

Simchat Torah: The Knock Upon the Door

October 4, 2018, by

How did it get so late so soon? – Dr. Seuss Siyum, the Hebrew word for “termination” means so much more than that.  It is a celebration observed when we reach a worthy moment of completion as when we complete the study of a tractate of Talmud or the finishing of the Torah cycle.  There are, […]

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 […]