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Rabbi Moshe Taragin

Time After Time

January 29, 2020, by

Parshat Bo chronicles the dramatic redemption of the Jewish people from a two hundred-year nightmare of backbreaking slavery and oppression. The great “night of redemption” is punctuated by celebratory rituals which ultimately become incorporated into the Pesach Seder. However, before the Jews are informed of these ceremonies, they are instructed to reconfigure their calendar to

The Decision

January 15, 2020, by

The birth of Moshe represents a turning point of the Jewish saga in Egypt. This would-be savior arrives as the Jewish slaves are being mercilessly crushed by Egyptian oppression. Pharaoh had legislated that all Jewish infants be flung into the Nile river and delivered to their inevitable death; Egyptian discrimination had begotten slavery and slavery

The Siyum Hashas, Met-Life and Goshen

January 6, 2020, by

Each of the fifty-two sections or parshiyot of the Torah are separated from the previous section by an empty space of at least nine letters. There is only one exception to this policy –the beginning of parshat Vayechi – which is fused to the conclusion of parshat Vayigash without any intervening empty space. Rashi cites

Is Anti-Zionism Anti-Semitism? Does it Matter?

November 20, 2019, by

The parsha is dominated by two parallel stories of dramatic negotiations. Avraham bargains with the citizens of Chevron to secure a burial plot for his deceased wife. Afterwards he dispatches his loyal servant to secure a wife for his chosen son, Yitzchak.  In each instance local “parties” must be convinced – to sell land or

Cyber Towers of Bavel

October 30, 2019, by

Sadly, an entire planet had suffered total moral collapse and was tragically annihilated by the violent waters of the flood. Noach’s world disappears and humanity must be rebuilt from scratch. A few generations later, an ambitious company of people attempt to form a modern city punctuated by a tower. For some unspecified reason G-d intervenes

A Parsha Lesson from Humpty Dumpty

October 24, 2019, by

Around twenty five years ago, on Shabbat Bereishit, I attended a Friday night talk of Rav Aharon Lichtenstein zt”l prior to Ma’ariv prayers. These extensive wide-ranging talks usually lasted more than an hour and challenged weary Friday-night audiences. During his speech Rav Lichtenstein spoke eloquently about original sin and the fall of Man.  At one

Selichot, Teshuva and Elections in Israel

September 19, 2019, by

As Selichot commence this Saturday night (for Ashkenazim), the buildup to the Great Days begins in earnest. These are days of judgement, of pronounced Divine Presence but also days of identity-crafting. During this period, we fashion the person we would “like to be” from the shards of the person we “have become.” Teshuva and penitence

Defending Nationalism

September 12, 2019, by

Parshat Ki Teitzei presents a seemingly harsh set of guidelines for inclusion within the Jewish people. Marriage is strictly limited to pedigreed Jews and, additionally, not all races are granted access into Judaism. Certain nationalities, such as Amon and Moav, are completely excluded based on past national misdeeds. Other nationalities such as the Egyptians are

Kosher World

August 29, 2019, by

At the core of Jewish identity lies Kosher dietary laws and kosher eating. Almost every “identified” Jew maintains some minimal standard of a kosher diet. Kosher laws themselves are Divine will and do not change with the passing of time – they are eternal and immutable.  However, the manner in which we experience these guidelines,