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Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Rabbi Jack Abramowitz is Torah Content Editor at the Orthodox Union. He is the author of six books, including The Tzniyus Book and The Taryag Companion. His latest work, The God Book, is available from OU Press as well as on Amazon.

Life is Unfair (Thank God!)

July 17, 2019, by

Please complete the following quote from Pirkei Avos (4:1): “Who is considered rich? A person who ________________.” If you’re like most people, you probably completed that phrase with “is satisfied with his lot” or “is happy with what he has.” But that’s not what the mishna actually says. “Eizehu ashir? Hasameiach b’chelko” – “Who is

Only Shooting Stars Break the Mold

July 5, 2019, by

On June 26, 2019, Twitter user @ssavannahkramer, a student from Michigan, tweeted, “Somebody please read the first word of all my tweets over the past few months.” The next tweet in her thread, i.e., the previous one chronologically, said, “Once you start to believe that a person is more than just a person, you are

Book Review: Proclaim Liberty Throughout the Land

July 1, 2019, by

Proclaim Liberty Throughout the Land The Hebrew Bible in the United States: A Sourcebook Meir Y. Soloveichik, Matthew Holbreich, Jonathan Silver and Stuart W. Halpern, Editors The Toby Press, LLC This book may seem something of a departure – both for our occasional reviews and for Yeshiva University, whose imprint graces this book. One realizes

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

June 24, 2019, by

The Rolling Stones famously sing: You can’t always get what you want You can’t always get what you want You can’t always get what you want I have a joke for you on that subject. (Warning: There may be a moral at the end.) At the turn of the 20th century, recent immigrant Shloimie Fleischer

“The Emperor’s New Clothes” was Right!

June 12, 2019, by

A few weeks ago, I published an article titled The Ugly Duckling was Wrong, in which I analyzed the classic children’s tale, determined that its lesson was not what we might assume it to be, and then disagreed with what I concluded was the real lesson. For some reason, this resonated with readers, though I’m

Back to School: A Tale of Unintended Consequences

May 29, 2019, by

Many months ago, I shared something that the rabbi of my shul had discussed on Rosh Hashana. He talked about George Nagel, AKA the Yabloner Rebbe. Here’s what I wrote then: In the 1920s, the Yabloner Rebbe (born Yechezkel Taub) moved much of his community to Israel in anticipation of Moshiach’s arrival. Things went poorly

The Ugly Duckling was Wrong

May 22, 2019, by

A few years ago, my family moved into a new home. It had pretty much everything we wanted and a few extras to boot. My wife took up gardening, much to her delight. The only thing she didn’t particularly love was the tree in the front yard. This is one weird-looking tree. It’s droopy, twisted,

Book Review: Roots & Rituals by Mitchell First

May 15, 2019, by

Roots & Rituals: Insights into Hebrew, Holidays and History Mitchell First Kodesh Press I can’t speak for you but this book was 100% up my alley, focusing as it does on linguistics/etymology and history/archaeology, each of which is a subject of interest to me. If any of these – especially the language aspect – is

Overcoming Religious Embarrassment By Just Being Wrong

May 7, 2019, by

A colleague recently heard someone pronounce a religious term differently from the way that she had always pronounced it. This made her concerned that perhaps she had always said it wrong. When such a thing happens, the ramification is that a person becomes retroactively self-conscious. “Have I been saying it wrong? For how long? Who