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Rabbi Asher Brander

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Rabbi Asher Brander is Rabbi of the Westwood Kehilla, Founder/Dean of the LINK (Los Angeles INtercommunity) Kollel, and has been a long time High School Rebbe.

Shoftim: New and Improved!

August 11, 2010, by

Every once in a while, when I wander into a supermarket, I find the same old comforting brands, the ones to which we are so accustomed. Honey Nut Cheerios, Maxwell House, Reynolds Wrap, Heinz, Erewhon (for California people). What’s amazing is that these same reliable brands that have been around for 30, 40, and 50

Re’eh: Seeing ≠ Believing

August 4, 2010, by

These seven weeks between Tisha B’av and Rosh Hashana offer sweet sounds of consolation and comfort, reminding us that the best is yet to come. In the haftorah, Yeshayahu offers a glimpse beyond, presenting a description of aesthetic beauty that will be our future Jerusalem(1). And I will make your windows out of kadkod stone

A Rewarding World

July 28, 2010, by

Our parsha commences with a reward and punishment classic; first, the reward: In the future, as a consequence of your heeding these laws, and your guarding and fulfilling them; Ad-noy, your G-d, will guard for you the covenant and the kindliness that He swore to your forefathers. He will love you, and bless you, and

Seeking Refuge

July 18, 2010, by

By the Jews, justice happens quickly. For example, on the rare occasion when a capital punishment is invoked, the gap between decision and implementation is less than 36 hours, nor do lashes and general payment/repayment obligation extend for a long period of time. Apparently, death row, protracted justice and seething jails teeming with unrepentant convicts

Til We Speak Again

July 17, 2010, by

We left Egypt as a nation. Thus Mitzrayim was our womb, the place of our conception and gestation [Midrash Tehillim 114]: R. Acha said in the name of R. Yonatan: What is meant by the term “a nation from within a nation”? Like someone who forcibly extricates the fetus from the womb .. so too

Matot: It’s the Thought

July 7, 2010, by

“All’s well that ends well” is one of many pithy maxims that enter our world from the backdoor of Western culture. While most aphorisms seem harmless enough and this particular one bespeaks a generally cheerful attitude, it behooves the reflective Jew to examine all notions emanating from one’s mouth [perhaps even more, but at least

Balak: Passionately Yours

June 24, 2010, by

A famous insider Jewish joke goes like this: (1) In shul, Cohen saunters over to Finkelstein and in a hushed tone asked, “Nit oif Shabbos g’redt, (It’s not really Shabbat-like speech, but ..) do you know anybody who has a car for sale? My old clunker just died on Thursday.” Finkelstein was surprised. “You know,”

Chukat: Connectivity

June 16, 2010, by

A classic story: During wartime, a certain individual would come to the country’s border with a wheelbarrow full of dirt. The border guard looked at the man’s papers and all was in order for him to cross. But the guard was certain the man was smuggling some sort of contraband in the wheelbarrow. So the

Korach: For Heaven’s Sake

June 8, 2010, by

A well known mishna frames our parsha – the classic section of the Korach dispute [Pirkei Avot, 5:20] Any dispute which is for the sake of Heaven [l’sheim shomaym], will in the end endure. Any dispute which is not for the sake of Heaven, will not endure. – Which is a dispute that is for

Beha’alotecha: Free Fish

May 26, 2010, by

Sometimes free is expensive. Just consider those free miles (with your annual credit card), that free laptop (with 20 membership signups) and free gas (with a new car and up to 10,000 miles a year). No wonder, explained the Chofetz Chaim, that Avraham insisted on paying for the Machpelah. Everything in life costs and sometimes