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Rabbi Asher Brander

Rabbi Asher Brander

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.

Vaetchanan: Comfort at Last

August 14, 2008, by

Jews tend to be peddlers, even when we have no things to sell. Yesterday, I met a young man who was trying to make a deal, a shidduch. He was sufficiently confused by my hashkafic world that he figured I can connect him with equally confused or confusing personalities. On that score, we’ll have to

Devarim: Power of Real Tears

August 7, 2008, by

Chorma. The name doesn’t ring many bells – but it is a sad place – a very sad place. It’s another good reason to read Devarim before Tisha B’av. Here’s the story(1): But you were unwilling to go up, and you defied Hashem, your G-d. You grumbled in your tents and said, “Because of Hashem’s

Matot: Words

July 23, 2008, by

Peddlers of the English language have the good fortune of choosing from hundreds of thousands of words. Any given idea may be stated in the Latin, Germanic or Saxon tongues. Are you crazy (Scandinavian), lunatic (French), insane (Latin) maniacal (Greek) or just meshuge (Yiddish/Hebrew)? For those that count these sorts of things, there are approximately

Pinchas: To Own and To Have

July 16, 2008, by

I refuse to tell the whole joke. But somehow that super clichéd line about my father’s a kohein and my grandfather’s a kohein (so I wanted to be a kohein too) never fails to deliver concomitant grins – and groans (usually from the same people). Our parsha marks the first appearance of a man, whose

Balak: Holy Jews

July 10, 2008, by

Ironically and sadly, we need our enemies to remind us of our greatness. Perhaps this is why we walk into shul everyday with Balaam’s prophetic observation, mah tovu ohalecha Yaakov (24:5 – How goodly are your tents, O Jacob) on our lips. Even as other motivations might also be at play(1), it worth considering the

Korach: Gratefully Yours

June 26, 2008, by

It is a classic machlokes (disagreement), one for the ages. Everybody but Ramban knows that the Torah is not written in chronological order. After all, ein mukdam u’meuchar batorah (lit. there is no early and late in the Torah) and “the Torah is not a history book”. Such has been the mantra of our chinuch

Shelach: Negotiating With God

June 19, 2008, by

Far too many years ago, my sixth grade Rebbe once challenged our class: For a moment, imagine that you can be an eyewitness to any scene in Tanach – which one would it be? I honestly don’t remember my classmates responses, but surely some chose matan torah (they were there – but have a slight

Beha’alotcha: In Praise of Lambs

June 11, 2008, by

What do Cal Ripken Jr. and Aharon HaKohen (the High Priest) have in common? Probably nothing – except in the mind of American Jews who have a penchant of connecting the sublime to the ridiculous. Aharon receives the mitzvah to light the Menorah everyday. In its summary statement, the Torah states (Numbers, 8:3) “Aharon did

Shavuot: For the Love of Torah – 4 Mini Reflections

June 4, 2008, by

1. They call it the Magen Avraham’s kasha. The most famous question regarding this least famous of Jewish holidays: Shavuot is 50 days after Pesach. Go back to the original Revelation and work out the math (we were redeemed on a Thursday and received the Torah on a Shabbos); it turns out that we received

Naso: The Inner World

June 4, 2008, by

Several centuries ago, the Pope decreed that all the Jews had to convert or leave Italy. There was a huge outcry from the Jewish community, so the Pope offered a deal. He would have a religious debate with the leader of the Jewish community. If the Jews won, they could stay in Italy; if the