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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.

Bamidbar: The Right Response

May 29, 2008, by

Three statisticians go deer hunting with bows and arrows. They spot a big buck and take aim. One shoots and his arrow flies off three meters to the right. The second shoots and his arrow flies off three meters to the left. The third statistician jumps up and down yelling; We got him! We got

Yom Yerushalayim: For Thee, I Cry

May 29, 2008, by

I am sure psychologists call is some fancy term, but permit me my own: Delayed Cry Reaction (DCR) Moshe’le (age 4) and Rochel (age 3) are playing in the park. Moshe falls off the slide and scrapes himself. It hurts – really. Mommy couldn’t see the fall; she is schmoozing by the benches at the

Bechukotai: To Love and Respect

May 22, 2008, by

A bright light of confusion surrounds the day we call Lag B’omer. Ask one Jew what it is and he might even give you two opinions. According to Pri Megadim (1), something is special about the day, but we are not sure exactly what it is. If he’s not sure, them I’m not either. Two

Behar: Forever – For Now

May 13, 2008, by

When is forever not forever? (Note: We are not referring to Western society’s attitude towards marriage or to a donor’s “eternal” commitment to a cause) In a classic analysis of the relationship between Torah Sheba’al Peh (Oral Law) and the Jew, Beis Halevi offers the following metaphysical gem (1): At first (first set of tablets),

Emor: Between a Gift and an Accomplishment

May 8, 2008, by

Where’s the Besamim (spices)? (Disclaimer: I am not an expert on souls and can’t distinguish between basic souls and extra souls. We’ll leave that to the resident experts.) Our Rabbis teach that every Shabbos we are bestowed with a neshama yeseira (1) – an extra soul, that serves as a necessary receptacle to receive the Shabbos

Pesach: In the Spirit of Fours

April 14, 2008, by

In the spirit of fours…Four quick Mini Reflections on Pesach 1. As I sit by my computer considering the mountain of work (and the molehill of time) that still lies before me, one phrase keeps pounding my consciousness – a sign from the Beis Medrash of my youth – ein kedusha bli hachana. There can

Pesach: Freedom

April 14, 2008, by

Two basic words appear in our literature to connote freedom. One appears in the Torah and other receives no mention in Tanach proper. It would follow that Chazal describe the essence of Pesach with the Biblical word. In point of fact, nothing is farther than the truth. The Rabbis actually coined a phrase that has

Metzora: The Blessing of Detection

April 10, 2008, by

A video I recently received of the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt”l moves me greatly. In those crazy dollar days, when a daily Sunday saw thousands of people streaming through Crown Heights to receive a bracha and a buck, a remarkable encounter ensues: A man, apparently in his early 60’s, grayish beard, somewhat disheveled, pensively approaches the

Tazria: Concealment and Revelation

April 3, 2008, by

Spiritual metaphysics is never easy to rationalize. Our Western sensibilities may initially recoil at the remarkable notion of tumat leidah, the ritual impurity that commences precisely at the moment a mother gives birth. In brief, Tazria introduces the halacha that accords automatic impurity for seven days to a woman who births a boy – rendering

Shemini: The Sound of Silence

March 26, 2008, by

A silent response is not always heroic. To wit, consider the following image (which does not require much imagination): A mother, in her dual role as criminologist has determined which child has left his imprimatur and artistic know-how upon the living room walls. She begins to question the child. The young boy however, while not