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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.

Purim: Hide & Seek

March 19, 2008, by

Much about Purim is shrouded in mystery. Consider that: The very phrase Megillat Esther has been taken to mean the revelation of the hidden. The Talmud describes the source of Esther in the Torah as being “And I will hide my face from you” (Chullin 139) Hashem’s name is not explicit in the Megillah (one of the

Vayakhel: A Part and Apart

February 29, 2008, by

Our parsha connects two worlds that seem so different and yet share so much. Shabbos and Sanctuary (Mishkan). For the semi halachically literate, these two worlds share profound halachic similarities. Simply consider that: a. the thirty nine melachos (prohibited Shabbos labor categories) derive from the Mishkan. b. the actual Mishkan labor, with its original intent

Ki Tisa: Leadership

February 21, 2008, by

I recently received the following email: A number of 12-year-old girls were beginning to use lipstick, and would put it on in the washroom. That was fine, but after they put on their lipstick they would press their lips to the mirror leaving dozens of little lip prints. Every night, the maintenance man would remove

Terumah: Give and Take

February 7, 2008, by

As Jews, we believe that every component of our existence is a gift. We are not entitled – rather we are endowed. To paraphrase the Department of Motor Vehicles: “Life is a privilege – not a right” More precisely, we are trustees in God’s world. Eventually all that we are entrusted with must return to

Mishpatim: Heart and Mind

January 31, 2008, by

It has happened more than once that I really need my friend’s help. No is simply not acceptable for now. I approach him strategically: “Can I ask you a question?”, “Sure” he responds, “What is it?” I lay down the gauntlet, assuredly stating “Just say yes – then I’ll ask”. Usually, they don’t say yes.

Yitro: Shema (3)

January 24, 2008, by

Shema, the word (not the prayer) is a remarkably subtle one. Almost any (somewhat aware) American Jew will instinctively translate the word as hear (as in hear o’ Israel). Indeed, this is one opinion in the gemara (Berachos 13a) but it is not the whole story. The Rabbis teach that one may recite the prayer

Beshalach: The Appropriate Response

January 17, 2008, by

It has been the new world order for a very long time, an unfortunate human-created reality. Incredibly, we are all victims of the original sin! (Yes, this is Judaism) In Rambam’s classic formulation, it’s been a different existence since the primordial sin – the battle lines shifting from choosing between truth and falsehood to discerning

Bo: The Wealth of Torah

January 10, 2008, by

Eleven years ago, a sweet, spoiled and stereotypical silver spooned 12th grade Beverly Hills student of mine excitedly approached me with a new set of keys. “Rav” he said, “today’s my birthday and my parents gave me a present” – proudly displaying his new keys. I kibbitzed with him, telling him it was so nice

Va’eira: Of Speech and Strength

January 3, 2008, by

It is a mental footnote for the Biblically knowledgeable – most of us not knowing exactly what to make of it. I am referring to the strange fact of Moshe’s k’vad peh, (speech impediment) – a seemingly trivial detail in the epic of Jewish redemption – yet one that Moshe constantly refers to in his

Shemot: In Search of Speech

December 27, 2007, by

In soccer, the ultimate indignity is scoring a goal – for the other team. In a roughly equivalent parallel and a somewhat more significant circumstance, a paranoid Pharaoh ends up serving as the protector and adopted grandfather for Moshe Rabbeinu, the redeemer of Israel; the man who is singularly responsible for Pharaoh’s and Mitzrayim’s downfall.