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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: Counting Jews, Jewishly

May 13, 2010, by

Jews have an aversion to counting people. Walk into a winter mincha minyan and Jews use ten-word verses to verify the minyan. To the minyanaire, no sweeter word than haolam, the final word in the classic Hoshia es Amecha [Tehillim, 28:9] verse can be heard. Why not just count straight? First, a famous Torah verse

Behar-Bechukotai: Moving Worlds

May 5, 2010, by

Two major concepts, Shemitta and Yovel are linked in text, time and tone. Consider that Shemitta [7th year] and Yovel [50th year]: are juxtaposed in the parsha [25:2-7,25:8-13] contiguous in time [years 49 & 50] require the land lie fallow in the identical halachic manner and the Torah uses the same verbs/nouns to describe the

Emor: To Love and to Sanctify

April 29, 2010, by

We all want to be it and to make it. I refer to the great and exalted mitzvah of kiddush Hashem (sanctifying God’s name) [Vayikra, 22:23] You shall not profane My holy Name; but I shall be sanctified amongst Bnei Yisroel. I am Ad-noy Who makes you holy. Rashi, based on a famous Talmud piece

Acharei Mot-Kedoshim: Learning to Love

April 22, 2010, by

Everybody but Chazal knows that the aseret hadibrot (Ten Commandments) appear only twice in the Torah (Yitro and Va’etchanan). In the sharp analysis of R. Levi (1), a third, more eclectic sighting can also be found (2) in the opening section of Kedoshim, wherein he finds explicit and/or strong allusive references to all of the dibrot. While the

Tazria-Metzora: Metzora Therapy

April 14, 2010, by

The metzora is quarantined. He must stay out of all the camps [Shechina, Levi & Yisrael]. In this regard, he occupies a unique status. No other personality experiences such total quarantine. Varying degree of the same notion exist for the zav and ba’al keri, but we apparently reserve our greatest ire for the metzora. ..

Shemini: The Winding Road to Greatness

April 8, 2010, by

Before the sad stuff begins, it is the greatest of days: [9:23-24] And Moshe and Aharon went [in]to the Tent of Meeting and [then] they went outside and blessed the people, and the glory of Ad-noy appeared to the entire people. A fire came forth from before Ad-noy and consumed what was on the altar;

Pesach: A Mini-Reflections Hagadah

March 25, 2010, by

Pesach is what we call it, while Hashem calls it Chag Hamatzos. The Berditchever Rebbe famously explained: Pesach is what Hashem did for us. Chag Hamatzos is our great leap of faith for the love of God. For the other is the essence of any relationship. Our tefillin say Shema Yisrael and His “tefillin” say

Vayikra: Holiness – Jewish Style!

March 17, 2010, by

No book of the Torah requires greater effort to discover nuggets of contemporary relevance than Vayikra. And no book yields greater gold. Let the mining begin! Two paradigm korbanos (sacrifices), Olah and Shelamim highlight our parsha. They differ fundamentally, Olah claiming the stricter feel. Consider that: a. Olah is classified as “holy holies” (kodshei kodshim)

Vayakhel-Pekudei: The Most Precious Thing of All

March 11, 2010, by

Ours is a parsha of construction. First we account for the Mishkan materials [35:5-9] Take [collect] from among yourselves a terumah-offering to Ad-noy. Every man whose heart impels him to generosity shall bring a terumah-offering to Ad-noy: gold, silver and copper, And greenish-blue wool, dark red wool, … incense of aromatic spices, and onyx stones,

Ki Tisa: The Sin of Silence

March 3, 2010, by

Much of the Golden Calf [eigel hazahav] saga confounds. Among the classic elements of inquiry are: a. What precisely was their sin? b. What role did Aharon play? c. Why does Moshe break the tablets? d. Why does Moshe, the greater defender of the people, start by raising the ante with a proclamation of “you