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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.

Miketz: Ready or Not, Here I Come

December 14, 2009, by

In a “big” parsha of dreams, ascent, drama, turmoil and tears, one “minor ” pasuk looms large: Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his clothing and came in unto Pharaoh.(Bereishis, 41:14) In this verse, with a stunning Seforno insight embellished by a beautiful Chofetz

Vayeshev: The Benefit of Doubt

December 7, 2009, by

The brothers want to kill Yosef. Reuven must think quickly, wisely and courageously.[37:18-22] They saw him [Yosef] from a distance, and before he approached them they were plotting against him to kill him….Reuven heard and rescued him from their hands. He said, “Let us not kill him.”… His purpose was to rescue him from their

Vayishlach: From Devorah to Devorah

December 3, 2009, by

Dinah is violated, and Shimon and Levi do something about it – they wipe out the male Shechemites 1. In principle, it seems that Yaakov agrees – only he is worried about the consequences [Bereishis, 34:30]: Thereupon, Yaakov said to Shimon and Levi, “You have troubled me, to discredit me among the inhabitants of the land,

Vayetzei: The Power of Hidden Love

November 25, 2009, by

It is perhaps the greatest act of selflessness in Biblical lore 1. As Rachel stands ready to marry Yaakov, something they have been pining for seven long years, Lavan has a different plan: [29:22-25] Lavan gathered all the local people and he made a [wedding] feast. When it was evening, he took Leah, his daughter, and

Toldot: Finding the Neshama Tehora

November 19, 2009, by

Here’s a strange question. Did Yitzchak love Yaakov? Read this pasuk carefully and you’ll understand my problem. “Vaye’ehav Yitzchak et Eisav ki tzayid b’fiv v’Rivka ohevet et Yaakov” Yitzchak loved Eisav because he placed game in his mouth and Rivkah loves Yaakov. Much is notable in the verse. Witness the rationale for Yitzchak’s love and

Chayei Sarah: Gray Matter

November 10, 2009, by

In our shul (and I suspect in many others) the Artscroll siddur gray box is well known to many. Yaa’aleh V’yavo, Aneinu, Shir HaMa’alot, etc. For the Artscroll novice, the idea of the box is that it marks the occasional – sometimes we say it, most often we skip it. I have often thought that

Lech Lecha: For the Love of God

October 27, 2009, by

Success! We all want it and seek numerous ways to attain that promised word! Our desire for it has spawned a newly minted genre, the so called success literature. “The Seven Principles of Success, Success is a Choice, Less Stress, More Success to name but a few. As of this writing, 375,982 Amazon books have

Noach: The Name is the Game

October 22, 2009, by

What does Hashem have against skyscrapers? Perched amongst the many enigmatic post Creation stories, the Tower of Bavel narrative reminds us that superficial familiarity with these episodes just won’t do; here, a simple read of the text only serves to pique our curiosity and deepen the story’s mysterious nature: 11:1 All on earth had the

Bereshit: Scary but Special

October 15, 2009, by

Scary but Special Bereshit is the scariest parsha in the Torah. It creates responsibility and frames our life’s mission. God’s world is pregnant with purpose and demands accountability; a notion so overwhelmingly transformative that Rav Elchanan Wasserman profoundly suggested, it spurs the mind to conjure a world without Him; hence the pull of the agnostic/atheist;

Sukkot: A Sukkah Life

September 30, 2009, by

For most, it remains an enigma. We say it; it seems like it fits – but one suspects that we are essentially clueless (an admitted projection) to its Sukkos significance. I refer to the strange recitation at the end of our bentsching, (grace after meals) where we customarily insert a special request throughout Sukkos: Harachaman