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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.

Pinchas: Righteous Women – Then & Now

July 9, 2009, by

The daughters of Tzelafchad, those righteous and smart women, petition Moshe for a piece of land in Eretz Yisrael (Bamidbar 27, their father died and why should their family lose out). Their claim is vindicated by the Almighty and through their righteousness a parsha in the Torah comes to light – one of only four

Shelach: Of Courage and Conviction: A Tale of Two Ways

June 17, 2009, by

It’s time for the annual summer Bamidbar depression – an unavoidable mindset created by reading a string of five very depressing parshiyot [Beha’alotcha, Shelach Korach Chukat Balak]: five weeks marred by machloket, misdeed and missed opportunity, leaving one to ponder the what-ifs and if-onlys of Jewish history. The meraglim (spies) post-mortems however do yield two

Beha’alotcha: Free Fish

June 10, 2009, by

Sometimes free is expensive. Consider all those free miles (with your annual credit card), free laptop (with the purchase of) and free gas (with a new car and up to 10,000 miles a year). The Chofetz Chaim (in discussing why Avraham was so insistent on paying for Machpela) pointed out that everything in life costs;

Naso: Seizing the Crown

June 1, 2009, by

It’s a Rambam-Ramban classic heavyweight duel. As the Torah introduces us to the nazir, the simple Jew who abstains from wine and grape byproducts, ritual contact with the dead and does not cut his hair (taking upon himself kohen-like status (1)), we must rightly consider what should our attitude be towards this fellow? (I’m sure he/she

Shavuot: A Wedding, Omer & Ultimate Humanity

May 21, 2009, by

1. Shavuot night is like a wedding without worrying about the color scheme – a night of pure encounter. Torat Hashem Temimah Meshivat Nefesh – Torah heals the soul. Pikudei Hashem Yesharim Misamchei Leiv. It brings great inner joy. So why do we stay up all night? It’s like that first taste of love. Picture

Behar: A Nation of Heroes

May 12, 2009, by

A few days ago, a man approached me with a simple question. Everything about the way he asked made it clear that it was not a detached intellectual inquiry, but came from a very deep place: “how is it possible to live when after a full shemitta (sabbatical) year (where the farmer may not work

Emor: A Shabbat Stop

May 6, 2009, by

Yiddishe Nachas (lit. “Jewish transcendent joy”) is the whimsical expression my friend employs when our minyan skips the short supplicatory prayer known as tachanun. A Monday or Thursday (extra long tachanun) is an extra bonus. As any minyanaire will readily share, the recently completed month of Nissan, a tachanun-less month is replete with much (a

Kedoshim: The Greatest Victim

April 29, 2009, by

I vaguely recall a father recollecting a Shabbat experience wherein his three year old son was pounding his two year old daughter. After being duly admonished and receiving his requisite lecture, the boy knowingly responded: “Abba – we don’t hit on Shabbat?” The kid had figured it out; hitting his sister was a Shabbat prohibition.

Mezora: Metzora Therapy

April 22, 2009, 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: Crying, Fighting & Silly Stuff

April 13, 2009, by

CRYING But did he cry? Yes, we all know of Aharon’s silent nobility – but did he shed tears for the loss of his Nadav and Avihu? A stoic Aharon training his inner world to be inured to the pain is a disturbing notion. Ramban’s words (1): “that he was crying aloud and then weeped