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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.

Noach: Flood Lights

October 30, 2008, by

Consider a simple verse that describes the opening of the floodgates [7,11]: … on that day, all the wellsprings of the great deep, burst open, and the windows of the heavens were opened. One chapter later, God closes up shop [8:2]: … The wellsprings of the deep were closed, and [so were] the windows of

Noach: Unleashing the Power of Memory

October 30, 2008, by

Memory is a multi-billion dollar enterprise these days. I am personally on my fourth PDA and angling for a fifth yet sleeker, more efficient model. Reminder cards and scheduler programs abound. Capitalizing on human frailty, the memory industry offers compensation. For in a world that moves ever so quickly, we dare not forget that crucial

Bereishit: The Rest of Shabbat

October 23, 2008, by

It might sound like a strange question – but does God (as it were) abide by His laws of Shabbos? The opening paragraph of Friday night Kiddush, (also chapter 2 of our parsha) may be instructive: Va’yichal Elokim ba’yom ha’shivii, melachto asher osoh, Va’yishbos ba’yom ha’shivii, me’kol melachto asher osoh. Elokim completed on the seventh

Haazinu: The King & I

October 6, 2008, by

If not for the fact that the Almighty wrote it himself, it would seem blasphemous. Enveloped in the midst of the wondrous but scary song known as Ha’azinu is the tragic depiction of a nation gone astray. One that has forgotten the munificence bestowed upon it by the Master of the Universe. In the classical

Simchas Torah: The Secret of Our Eternity

October 1, 2008, by

As Jews, we are accustomed to live in calendar confusion, oscillating between two major Jewish New Years (Tishrei/Nissan), two Judgment Days (Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur), [two Purims, two Pesachs ..]. It’s not so easy to explain it all. So here’s one more to add to the list. Arguably, the greatest Jewish storyteller of all time, the

Sukkos: A Sukkah Life

September 30, 2008, by

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 very end of the grace after meals, where we customarily insert a special request throughout Sukkos: Harachaman hu yakim lanu es sukkas David

Nitzavim: Understanding the Gift

September 25, 2008, by

For this mitzvah that I am prescribing to you today is not too mysterious or remote from you. It is not in heaven, [for you] to say, “Who will go up to heaven for us, – Nor is it overseas, [for you] to say – For the matter is extremely close to you; in your

Ki Tavo: Blinded by the Night

September 18, 2008, by

Here’s an unfortunate but fascinating halachic question: Does a blind woman (or man when relevant) light Shabbos candles with a bracha (blessing)? In other words, does the act of lighting constitute a mitzvah for the blind? Apparently, the question should hinge upon identifying the essential element of the Shabbos licht (light). Do we light to

Ki Tetze: Returning Home

September 10, 2008, by

Allow me to present the beautiful (almost) unvarnished comments of Ohr HaChaim (Morocco, Jerusalem; 1696-1743). First, consider that Rav Chaim Ibn Attar lived in Morocco in the early 18th century and note the stunning contemporary relevance of his thoughts. His point of departure is the Torah’s presentation of the mitzvah of hashavas aveidah (returning a lost

Eikev: Satisfaction, Jewish Style

August 21, 2008, by

It seems innocuous enough, but in our time-starved world, its sheer length strikes fear in the hearts and minds of men, sufficiently so to have spurned an industry of avoidance. How sad it is! I refer to the fear of bentsching (grace after meals or birkas hamazon), that alongside fleishig phobia (the fear of eating