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Building Muscles, One Rashi at a Time

August 15, 2018, by

Despite years of really trying to maintain a minimal but fairly steady exercise regimen, I’m still extraordinarily weak. This became painfully clear in recent months when I began experiencing – again – a lot of knee pain and was sent – again – to physical therapy. Not my first rodeo. (It’s a figure of speech;

Things Happen; That’s Not Your Fault

August 14, 2018, by

In a previous article, we discussed the interplay of hishtadlus and emunah – human effort and faith in God, respectively. While the degree of our emunah may be fairly constant, the amount of hishtadlus we are able to invest can vary from situation to situation. If your car breaks down on the highway, a passenger

Where the Buck Stops

August 14, 2018, by

It was simply appalling. Outrageous. Monstrous. “Where the heck is the security?” I demanded, to no one in particular. My wife looked at me and shrugged. It was a beautiful autumn afternoon in Washington, D.C., and I had taken the day off to spend some time with my wife. We decided to visit the Mint, and

The Little Bird is Calling

August 8, 2018, by

Over forty years have passed since I first heard this song. In my opinion the melody was beautiful but the words, well the words speak for themselves. The little bird is calling, It wishes to return. The little bird is wounded, It cannot fly but yearn. It’s captured by the vultures, Crying bitterly, Oh, to

Obligation and Opportunity – in Elul and Beyond

August 7, 2018, by

One of my very favorite passages in Ramban’s writings (not that I’ve read them all) is one that everyone seems to misquote. It was explained to me when I first learned the laws of prayer, and many times since, that Rambam believes there is a biblical commandment to pray daily, although the specific text and

Mr. Rogers Reminds Us What We’ve Always Known

August 1, 2018, by

Mr. Rogers has had a revival. Fred Rogers, the creator and host of the children’s television series “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood,” which ran from 1968 to 2001 on public television, is known to be appreciated for his keen understanding of children and his belief in the importance of kindness. This past summer, a documentary titled “Won’t

Sparks from an Ancient Scroll

July 31, 2018, by

Rabbi Hershel Schacter was a prominent American Rabbi with a distinguished career in the rabbinate and in public Jewish life. During World War II, he was a chaplain in the Third Army’s VIII Corps and was the first US Army Chaplain to enter and participate in the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp shortly after it had been

Writing Our Second Draft

July 31, 2018, by

I have a love-hate relationship with writing. Or maybe a hate-love relationship. I’m driven to write and I love the creative energy of pushing out a well-crafted sentence, when it works. I love watching my vague thoughts pour out into concrete expression on the page. But it’s incredibly painful when the words won’t come, or

My True Ghost Story

July 30, 2018, by

The following is a true story. It takes place about two decades ago in the second-floor apartment of a two-family home. The stairs led from the front door straight to the living room. In that living room was the family computer, a big, clunky desktop job with a dial-up connection to AOL because that’s how