Leaning to Eliyahu: Pinchas/Eliyahu and the Way Forward in Judaism

July 15, 2014, by

We live in a world of kaanaus. Zealotry and extremism fuels politics, relationships, worship. Kanaaim fail to understand how demeaning their perspective and behavior is to their fellow Jews; how degrading. In their eyes, Jews who are not like them are hardly worthy to be considered Jews at all. Has their kaanaus enriched our community

The Meaning and Symbolism of Tekhelet

June 11, 2014, by

This week’s parsha—Shelach—contains the third paragraph of Kriyat Shema, which discusses the commandment to attach tzitzit to four-cornered garments. The pasuk states: “And they shall place upon the tsitsit of each corner a thread of tekhelet… And you shall see it and remember all of the commandments of Hashem and you shall do them.” Until

Why Are We So Scared of God?

May 27, 2014, by

I’m not a big fan of the term “God-fearing.” To me, it seems misused. It’s completely backwards and it makes no sense. How so? Let’s examine. Imagine two individuals at two extremes of the religious/behavioral spectrum. One is a great, pious scholar. He studies, prays, performs acts of charity – the whole nine yards. The

Uncommon Decency

October 21, 2013, by

When the time arrives to find a bride for Yitzchak, Avraham sends his most trusted servant on a quest to find a suitable spouse.

Practice What You Preach

October 16, 2013, by

As he marches forward, silently focused on his mission, Avraham proves that he is prepared to fear and obey God no matter what the cost, no matter what the task. As the knife in his hand descends toward his son’s neck, the episode comes to an abrupt conclusion, as a heavenly voice calls out, “Now I know that you fear God” – not love God, not emulate God – fear God.

The Terrible Secret of the Tower

October 2, 2013, by

The generation of the tower, unified in trampling upon the remains of the previous generation as well as the rights of dissenters amongst them, was fated to lose the unity which they abused.

Masechet Hullin – 131a-137b

November 2, 2011, by

The Coming Week’s Daf Yomi by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz This essay is based upon the insights and chidushim (original ideas) of Talmudic scholar Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, as published in the Hebrew version of the Steinsaltz Edition of the Talmud. Hullin 131a-b – Who received first tithes? Aside from the zero’ah (shoulder), lehayayim (cheeks) and kevah

Parshat Noach – Borei Nefashot

October 25, 2011, by

After eating non-vegetable foods and most processed foods, we bless “borei nefashot,” thanking HaShem “Who creates many souls and their deficiency; for everything He created, in order to enliven all living things. Blessed is the Life of the Worlds.” The Tur (OC 207) explains that this berakha consists of three distinct parts, almost like three