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A Blessing and a Curse: Choose
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A father is obligated to do the following for his son: to circumcise him, to redeem him if he is a first born, to teach him Torah, to find him a wife, and to teach him a trade. Others say: teaching him how to swim as well. – Kiddushin 29a The great Gaon Rav Yosef Shalom […]
The Stranger, the Frightening Other and Our Broken Promise
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Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door! – Emma Lazarus It should come as no surprise that a Jew wrote the powerful words of exhortation and welcome engraved […]
We Cannot Be Counted
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And the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which will be neither measured nor counted. – Hosea 2:1 The Talmud (Yoma 22b) teaches us that Jews may only be counted in the fulfillment of a mitzvah. Therefore, King David was harshly punished for ordering a census, “so that I may know […]
The Correct Use of Vows
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This shiur is dedicated l’ilui nishmat Freida bat Rachel, beloved mother of OU Executive Vice President Allan Fagin who’s Yahrtzeit is 20 Tammuz. Delivered at the OU Israel Center, July 23, 2019 (20 Tammuz 5779)
The Sons of Korach: Contemplating Teshuvah
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Balak failed. Bilaam failed. Try though they might, they could not speak ill and curse B’nei Yisrael. Yet, evil is ever resourceful and ever determined. There was one last, best hope to bring down the great nation of Israel – sexual immorality. So, we see the Moab women entice the people and many, many fall […]
Our Independence. Our Community. Our Song.
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You can cage the singer but not the song. – Harry Belafonte No “one-hit wonder,” the Torah presents us with two great songs. The first, and most famous is Az Yashir – “Then sang Moshe and B’nei Yisrael this shirah…,” praising the splitting of the yam suf and allowing the Children of Israel to be free […]