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The Speaking Voice…
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Silence is a source of great strength – Lao Tzu The speaking voice always betrays itself.  By which I mean, the person talking always “gives himself away.”  Let the speaker be glib, complimentary, diplomatic.  The more he speaks, the more the truth will out.  He will be unmasked.  This is even more true of the one […]
Tuition and Our Modern-Day Sacrifice
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There was a custom that when a child would reach the appropriate age, their cheder would begin to teach them Chumash starting with Parshas VaYikra. The Midrash Yalkut explains the reason behind the age-old practice of initiating children with the topic of korbanos. The Yalkut says that we teach that which is “pure” to those […]
Sweeten to Taste…
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Any meal offering that you offer to Hashem shall not be prepared leavened (Chometz) for you shall not cause to go up in smoke from any leavening or fruit -honey as a fire offering to Hashem – Vayikra 2:11 There are a number of categories of things forbidden to be sacrificed on the Altar, but these are […]
The One Who Knows Measurements
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Once upon a time, a few scientists decided to create their own human being. They told G-d “We figured it all out Big Guy. It looks like we don’t really need you anymore.”  G-d, somewhat surprised at their audacity replied, “Can I at least watch what you are doing?”  “Sure! Be our guest!” exclaimed the […]
The Urgency of the Now
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“The entire assembly of the Children of Israel left Moshe’s presence. Every man whose heart inspired him came; and everyone whose spirit motivated him brought the portion of Hashem for the work of the Tent of Meeting, for all its labor and for the sacred vestments.” (Shemot 35:20-21) Wait.  What exactly is happening here?  Had […]
That Which Is Broken Is Whole
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There is nothing so whole as a broken heart – R’ Menachem Mendel of Kotzk Adam and Eve’s terrible punishment was that, by eating of the fruit of the tree, their eyes were opened and once opened they could not help but see the world around them as no longer perfect but fractured and broken. Such […]
To Plant.  To Believe.  To Carry On
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There is a story in the Talmud (Ta’anit 23a) of an old man planting a carob tree as the sage Choni strolled by.  “Old man,” said Choni, “what are you doing?  Do you really expect to live long enough to enjoy the fruits of your labor?” The older man wiped the sweat off his brow […]
To Set A Place
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Powerball Jackpot! One hundred million dollars!  Two hundred million!  A billion!  Who among us hasn’t imagined what a wonderful thing it would be to become a billionaire overnight?  With just a “dollar and a dream” our lives would be utterly transformed; they would become perfect.  No more nine to five drudgeries.  No more fretting about […]
The Children We Have
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Believe me Rebbi, I only care about my child’s Yiddishkeit, and if he doesn’t go on the right path then I prefer that he should just die already. – spoken to Harav Aaron Leib Shteinman A father approached the Gadol HaDor known for his wisdom, insight, deep sensitivity and understanding.  The father was fervent in his […]
For as His Name Is, So Is He
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Years ago, in Pittsburgh, I initiated several programs for mentally challenged Jewish youngsters and adults, many living in various state institutions. The inspiration for these programs originated almost entirely from a saintly, fatherly Rabbi Leib Heber z’l who traveled hundreds of miles throughout Western Pennsylvania every Sunday to these various institutions, sometimes with only one […]