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Yasher Koach: It’s Nice to Be Acknowledged
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The list of those who believe the adage that “any publicity is better than no publicity” is a long one. Yet there are many who look askance at the public acknowledgement others receive – whether for good deeds or bad, as if publicity itself detracts from our actions. Perhaps it is unwise – and a […]
Jealousy Rots, Envy Can Redeem
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Yaakov set up a monument over her grave; it is the monument of Rachel’s grave until today – Breishit 35:20 When we are informed that Yaakov “set up a monument over her grave” it seems superfluous to add, “it is the monument of Rachel’s grave until today.” Why the repetition? As we observe the yahrzeit […]
Starbucks and the Lesson of Jacob’s Pillow
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The sun is setting and Jacob rests his head after a harrowing day. He is fleeing from his brother Esau. In an open field Jacob gathers stones and makes a pillow of sorts so he can sleep before moving on in the morning. Amazingly, the Midrash describes a “fight” that breaks out between the stones […]
Love, Distorter of Time
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How often has a friend said, as he gets older, that “time seems to be going faster and faster every day.” And it is true, as we age, time does seem to accelerate. As young men, we were often anxious and impatient to “grow up already”. But time seemed to move slowly and every day […]
The Whispers of the Cynic
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Cynicism is intellectual treason. – Norman Cousins How often does Torah present us with language which, on first glance, seems extraneous only to reveal its genius and wisdom upon deeper reflection? So it is at the beginning of Parashat Toldot when the Torah says, “And these are the offspring (toldot) of Isaac, son of Abraham. […]
Matchmaking – or Something Infinitely Worse?
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…Matchmaker, Matchmaker make me a match, find me a find, catch me a catch… – Fiddler on the Roof Our tradition teaches that even before a child is conceived, a voice in Heaven announces whom the child will marry, making each true match, a match made in heaven. A match made in heaven! Could there […]
An Unforgettable Visit with Abraham
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Abraham receives a special visitor in his home. Three days after the painful procedure of circumcision God comes to visit Abraham. What does God say to Abraham? What is His message at this significant time? Strangely the verse only says that God ‘appears’ to Abraham (Genesis 18:1). There is no command. No message. We find […]
Hachnasat Orchim: To Sit at Henny Machlis’ Table
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Welcoming guests overrides even welcoming the Shechina – Shabbat 127a When we first learn that “Noach was righteous in his generation…” we applaud his stature until the rabbis, on deeper reflection, note that “in his generation” suggests that the bar was fairly low for righteousness when he lived. Abraham, however, is said to have been […]
Love the Sinner, Not the Sin
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…If it’s easy, simple, elementary, pragmatically justified – there is no need for faith… How does the sanctity of a Jew express itself? Through the interpretation of mitzvos… – Rabbi Soloveitchik Rabbi Soloveitchik taught us that “easy” mitzvos don’t sanctify a person. They have no redemptive influence. It is the difficult ones, the ones that […]
Shoftim: The Value of Life
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“…we’re more protected from a bad tuna fish sandwich than a nuclear bomb…” – Jackie Mason (commenting on the Iran nuclear agreement) Man is created “in the image of God” and, therefore, possesses inherent dignity and worth. The rabbis teach that this inherent worth is the reason that man was created as an individual and […]