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Vayeilech: The Hidden Face and the Silent Song
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Too many times in the history of our people, we have been compelled to ask the question, “Where is God?” Too many of our prophets, beginning with Moses himself, have been confounded by the question, “Why do the righteous suffer?” Philosophers have so struggled to reconcile the concept of a benevolent deity with the evil […]
Nitzavim: This Season’s Leitmotif: Return!
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Shiur provided courtesy of Naaleh.com. We have all been brought up to believe in the importance of progress. For the past several centuries, the goal of philosophy, religion, culture, and certainly science has been to develop ideas and practices which advance humankind beyond its present state. Poets have acclaimed the superiority of progress; one of […]
Ki Tavo: To Each His Language
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There was a time when the literary treasures of the Jewish people were accessible only to those with a reading knowledge of Hebrew. This is no longer the case. I know of no major Jewish religious work which has not been translated into English in recent years and, in most instances, into many other languages […]
Ki Teitzei: The Rich Fruits of Forgiveness
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The spirit of forgiveness is in the air. Since the beginning of this month, the month of Elul, Sephardic communities have been reciting selichot, prayers petitioning the Almighty for his forgiveness. They have been doing so each and every day, rising before dawn in order to get to the synagogue on time. Ashkenazic communities, following […]
Shoftim: Tree-like
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I love metaphors. An apt metaphor can help stimulate boundless creativity and can lead to a deeper and richer understanding of the concept being studied. Take, for example, the metaphor of a tree as representing a human being. We find this metaphor in this week’s Torah portion, Shoftim, in the following verse: “When you besiege […]
Re’eh: Acquiring Faith
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This week’s Torah portion, Parshat Re’eh (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17), invariably is read near the beginning of the Hebrew month of Elul. Elul is the last month of the year before Rosh Hashanah. It has a special place in religious life because it is viewed as a time to prepare oneself for the process of divine judgment, […]
Eikev: Discipline and Suffering
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As a parent, grandparent, and psychologist, I am often considered to be something of an expert on parenting and child-rearing. In that capacity, I have frequently been asked to review or give an opinion about any of the plethora of books on the subject of raising one’s children.   Like in any genre, there are […]
Devarim: A Time and a Place
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“He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.” We have all heard this phrase, and many of us have used it. It is especially apt when it is used to describe a person with many virtues and talents who just can’t use them because of the social or physical circumstances in which he […]
Matot-Masei: Breaking Promises
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It was a typical park bench conversation. I hadn’t seen my friend for quite some time, and we both were delighted when we ran into each other by chance that afternoon. We shook hands, and withdrew to a bench in the shade to spend a few minutes together catching up with each other. As is […]