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‘From A Friend’

3 Shevat 5774 – January 3, 2014
That was G-d's original request, that Moshe "please" speak to the people and request that they borrow and share with their own friends - their fellow Jews, and demonstrate fraternity and devotion.

Borrowed Car

2 Shevat 5774 – January 2, 2014
"Boruch's vort [engagement celebration] is tonight," Chaim said to his friend, Yoni. "How are you getting there?" "I'm not sure," said Yoni. "I'm looking for a ride with someone. Any chance you're driving?"

Q & A: Shabbat Shuttle? (Part II)

Question: Is it permitted on the Sabbath or holidays to take a shuttle to synagogue? My neighborhood shuttle runs from 9-5 daily, is driven by a gentile, has a designated stop schedule, and is free of charge.

I’m Never Wrong

The Egyptians lived through the most powerful manifestation of Hashem’s might. For months, they were afflicted while Hashem “played with” Mitzrayim. Two points were made clear: Hashem is the Master of Creation, and Moshe was the messenger of Hashem. Everything Moshe said would happen, happened – with precision and exactness.

Daf Yomi

The New And The Old “The Kohen Gadol, Due To Fatigue…” (Yoma 56b)

What’s In A Name?

Parents possess divine inspiration (ruach haKodesh) when naming their children. In instances wherein a child is named after a departed loved one, we take great care in our choice – in the belief that the best character traits of the person we are honoring will be reflected in our precious progeny’s actions.

What Is Darkness?

There is a question as to whether darkness is its literal meaning, or if it is simply the absence of light. The fact that light overcomes darkness is not an indication that darkness is merely a lack of light.

Presents On Shabbat

Question: Is it halachically permissible to give presents to a chatan or bar mitzvah boy on Shabbat?

Mitzvah Shopping (Yoma 33a and 57a)

He must be a very important person to get such an important mitzvah, I heard them say, as Mr. Loewenstein, the local assemblyman, stepped up to recite the Torah blessing before the reading of the Ten Commandments. And Mr. Kleppish was too embarrassed to tell his wife that he only got third galilah on Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Chanukah. Meanwhile, in the neighborhood shtiebel, Maftir was sold for $500 and petichah for $20.

Just One Voice

When our ancestor Yosef found himself alone and abandoned in Egypt, the image of his father that kept him anchored.

Education: the Key to Success

Moses did not speak about today or tomorrow. He spoke about the distant future.

Shabbos Mevorchim Shevat

25 Tevet 5774 – December 27, 2013
The month of Shevat, according to the Sefer Yetzirah, is associated with the letter tzaddik. A Tzaddik is, literally, a righteous person, one who eats to live, to have the energy to serve the Ribono shel Olam – versus the gluttonous, insatiable kind that live to eat, to satisfy their corporeal cravings.

Parshat Vaeira

Moshe's name would forever remind him of the kindness that Pharaoh's daughter did for him by taking him out of the Nile, and serve as a lodestar to him as he interacts with his people.

Responding to the Yahrzeit Columns

Reader response to my two-part column on yahrzeit was overwhelming.

The Multidimensional Four Cups Of Wine

24 Tevet 5774 – December 26, 2013
In this week’s parshah (Shemos 6:6) Hashem tells Moshe to tell the Bnei Yisrael the four leshonos of geulah: v’hotzeisi, v’hitzalti, v’ga’alti, and v’lakachti. The Mishnah in Pesachim 99b says that a poor man should be given four cups of wine, even from money that is allotted for tzedakah. Rashi there quotes a Yerushalmi in Pesachim that cites Rabbi Yochanan’s opinion that the four cups of wine that we are commanded to drink at the Pesach Seder correspond to the four leshonos of geulah as mentioned above.

Breakfast And Happiness (Part III)

“I never said I have nothing to complain about,” she intoned with an expression that belied her age. “I just don’t see the wisdom of protesting. I am fine and I am being adequately nourished.” And with that she went back to her cereal.

Family Ties

Not long after my mother died, I was sitting on campus talking with a friend and mentioned that it had been a long time since I had seen a frog. I used to love going out into the garden with my mother and our St. Bernard dog in the autumn evenings and see the frogs come out. I have a thing about frogs – probably from reading too many fairy tales.

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