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Closeness And Distance

4 Tevet 5772 – December 29, 2011
What do porcupines do in winter? asked Schopenhauer. If they come too close to one another, they injure each other. If they stay too far apart, they freeze. Life, for porcupines, is a delicate balance between closeness and distance. It is hard to get it right and dangerous to get it wrong. And so it is for us.

Coincidences And Happenings

To this day, this true story makes the hairs on my neck stand up straight. It’s a story whereby too many “coincidences” just “happened.”

Anguish That Does Not Go Away: The Singles Problem (Part Three)

The woman in her mid-thirties who initiated this discussion a few weeks ago bemoaned what she considers the indifference and the insensitivity of most people to the plight of singles.

Chanukah Fun

1 Tevet 5772 – December 26, 2011
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A Very Hong Kong Chanukah

28 Kislev 5772 – December 23, 2011
To explain to my children what Chanukah was like for me as a young girl, I find I am just as inclined to recount what it wasn’t as I am to describe what it was.

Chanukah Fun

27 Kislev 5772 – December 22, 2011
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Parshat Mikeitz

Looking back in time it is amazing to realize that every so often we encounter a 24-hour period with a timeless impact on the trajectory of human history. These periods, though short in actual time, through the convergence of multiple factors, produced historic decisions—decisions that arguably affected humankind forever after.

Mikeitz: The Greatness Of Joseph

“And Joseph went out over the land of Egypt” (41:45). This was one of the greatest tests he underwent in his career. Wearing the king’s ring (41:42), clothed in royal linen with a golden chain around his neck (ibid.), riding in the second royal chariot with runners before him (41:43), having full power over the land (41:44), having an Egyptian name and an Egyptian wife the daughter of a priest, he had every reason to disown his family which had so wronged him, and he could have without any effort become a full Egyptian in heart and soul.

Mitzvah Shopping

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.

Unauthorized Repair

As Yisrael opened his garage on Friday morning, Eli was already waiting there. "I'm driving to Baltimore for Shabbos," Eli said, "but funny things have been happening with the car recently. Can you check the battery and brakes?"

The Fighting Light of Chanukah

As Israel experiences a national rebirth on our native soil, the forces of evil are gathering all of their strength to wage a final war to stamp out our light.

Daf Yomi

What Is A Sheep? ‘If It…Does Not Possess Three Vertebrae’ (Bechoros 40b)

Reb Elimelech M’Lizhensk (Part III)

Wherever the two holy brothers went on their self-imposed exile they generated a spirit of repentance. Their standard routine was to admonish themselves out loud for their supposed crimes, when in fact their “sins” were precisely the ones that the villager within earshot needed to rectify.

Beis HaMikdash – Spiritual Power Source

The Bach, commenting on Tur Shulchan Aruch, explains that the decrees of the Yivanim against the Jewish people occurred because the Jewish people became “lax in their service.”

Q & A: Ayin Hara (Part V)

Question: I know there is a dispute in the Gemara regarding ayin hara, the evil eye. Can you discuss the origin of it? Ben Glassman (Via E-Mail)

The Real Issue

There has long been a massive debate in Anglo Jewry as to whether we should take a unified stance in our support for the State of Israel or openly air our differences. It’s mostly been a noisy and shrill debate, but it’s the wrong debate – as it is deflecting us from the real issue.

Sheva Berachot After Shalosh Seudot

Question: Normally one may not eat or drink after Birchat Hamazon of Shalosh Seudot until after Havdalah. What is the halacha, however, if one schedules Sheva Berachot for a Shalosh Seudot meal? Should the groom and bride drink from the wine of Sheva Berachot or not?

Anguish That Does Not Go Away: The Singles Problem (Part Two)

Last week I shared a letter from a 30-plus young woman who was very troubled over the challenges confronting singles. She felt the Jewish community was not sufficiently engaged in reaching out to and helping the many singles desperately looking for their soul mates.

Hand In Hand

I was walking home from my weekly Tehillim group when I encountered a very worried-looking young woman. She told me she had been standing outside her apartment when she encountered an old man. He seemed lost, and did not respond to her offer of help. She noticed he was not wearing shoes.

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