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I’m Afraid

12 Heshvan 5772 – November 9, 2011
Yes, I’m afraid. When I say these words, most people do not understand, and they attribute my fears to the fact that I am a survivor and live in the shadow of my Holocaust experiences.

Parshas Lech Lecha

6 Heshvan 5772 – November 2, 2011
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Why Did Avraham Not Perform A Bris Earlier?

In this week’s parshah, Hashem commands Avraham Avinu to perform the mitzvah of bris milah. We once discussed a question that several Achronim ask regarding this mitzvah, and I want to share some new thoughts on the matter.

Donating Money For Aliyot

Question: Is it proper for a synagogue to establish a policy that no one is to donate money for receiving an aliyah to the Torah?

The Five-Star Hotel Called Life

When Avraham Avinu was informed that his nephew Lot was captured, he waged war against the combined armies of the four kings. Miraculously, he was victorious and freed Lot.

Q & A: Incongruous And Unbecoming (Part III)

Question: Lately I have seen some young men who though they wear a yarmulke have ponytails or other long unruly hair – I’ve even seen some ear piercings. Somehow I find this behavior to be incongruous.

Yom Tov Family Crisis

Last week I interrupted a series of columns on the subject of “holiday mayhem,” concerning the problems faced by many families whose adult children come home for Yom Tov with their families.

Big Bang On Glenbrook

For 10 years our front door was 35 feet from the busiest road leading in and out of Morristown, New Jersey. Zoom, zoom, zoom…one car after another going 40-50 miles per hour, not only during the morning and afternoon rush hours, but all week long. Even when we stood by our front door, we had to yell at the top of our lungs to call to our children who were playing in our tiny front yard.

Tasting the “Heat” of the Torah

As a Baal Teshuva who discovered the “emes” about eight years ago, I am often asked by my FFB friends in my very FFB neighborhood to describe what inspired my wife and I to take the plunge and more specifically, what it feels like to lead a Torah observant life after so many years of living on the “other side.”

‘Forget About It!’

29 Tishri 5772 – October 26, 2011
Yanky was going through difficult times. "My company merged over a year ago and I got laid off," he poured his heart out to Moish, a neighbor. "I've been trying everywhere to get a job, but nothing's available."

Bitachon And Effort: Finding The Balance

Hashem appeared to Noach and told him the world had turned to wicked ways and was to be destroyed by a deluge. Hashem commanded Noach to build a teivah, an ark, so that he and his family would be saved.

Noach: Vengeance For Israel

The world before the Flood was starkly different from the world today (as even science will attest), and the destruction of the world under a layer of boiling water was an event without parallel in nature or history.

Was The Teivah Made Of Stolen Materials?

In this week’s parshah Hashem tells Noach to build a teivah, for as the pasuk says, “assei lecha teivas… – you shall make for yourself a teivah” (Bereishis 6:14).

Kashering Meat

Strolling around an antique shop in Pennsylvania’s Dutch Country, I was reunited with many of the items that inhabited my mother’s kitchen. There was a scrubbing board and a metal oval-shaped tub with which one would scrub and wash clothes and a ringer through which one would dry them. I also saw a charred metal grate that reminded me of the one my mother used to kasher pieces of liver.

Q & A: Incongruous And Unbecoming (Part II)

Question: Lately I've seen some young men who, though they wear a yarmulke, have ponytails or long unruly hair. I've even seen some ear piercings. Somehow I find this behavior to be incongruous. My real problem is that my own nephew and a few of his friends wear their hair in this manner. Even though his parents look upon it as a passing fad, I am at a loss to understand such behavior. Luckily, whether right or wrong, I've held my tongue. I wonder what the proper positive action to take is in this matter. No Name Please (Via E-Mail)

Which Nusach Should One Use?

Question: What should a person who davens nusach ashkenaz do during kedushah in a shul that davens nusach sefard? Should he use his own nusach or that of the shul he’s in?

Babel’s Larger Theme

Between the Flood and the call to Abraham, between the universal covenant with Noah and the particular covenant with one people comes the strange, suggestive story of Babel:

What My Dog Taught Me About God

Two years ago Mrs. S. was divorced after an unhappy, childless marriage. Now in her mid-60s, she has no interest in finding a new husband. At this time, she told me, she is just beginning to discover herself as an independent adult, and she is reveling in the opportunity to make her own choices on everything from what to cook for dinner to what color to paint the bedroom.

A Simple Teaching, Difficult To Understand

I am interrupting my series on “Yom Tov Mayhem,” focusing on adult children who come home for the holidays with their families and expect their mothers to be cook, housekeeper and baby-sitter all rolled into one.

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