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? Friday, November 24, 2017


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Bereishis: Appreciating The Good

Adom HaRishon was given one mitzvah: not to eat from the Eitz HaDas. When he transgressed it, Hashem gave him the opportunity to do teshuvah. Not only did Adom not repent, he played the blame game – “It was that woman that You gave to me. You gave her to me as a helpmate and she turned out to be my ruination.”

‘I Celebrate Your Holy Name’

I am postponing the follow-up to my previous column – “Technology, Yom Kippur, Ahmadinejad” – so that I might share with you a very personal experience.

Technology, Yom Kippur, Ahmadinejad

As we Jews know, there are no coincidences, no random happenings. As a matter of fact, in lashon hakodesh, the holy tongue, the very word “mikreh,” translated as “it happened,” actually means “kara mei Hashem” – “it happened from G-d.”

‘Did You Add Salt to a Wound?’

Just days ago on Yom Kipper, The Day of Judgment, Jews gathered as one in shuls, shteibels and temples and desperately and profusely promised Hashem that we would reform our ways and improve our behaviors and actions towards Him, our Father and Creator, as well as towards our fellow man, who, being made in His image, is deserving of our respect and compassion, and of being treated as an equal, no matter their social or financial status, age or gender.

A Time to Perfect Ourselves and Thereby the World

The Torah assures us that perfection of the world comes through perfection of self. On Rosh HaShana we daven for the world to become a better place. It's in our hands to make it so.

Parshas Ha’azinu: Never Give Up!

Yom Kippur was but a few days ago and we were all feeling the closest to Hashem that we feel all year. And now it’s time to build the sukkah. But before we move on with the holiday cycle we need to see what we can do to retain at least some of those special feelings of Yom Kippur. This week’s haftorah guides us on just such a path.

‘I Inspire Myself’

We first met Shlomie (name and some details have been changed) over 20 years ago. He davens in our shul, and he and my husband share a love of photography. Over time, we got to know each other well.

Our Holy Visitors

Sukkos comes to us as a beautifully wrapped gift from Hashem, right when we can use some pampering. Having just completed an exhaustive round of appeals to our Father in heaven to forgive our iniquities and grant us yet another chance to prove ourselves worthy of His beneficence and mercy, we emerge as newborns – clean and pure and free of the stain of sin.

Q & A: Selichot Restrictions (Part II)

Question: The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch states that an individual praying selichot without a minyan is not allowed to recite the Thirteen Midot or the Aramaic prayers. What is the rationale behind this halacha? Moshe Jakobowitz Brooklyn, NY

Why Me…Why Not me?

Just a few short days ago we were in summer mode, vacationing in the mountains, at the cottage, or on the road visiting family, friends or sightseeing. But with the start of September and school, we become all to aware that the Yamim Noraim - the Days of Awe – are upon us, that sobering period of time when a year's worth of our actions and activities will be evaluated by our Creator. His ultimate assessment and judgement will affect the quality and quantity of the days of our lives.

A Pathway To Teshuvah

Yom Hadin is almost here and this time of year brings with it a range of emotions. Some people are excited - a new year, the start of school, new clothing. For others, Rosh Hashanah instills fear - the need to correct wrongdoings, to beg for forgiveness and make promises to be better. For still others, there is a feeling of being overwhelmed - either by the awe of the Yom Hadin or perhaps the reality of so many days of Shabbos, Yom Tov, Shabbos (that's a lot of cooking and baking). We are often so busy taking care of all the “things" that need to be done, that we don’t have enough time for spiritual and emotional preparation. It feels like most years I come to Selichos feeling as if I haven't done enough to prepare.

The Tale Of Two Armstrongs In Elul

Two major news stories involving two famous men named Armstrong occurred within days of each other recently. Was it random happenstance? Or was there hashgacha involved? We know that nothing happens outside Hashem’s realm and power. But did Hashem have a specific reason for these two events occurring together when they did?

How Bais Yaakov Almost Ruined my Life

In Bais Yaakov, you were either they way they wanted you to be, or you were wrong.

One Is Hashem: Imbuing Your Child With Emunah And Bitachon

We asked several experienced mechanchim for their insights on how to shepherd children from their first “Modeh Ani” to the understanding that Hashem alone holds the key to every aspect of their existence. Here are the key principles they shared.

A Tale Of Two Friends

Dear Readers The grass is always greener on the other side. Or is it? Below is a fictional illustration of this human foible – focusing on the perceived benefits in another person’s life while failing to appreciate your own.

Rabbi Lior: No Need to Worry about Iran Threat

The Iran threat does not scare Rabbi Dov Lior. The rabbi of Kiryat Arba/Hebron believes that it is forbidden, and there is actually no...

The Mouse Is Smarter Than Me: Preparing For Rosh Hashanah

It is hard to believe that Elul is upon us and that the Day of Judgment is only one month away. In a short 30 days we must face our Creator and have our deeds evaluated in the hopes of a receiving a merciful blessing for a good and healthy year. We spend the month of Elul focused on repentance, and we learn the holy books of mussar to inspire us to grow and change.

Anxiety: Can It Be Controlled?

As a teenager, I suffered from occasional panic attacks, social anxiety, and more than the usual amount of teenage angst. In today’s drug-obsessed society, I would certainly have been given psych meds; thankfully, back then, it was expected that maturity would bring greater resilience and awareness. And so it was.

A Tale Of A Recovering Internet Addict

What exactly is the definition of an Internet addiction? Just how out of control does one have to be to qualify as having a true addiction?

The Blessing

I was preparing a shiur to honor the memory of my father, Paul Magill, a”h, on the 20th anniversary of his passing, and I was looking at that week’s sedrah, Parshas Re’eh. I was struck by the words, “See, I present before you today a blessing and a curse. The blessing: that you hearken to the commandments of Hashem, your God, that I command you today. And the curse: if you do not hearken to the commandments of Hashem, your God, and you stray from the path that I command you today, to follow gods of others, that you did not know.”

The One Who Stopped

Everyone knows the feeling you get when you want to do something you can’t do. There is always that temptation to do - especially because you know you can’t. Or sometimes it’s because you want to prove you can. Sometimes it’s because people expect it of you. Sometimes it’s a combination.

Elul – Entering The King’s Palace

I can probably read your thoughts: “Elul? I’m still in the Catskills! We haven’t even gone shopping at the Back-to-School sales yet!” That is true, but on the other hand, this week is Shabbos Mevorchim Elul, when we announce Rosh Chodesh Elul. Before you know it, we will be deep into Elul! Let us see how we can utilize this Shabbos to start getting ready.

The Cat Lady’s Message

I was going crazy. I couldn’t stand it another minute. Yes, I was feeling sorry for myself. I had been blessed, b’li ayin hara, with children very close in age. Surely having one child after the other was a blessing to be grateful for. I knew there were many people who would give a million dollars to have such a “problem.” But still, it was very stressful. But that wasn’t the hardest part, and it wasn’t the main reason for my feelings of despair.

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