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? Tuesday, September 17, 2019


Moses – The Successful Failure

What was Moshe's secret that enabled him to continue to fight for his goals, in spite of everything, and succeed where so many others would have failed? The answer is simple: he knew how to lose.

The Remarkable Paradox of Sukkot

The Sukkah represents our life span on earth. For what is a Sukkah but a frail structure which we need to dwell in for 7 days and these 7 days represent man’s average life span of about seventy years

Sefirat HaOmer: The Secret to Human and Rabbinical Autonomy

Nothing is more dangerous for a person than to remain spiritually stale, and for this reason we are required to count the 49 days of the Omer. To prepare ourselves for the upcoming celebration of Shavuot and the giving of the Torah, we are asked to climb a ladder of 49 spiritual steps, each day adding another dimension to our souls.

Thoughts to Ponder: The Kotel – Have We Gone Mad?

The Wall is not a synagogue. It never was a synagogue and should never become one. It is a place where we Jews can meet, pray and share what we have in common instead of focusing on what divides us; where we can smile at each other even when we vehemently disagree.

Purim and the Challenge of the Holocaust

Jews have been an ever-dying people that never died, experiencing a continuous resurrection, like the dry bones Yechezkel saw in the valley. Purim, like the Jewish nation, will never cease.

Boredom and the Immature Elderly

In the old days, it was a privilege to be mature. It was something people strived for. It meant maturity, well-considered opinions, and experience and knowledge of how to deal with the problems of life. This is no longer the case

Parashat Behaalotecha: Theocracy, Democracy, and Halacha

Ran, this great talmudist and thinker launched a theory in which he argued that Judaism does not subscribe to the idea of a full-fledged theocracy, but in fact favors a halachic democracy

Amalek: A Warning to the Chief Rabbinate

“Blot out the memory of Amalek” may quite well mean that we are obligated to uproot from within ourselves the ways in which our ancestors dealt with the ancestors of Amalek.

Parshat BeShalach: Jewish Self Delusion

Though rooted back in our servitude in Egypt, to this day, similar attitudes of Jewish self-deception often create the foundations of Jewish self-rejection and self-hate, which become the root of animosity toward anyone who does not join this self-imposed denial of the Jewish cause.

What is There in a Sound That Words Cannot Express — and Why Do...

What is there in the sound of the shofar that words can't express? The blowing of the shofar proves we can surpass ourselves. By our own voice we cannot produce this penetrating terrifying resonance

The Purpose of Sefer Bereishit

The foremost point of departure in any halachic decision must be that all people are created in the image of God and that ALL human life is holy.

Finding One’s Neshomeh: Franz Rosenzweig and the Berliner Shtiebel

We suggest all Jews and Israelis enter a small synagogue filled with dedicated and passionate worshippers, and then to release all external and artificial components from their souls; to penetrate the surroundings in which they find themselves, and then to let go. Th

Parashat Yitro: Racism and the Wisdom of a Gentile

Yitro's suggested solution to Moshe's workload is basically a simple one and does not require any extensive judicial knowledge. So why did Moshe, who possessed great wisdom, not think of this himself?

Change of Faith?

Originally, Judaism was highly unorthodox. While it always believed in God and Torah, it never offered any specifics of what God meant or what Torah consisted of.

A Modern Day Inquisition: Rabbi Joseph Dweck

Those rabbis attacking Rabbi Dweck may be great Talmudic scholars, but instead of using their exceptional knowledge to make Orthodox Judaism more and more vibrant, they drown in it and become stuck in the quicksand of intransigence, which they themselves have created.

Calling for Religious Unity Only Leads to Division

Nobody doubts that unity of the Jewish people is of crucial importance. Still, we have to ask ourselves if in all cases unity is really THE highest value to strive for.

Parashat Re’eh: Traveling to Home Base and Eternal Life

While there is no proof of life after death, everything seems to allude to it. Our existence in this world resembles a station at which we arrive when we are born and from which we leave when we die, returning to “home base.”

The Deliberately Flawed Divine Torah: The Theology of the Halachic Loophole

I believe that the Torah is often morally, deeply, and deliberately flawed, and that furthermore, God Himself intentionally made it flawed. It is the latter issue that I will discuss in this essay.

On Teaching and Being Controversial

While it is common practice to emphasize chumrot and to encourage a strict observance of Shabbat and kashrut, we rarely see a parallel intensity when dealing with matters of human relationships.

Scandalous Halachic Decisions: Ethiopians and Wine

Despite a clear ruling by famous Chief Rabbi of Israel Ovadia Yosef z"l that these Ethiopians are surely Jewish (Yabia Omer 8, Even HaEzer 11)— the rabbinical council of the Eida HaHareidit decided that there is doubt about their Jewishness

Kriyat Yam Suf: Jumping Into Deep Waters

Judaism is about new ideas. It is dependent on fresh concepts deeply rooted in its tradition. We must be aware that if we do not apply new remedies we should expect new evils,

The Kotel: Have We Gone Mad? A Call to All Denominations and...

My suggestion: Restore the Kotel to its former state, a place where all are welcome and used solely for individual prayer and meditation, just as our ancestors treated it throughout our long history.

Chanukah and Divine Emanations

The Maccabees knew logically there was no chance of their revolt succeeding, but God created a notion of revolt in the minds of the Maccabees and correctly they followed this heavenly directive.

Kohanim: The Challenge of Educational Dissent

Children need a strong environment, conducive to their development as Jews, while at the same time their Jewish education must provide them with so much pride that later in life they will be able to deal with the outside world as well and still be fully committed Jews.

The Chief Rabbinate and Its Disgrace: Who Is an Exceptionally Great Sage?

The Talmud teaches only when making a sincere effort to reduce the pain of fellow human beings can one be called a great person! Those who do follow this approach are unsuited to be religious leaders

The Search for God: The Greatness and the Present Setback of Halachic Living

The duty of halachic authorities is to solve difficult problems and make Jewish life as easy as possible by advocating lenient rulings. But never at the expense of making life boring. It is their duty to make life enjoyable and uplifting. But that can only come about by making people to live in amazement and wonder.

Parshat Vayikra: The Trouble with Sacrifices

Perhaps the institution of sacrifice is grounded in deep symbolism, the meaning and urgency of which escapes our modern mentality.

Parashat Shelach: Speaking Lashon Hara about the World

The purpose of genuine religious life is to protest against this optical illusion and to teach us to reframe our spiritual spectacles. It is not that religion shows us something new. It shows us what we have seen all our lives but have never noticed.

Why a Second Day Yom Tov? The Incomparable Greatness of the Land of Israel

As anyone can testify, celebrating the Jewish festivals in Israel is an act of supreme delight. The festivals are invested with a very special spirit that cannot be experienced anywhere else. No other land can compete with the Land of Israel!

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