What Exactly Do We Mourn?


The bleakest fast of the Hebrew calendar is on the ninth of Av, Tisha B’Av, commemorating the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem (in 586 BCE, and 70 CE). We begin preparing ourselves to feel the enormity of the loss three weeks before, from the 17th of Tammuz, with a sunrise-to-sunset fast on the date… Read More

Embracing the Journey Parshat Matot-Masei


Undoubtedly, the Exodus stands as the central event of our  nation’s collective consciousness, an event that we invoke daily in the Shema, on the Sabbath, on festivals and after every meal. Still, when we consider the detail that our portion of Masei devotes to recording all 42 stops of the 40-year desert sojourn, we’re a… Read More

Names We Should Always Remember Parshat Pinchas, Numbers 27:1-11

The story of the daughters of Zelophehad (Numbers 27:1-11) has all of the earmarks of a Jane Austen novel: the disenfranchisement and injustices borne by women surrounding the question of inheritance rights; the formal but respectful articulation of the grievances of those women; the dramatic and triumphant vindication of their plight and plea. The story… Read More

Love Yourself When Your Neighbors Won’t Parshat Balak, Numbers 22:2-25:9

“My mother thought it was undesirable to be Jewish,” the journalist and psychologist Andrew Solomon writes in his magisterial study of exceptional children and their parents, “Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity.” “She had learned this view from my grandfather, who kept his religion secret so he could hold a… Read More

For the Good of All Parshat Chukat, Numbers 19:1-22:1


Is it more important to devote oneself to personal, spiritual development or to work for the good of the nation? I  believe that a good argument can be made that commitment to the nation takes priority over commitment to one’s own spiritual needs. And one such source is a Midrash (Shemot Rabbah, 2:80), which links… Read More

The Importance of the Past Parshat Korach


Chadeish yameinu k’kedem, “Renew our days as of old” (Lamentations 5:21). Perhaps not as dramatic as “Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear” (from the opening sequence of “The Lone Ranger”), but the sentiment is the same. Simply put, the past was better than the present. It’s a common theme for the… Read More

A Second Chance Parshat Beha’alotcha

Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb

I was in a total fog during my first year in high school. I entered a strange school, much larger than the one I had attended previously, and was not given the benefit of any orientation to the new environment. I struggled academically and socially. But I knew one thing: I liked to write, and… Read More

Simply, Sadness

Editorial Director

You can tell a lot about a person by how he or she responds to a crisis. The same can be said for a community. Take a look at all of the reactions this week to the worst mass shooting in U.S. history: Among the near-universal condemnation — news reports indicated that at least one… Read More

Daring to Dream


There are very few passages of the Bible that are as well-known as the  “Priestly Benediction.” In Israel, the kohanim,  “priests,” rise to bless the congregation every single morning. However, in the Diaspora, the Ashkenazi Jews include this special benediction only on the Festivals. Nevertheless, there are many life-cycle celebrations, such as circumcisions, redemptions of… Read More