Man Makes the Clothes

There are 54 portions in the Torah. It would stand to reason that if any topic were to dominate any of these parshahs, that topic would be of excessive interest and import to the Jewish people and the world at large. That’s why many are shocked when they realize that this week’s portion is dedicated… Read More

Finding The Meaning Behind Seemingly Mundane Laws

There is an almost humorous anecdote mentioned in the Talmud in Tractate Brachot. In describing the possible superficial reality of one’s faith in G-d, the Talmud creates the surreal scene of a thief about to secretly break and enter into his victim’s home, whereupon he utters a silent prayer for success in his forbidden activity:… Read More

Parshat Mishpatim Using Our Gifts From God Wisely

In studying my bar mitzvah parshah, I delved into the subject of slavery, comparing the Jewish concept of servitude with slavery as it existed in the pre-Civil War South. To find out more on this subject I studied with Rabbi Shmuel Silber, and we reviewed the relevant sections in Parshat Mishpatim, Sefer Hachinuch, Ramban and… Read More

‘Miriam The Robber’

“I can’t believe Miriam is in Mrs. Shepfield’s class with us,” I said to my best friend, as we jumped onto our swings at the park. “Yeah,” she answered. “Last year, the girls at her old school called her trouble.” “What do you mean?” I said, shaking my head. “Isn’t that gossip?” “No!” Sara exclaimed…. Read More

Leadership Requires Being Open to Critique

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There can be little doubt that the greatest historic leader of the Jewish people is Moses. The entire Torah becomes known as “The Five Books of Moses” or Torat Moshe; the last lines of Deuteronomy remind us: “Never again did there arise in Israel a prophet like Moses.” But what qualities made him a truly… Read More

Hidden Miracles

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The following comes from a classic piece of Torah commentary authored by Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman. Popularly known as Nachmanides, he was born in 1194 in Girona, Spain, and passed away in Israel in 1270. What event in Jewish history should we remember more than any other? Its narrative takes up most of this week’s… Read More

Mean Mrs. Cohen

“You missed,” Ruthy yelled to Sara, as they played a game of dodgeball in the school courtyard at recess. The sounds of girls giggling and balls bouncing filled the spring air. Ruthy ran after the ball, as it rolled under the porch of an apartment next door. She looked up to see an old lady… Read More

Take Time To Ribbit

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“Frogs here, frogs there, frogs were jumping everywhere!” So go the lyrics to a truly infectious children’s song for Passover, which focuses comically on the plague of frogs, found in our Torah portion this Shabbat, Va’eira.  A close reading of the beginning of Exodus 8 will point out a linguistic anomaly. The threat made to… Read More

Challenging God

My bar mitzvah parsha is Shemot. Shemot is an action-packed parsha. Moses is rescued from the Nile as a baby. Then, he kills an Egyptian taskmaster. God appears to Moses through ancient Skype, a burning bush. Moses is called on by God to speak to Pharaoh on behalf of the slaves. From all of these… Read More

Preservation and Sacrifice

Last week, the world lost a great man, Nelson Mandela. One of my favorite Mandela stories happened to a friend of mine in Cape Town. She was standing under her chupa and felt a slight tug on her wedding dress. She looked around to see what was going on. Nelson Mandela was straightening out her… Read More