The Real Winner

I stood on our blacktop driveway holding my bike. My hands smoothed over the shiny black metal frame. Its high leather seat stood proudly at the top, looking down on the wide handlebars with the extra-firm handbrakes. I hopped on my brand new mountain bike. As I rode down the dirt hill in our backyard,… Read More

No One Is Perfect

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The Kotzer Rebbe used to say there is nothing more whole than a broken heart. You can also say there’s nothing more whole than broken tablets. In fact, in addressing the Jewish people as they prepare to enter the Promised Land, Moses recalls their rebellious times in the desert, and in speaking of the new… Read More

Unity Begins At Home

This past Tuesday, Jews worldwide commemorated the destruction of the Holy Temple and the pillage of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 422 B.C.E. and by the Romans approximately 500 years later. The Talmud relates a story that highlights the lack of unity that existed in the days leading up to the Roman attack on Jerusalem:… Read More

Gratitude and Perspective

This Shabbat, we begin reading the book of Deuteronomy. Every year, this portion is read on Shabbat preceding the Ninth of Av, the singular day of mourning for the destruction of the Temples, as well as calamities throughout Jewish history.  According to the Mishnah (Ta’anit 4:6), it was an event that occurred generations before the… Read More

Follow The Leader

It was the third week at camp, and things were running smoothly. “Lineup at 6 a.m. by the flagpole,” Art, our counselor, called out to us one afternoon. “We’ll announce the leader for our overnight then.” My best friend, Mo, looked at me. “Maybe he’ll chose me, I’m an Eagle Scout,” he said. The job… Read More

Growing Beards

Parshat Matos-Masai Being from Chicago, I am a big fan of the Blackhawks, who just won the Stanley Cup in one of the best NHL championship series. In so many ways, hockey is like a religion. It is filled with laws and superstitions, both for the fans and the players. There is a hockey “minhag”… Read More

God Heard Their Voices

Parshat Pinchas After hundreds of years of slavery and 40 years of wandering, our people were finally ready to enter the land of Israel. We would each be given a piece of this land of promise. According to the Torah, each of us had a claim to the land … except for five sisters from… Read More

Synthesizing Happiness

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Dr. Daniel Gilbert, an eminent professor of psychology at Harvard University, describes a fascinating study demonstrating that one year after individuals either win the lottery or become paraplegic, their levels of happiness were the same as before those events occurred. This is a truly astounding finding, which insinuates that even events that seem to be… Read More

Help Comes From God

The story is told that Itzhak Perlman once came on stage to play a violin concerto. Having contracted polio at age 4, greatly impacting his ability to walk, he made his way across the stage laboriously using his crutches. He laid the crutches down, picked up his Soil Stradivarius and began tuning the instrument. All… Read More

A Group Effort

Anyone who has served in the leadership of a Jewish organization will immediately recognize the claim of Korach and his group of rebels that begins this week’s Torah portion: “They combined against Moses and Aaron and said to them, ‘You have gone too far! For all the community are holy, every one of them, and… Read More