Monthly Archives: December 2015

Keeping Our Own House Pure

I’m writing this essay under protest. No that these events aren’t of crucial importance to Jews in Israel and everywhere, but that the entire situation is a distraction from our very real and urgent mission in this world of bringing … Continue reading

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Slavery

When Rashi (Shemot 4:19), based on Nedarim 72:, declares והעני חשוב כמת (v’ha-oni chashuv k’meyt), that a pauper is considered as if dead, he’s not expressing contempt for the poor, but rather empathizing with their sense of powerlessness which comes … Continue reading

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Thoughts At Chanukah’s Ending

Every mitzva a Jew performs brings light to the world. This happens whether or not he “believes” in what he’s doing, whether or not he has “kavannah“, whether or not he has learned deep meanings about this mitzva. This is … Continue reading

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God’s Omnipotence

Often considered dogmatic, much thought has been given over the millennia to the idea and inherent paradoxes and implications of God’s quality of omnipotence, כל יכול (kol yachol). We ask in Avot (5:1) why God took ten sentences to create the … Continue reading

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Thoughts on Miketz

It’s worth remarking that the word מקץ (Miketz), the name of this week’s parsha (and it always falls on Chanukah) means “at the end”. Ironically, Ramchal (Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzatto) speaks of this parsha as the beginning of the Geula, Redemption … Continue reading

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A Short Word On Human Dignity

The Torah takes it as given that every human being has a unique Neshama (soul). The mandate in Avot (1:6), דָן אֶת כָּל הָאָדָם לְכַף זְכוּת (dan et kol ha-adam l’kaf zechut), “prejudge everyone as innocent”, in other words, initially giving … Continue reading

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The Downside Of Talmud-Study

Although I’m drawn to the abstract/mystical side of our tradition, I’ve been engaged in a passionate love-affair with Gemara since I began sixth grade more than 50 years ago. Over most of these years I’ve spent a significant part of … Continue reading

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