Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Divrei Torah

Being Free to Fly Upwards

Yom Kippur is a day of Divine forgiveness. If we have done the work we need to do, we are told in the Torah that “On this day he will atone for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins, before the Lord you will be cleansed.” (Lev. 16:30). But what is that work that we must

A Blessing Past and Present

I have always felt bad for Parshat V’zot Habracha. It is the only parsha that is not read on a Shabbos, unless, of course, Simchat Torah coincides with Shabbos. Why? Why this irregularity? Indeed, the whole procedure for Torah reading on Simchat Torah is most irregular and disconcerting. It is unlike

Be Prepared: Ki Tavo 5778

When I was young, preparing for New Year’s was simple: Who would provide the house? And who would provide the alcohol? But I was young, pre-religious and New Year’s was January 1. Now that I’ve been observant for half a century, preparing for Rosh Hashanah, the first of Tishrei, has proved much

Akeidat Yitzchak: Where Torah Fits In

We closed last time with the idea of both Creation and Torah as the ways for people to learn about Hashem. To speak of Torah as how people find their way to their fullest purpose runs the risk of treating it as a tool, subordinate to man, which contradicts other traditions about Torah.

The Narrows

Bein Hameitzarim 5778

 Scylla and Charybdis, between a rock and a hard place, out of the frying pan into the

Ramban to the Book of Bamidbar: Becoming Our Best Selves, With a Divine Background

I built this project on an assumption: by taking comments of Ramban’s as they appealed to me, with no attempt to relate them to each other, I would over the course of time nonetheless find recurring motifs, which would reflect underlying concerns of Ramban’s. My goal was to let Ramban speak for

Fear Itself: Chukat 5778

Boo! I feel that’s the word that should begin every political speech these days. It would be wonderful if the political discussion in both of my beloved countries could be based on reason, intellect and maybe even a little morality, but fear is the spice of the day for political discourse. I

Death and War

The Nature of the Impurity of Death

My temerity in thinking I can communicate Ramban’s ideas briefly and accessibly depends on my selection process, where I often leave out deep

Torah @ Twilight: A Young Israel of Scarsdale Innovation

For many families with young children, staying up for the traditional night of learning on the first evening of Shavuot is simply impossible…after all, that 6 a.m. wake-up call comes regardless of what time you finally went to bed the night prior. So, with the goal of giving everyone the opportunity to

Our National Nadir, the Spies

John F. Kennedy’s characterization of failure as a lonely orphan explains Ramban’s surprise at how Rashi ascribes to Moshe the idea of sending spies to Israel. Hashem says, “Shelach lecha anashim,” and Rashi picks up on the lecha, meaning you, to say Hashem gave

The Peril of Excuses

During college I had a summer job making vinyl covers for skimobiles. That summer my grandmother passed away at the age of 96 (at the graveside her cousin claimed that she always lied about her age and was really 98). I got permission to miss work and go to the funeral. The next day I was impressed and

Do You Need a Rabbi for a Wedding?

I. What a Rabbi Does

Most of us have been to enough Jewish weddings that we know how they work. We can easily officiate. Even without a big crowd, all a man has to do is give a

Join Our List
and receive information on community events, announcements, exclusive sales and our issue emails.