Sunday, October 22, 2017

Divrei Torah

Remembrance of Things...Future: Rosh Hashanah 5776

Like many of my titles, I, sort of, stole or borrowed. My name for this week’s article is based on the mistranslation of the title of Marcel Proust’s great work, A la recherche du temps perdu, which should be translated as In Search of Lost Time, but was called Remembrance of Things Past by C. K. Scott

Five Rashis, Nitzavim: The Insistence on Good Choices

A project in memory of Baruch Leib HaKohen b. Mordechai Yidel ve-Dobba Chaya.


Becoming Fellow Travelers

With Moshe’s life rapidly nearing its end, he is wrapping up last-minute business. One piece of

Finders Weepers

Ki Tetzei-5775

Most people love a free lunch. It’s very much a part of human nature to want something for nothing. I remember very well as a child finding a nickel or, wonder of wonders, a dollar, on the sidewalk and feeling like I was the most fortunate person in the world. I think that this is the

Five Rashis, Ki Tetzei: Wrongs and Their Consequences

A project in memory of Baruch Leib HaKohen b. Mordechai Yidel ve-Dobba Chaya


Giving In to Weakness

The opening vignette of the parsha, Jews going to war, seeing attractive women and taking them, raises many moral



This is not an ad for flowers; rather, it’s a tribute to flowers. Flowers make us feel good. As the golfing great Walter Hagen once famously said, “You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” Except for that part

Five Rashis, Korach: Finding Our Place in the Jewish People

A project in memory of Baruch Leib haKohen b. Mordechai Yidel ve-Dobba Chaya.

Much of this week’s parsha deals with the rebellion of Korach and those who joined him, and our Rashi selections reflect that. Two to start with (which I’m counting as one, because they make the same point) remind us of how

Five Rashis, Beha’alotecha: Leadership, Personal, Communal, and International

A project in memory of Baruch Leib HaKohen b. Mordechai Yidel ve-Dobba Chaya

Tsara’at Comparisons

This week’s parsha is bookended by encounters with tsara’at (skin lesions brought on by various sins). In the course of prescribing the dedication

The Belief Community


Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Remember those road trips when that’s all the kids in the back seat seemed to say for hours on end? Multiply that by 600,000 and you can begin to understand Moshe’s frustration in this week’s Torah reading. When this huge

Shavuot: Two Very Different Texts

The Ten Commandments and the Book of Ruth are two very different biblical texts, yet they both will be read on the upcoming festival of Shavuot. In Israel, where Shavuot is celebrated for just one day, they are even read on the very same day. Outside of Israel, we read the Ten Commandments in synagogue on the first day of our two-day

Experiencing Torah on Shavuot

There is a custom to stay up all night on Shavuot in anticipation of the acceptance of the Torah in the morning. The logic of this particular practice seems weaker to me every year. By about three a.m. I have a lot of difficulty rationalizing my absence from a comfy bed. However, the continued popularity of this custom for the last 500

Five Rashis, Bamidbar: Creating a Camp and a People

A project in memory of Baruch Leib HaKohen b. Mordechai Yidel ve-Dobba Chaya.

The Roots of Punishment

The book of Bamidbar opens with a count of the Jewish people, first by tribe and then by tribe within encampments. This is part of

Hashem’s Great Gift

In a few short days we will be celebrating the holiday of Shavuos when Hashem gave us His great gift, the Torah. It was not a free gift. Hashem required guarantors. Klal Yisroel suggested Heaven and Earth, the Avos, and the Nevi’im; all were  unacceptable. It was only when Klal Yisroel offered their children as guarantors that Hashem was

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