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April 21, 2018 – 11:08 pm | 26 views

We are all familiar with chai, the Hebrew word for life. Chai has a numeric value of eighteen, which is why it is common for Jews to donate to charity in multiples of eighteen. The Talmud tells us that charity saves us from premature death.[1] When we donate in multiples …

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Acharei: Be Upfront

April 30, 2017 – 1:01 am | 457 views
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Mind Games
Too many people like to play mind games. They won’t be upfront and tell you that they are in hospital, but then they’ll complain when you don’t visit. They won’t tell you that they are in crisis, but will complain that you didn’t ask. They talk in riddles and …

Kedoshim: The Inner Jew

May 8, 2016 – 12:21 am | 826 views
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A Confusion
One thing you could always assume in years past was that holy Jews looked the part. Long beard, wrinkled forehead, sparkling eyes and visage filled with wisdom. Bent over ancient tomes, or lovingly performing a Mitzvah, these people were energetic, learned, pious and driven. Their outer appearance reflected their …

Acharei Mot: For The People

May 2, 2016 – 10:08 am | 827 views
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A Sobering Moment
I remember my first “for the people,” moment. I was officiating at my first Bar Mitzvah as a rabbi. The sanctuary was filled to the brim and my aim was to impress. I offered a wonderful introduction to the Bar Mitzvah boy and a flowery reflection on his …

Acharei Mot: Post Shivah

April 6, 2014 – 4:03 am | 6,504 views
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The Shelf Life
I have seen it as often as you have. Someone loses a loved one, family, friends and acquaintances close ranks around them, attend Shivah, coordinate details, bring food and provide comfort. Then Shivah ends, everyone bids the bereaved farewell and return to daily life.
It is now post Shivah, …

Acharei Mot: Response to Tragedy

April 14, 2013 – 4:06 am | 2,200 views
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A Silent Response
During his inauguration to the High Priesthood, Aaron lost two sons. In response to tragedy Aaron was silent.[1] As High Priest, Aaron was permitted to enter the Holy of Holies on occasion, but only in silence – without bells on his tunic.[2] Silence seems to be thematic to …

Kedoshim: Is Asceticism Jewish?

April 27, 2011 – 9:06 pm | 1,069 views
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The Contradiction
The great mystic Rabbi Yehudah Lowe, otherwise known as the Maharal, once explained that Matzah, the impoverished bread, comprised of merely flour and water, is a symbol of freedom because those who are truly free are unencumbered. Ordinary bread is slaved to sugar and yeast for flavor and texture. …

Kedoshim: Food For thought For Your Dinner Table

May 2, 2008 – 5:01 pm | 938 views
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Sunday: Shared Ownership
Addressing the entire Jewish nation, the Torah states, “When you reap the harvest from your fields (plural) do not fully reap the corner of your field (singular). . . leave it to the poor.” The first stitch of the verse is written in the plural whereas the second …

Acharei: Food for Thought for Your Dinner Table

April 13, 2008 – 5:52 am | 898 views
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Sunday: Repentance
The Holy of Holies was closed to human traffic throughout the year, even on Shabbat and holidays, Yom Kippur was the only exception. Yom Kippur is unique because it is a day of repentance. Our sages taught that the penitent’s deep remorse and yearning for G-d catapult him to …