What are We Celebrating on Sukkos?

Pesach, Sukkos, and Shavuos. Pesach is when G-d took the Jews out of Mitzrayim. Shavuos is when G-d gave the Jews the Torah. But what exactly is Sukkos? Living in booths? Being protected by the Ananei haKavod? Yes, we are celebrating both, the physical and the spiritual. And… We are celebrating the process. Pesach is … [Read more…]

Truth and Justice

אֱ֭מֶת מֵאֶ֣רֶץ תִּצְמָ֑ח וְ֝צֶ֗דֶק מִשָּׁמַ֥יִם נִשְׁקָֽ׃ Truth springs up from the earth; justice looks down from heaven. – Tehillim 85:12

Tzom Gedaliah

In Tanach, innumerable Jewish leaders are killed. Yet, between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, during these auspicious days, we have a fast day to remember the yahrzeit, the killing of, Gedaliah. What was unique about Gedaliah? The answer is, many things. This includes that Gedaliah was killed soon after the destruction of the first Bais … [Read more…]

Wood, Stone, Silver, Gold

Towards the beginning of Parsha Nitzavim, Moshe speaks of “And you saw their abominations and their disgusting [idols] – of wood and stone, of silver and gold that were with them. A question is, why speak of the materials that these idols were made of? Why not stop after “their disgusting [idols]? it seems that … [Read more…]

The Shma is Our Love Right Now

The last bracha before saying the Shma says that Hashem selected the Jews with love. Hashem selected us and loved us from then until now. The first stanza after saying the Shma says that we will love Hashem with all our heart, soul, and might. We were selected by Hashem and love him from now … [Read more…]

Parsha Ki Seitzei 5780

This week’s Parsha tells us to Remember Amalek and, when doing business, to use accurate, honest measures. Hashem wants us to not only not be like Amalek but, when we ultimately go to Eretz Yisroel, to wipe away any memory of these people. Hashem clearly deplores people who attack the weak, the infirmed. People who … [Read more…]

Ba’al Z’voov

In the first Perek of Kings II, there’s, so to speak, a show down between Hashem and the god, Ba’al Z’voov. (Ba’al Z’voov can be translated as Owner or Master of a Fly, as in the insect.) Possibly, Ba’al Z’voov is where the name of the devil, Satan, comes from: Beelzebub.

Parshas Tatzria-Metzora

This weeks parshas, Tatzria and Metzora, are all but exclusively about Tzaras. A spiritual disease that is contracted when an individual behaves socially inappropriately.  And, when a person (or their house) contracts this malady, the remedy to rid oneself of this disease is to isolate oneself and to self-reflect.  As we are self-isolating due to … [Read more…]

Pesach: It Starts with Karpas

At one time, when we didn’t dip the Karpas into the salt water.  We dipped the Karpas into red vinegar or Charoses with red wine. To this day, some Jews, including Sefardim, still dip the Karpas into red vinegar or Charoses with red wine. The idea being that we dip the Karpas into blood. (Apparently, … [Read more…]