This Land Is Our Land

“Rabbi Simeon ben Yochai said: ‘Three things are weighed equally, and they are earth, humans and rain.’ Rabbi Levi bar Hiyyata said: ‘… to teach you that without earth there would be no…

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The Song of Songs

“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for your love is better than wine. Because of the fragrance of your goodly oils, your name is ‘oil poured forth.’ Therefore, the maidens…

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Searching for Chametz

On Passover, Jews are commanded to get rid of all “chametz” (leaven) which may be in their possession. To confirm the effectiveness of these efforts, a special search for chametz, called…

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Biur – Burning

This year, because the first night of Passover falls on Saturday night and it is not allowed to burn Chametz on Shabbat, Bedikat Chametz, the search for Chametz takes place on Thursday…

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Setting the Seder Table

Before beginning the Seder, it is important to make certain that everything necessary is available. No Seder table is complete without the following: 1) Three Unbroken Matzot (Kosher for…

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Passover Story in Brief

On Passover, we commemorate the exodus from Egyptian slavery. The following is a brief summary: Jacob’s family came to Egypt to escape a famine in Canaan. Joseph, Jacob’s son and the…

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Tzav 5781-2021

"Understanding Shabbat Hagadol" (updated and revised from Tzav 5762-2002) This week, we read the second parasha of the book of Leviticus, parashat Tzav. Because it immediately precedes…

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Vayikra 5781-2021

“The Lesson of the Mincha Offering--Giving with a Full Heart” (updated and revised from Vayikra 5762-2002) by, Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This Shabbat, we begin to read the book of…

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More Than Shabbat

Ahad Ha’am (Asher Ginsberg, poet and Zionist ideologue: 1856-1927) is quoted as saying, “More than Jews have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jews.” This statement is part of the key to…

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Tetzaveh 5781-2021

“The Korban Tamid--a Lesson in Consistency” (updated and revised from Tetzaveh 5762-2002) by, Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Tetzaveh, after a lengthy…

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Oh My Achin’ Tooth

On some lists of quaint holidays celebrated in the month of February, today is marked as National Toothache Day. Anyone who has ever suffered the trauma of an aching tooth may wonder why…

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Thoughts for the Heart

February has been designated American Heart Month. For many years, heart disease was considered to be a mostly male affliction. In order to compensate for, and correct, that…

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The Tribe of Asher

As the forefathers of the tribes of Israel, the lives and personalities of each of the twelve sons of Jacob impacted on the history and behavior of the tribe members who descended from…

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The Foods of Tu B’Shevat

Today, Jews around the world will celebrate Tu B’Shevat, the new year of the trees. Tu B’Shevat is often celebrated with the 7 species for which the Torah praises the land of Israel: “A…

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Shemot 5781-2021

“The Not-So-Obvious Process of Hebrew Enslavement” (revised and updated from parashat Shemot 5761-2001) by, Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald   In this week’s parasha, parashat Shemot, we…

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The Challenge of a Cup of Tea

How do you make a cup of tea? Seems like a silly question, doesn’t it? Tea is easy. Simply take a mug, fill it with hot water, and then just add a tea bag. Let the tea steep and remove…

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Is Chanukah Really Eight Days?

Tonight is the eighth night of Chanukah, known as “Zot Chanukah,” a reference to the Torah portion that is read on the eighth day of Chanukah. Chanukah is set apart as an eight-day…

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Mikeitz 5781-2020

“A Dysfunctional Family Becomes Functional” (updated and revised from Mikeitz 5762-2001) by, Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Mikeitz, the soap opera, (just…

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Chanukah-What’s The Mitzvah?

What is the primary mitzvah of Chanukah? a) Eating latkes (potato pancakes) b) Giving Chanukah gifts or gelt (money) c) Publicizing the miracle of the oil that lasted 8 days d) Playing…

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Ready, Set, Light

Set up your menorah with your candles or wicks and oil, and prepare to welcome Chanukah later today or early this evening as we draw the spiritual light into our homes and publicize the…

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Vayeishev 5781-2020

“Judah, The Paradigm for Jewish Future” (Updated and revised from Vayeishev 5762-2001) by, Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald   This week’s parasha, parashat Vayeishev, is one of the most…

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Chayei Sarah 5781-2020

“The Personality of Isaac: The Passive Patriarch” (updated and revised from Chayei Sarah 5761–2000) by, Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week’s parasha, parashat Chayei Sarah, we learn…

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Noah 5781-2020

“Noah: The Man Who Brings Comfort to the World” (updated and revised from Noah 5761–2000) by, Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald The story of this week’s parasha, parashat Noah, actually begins at…

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More Than A Harvest Festival

Few people refer to Sukkot by the name Chag Ha’Asif, Feast of the Ingathering, but the Torah specifically states: “And you shall observe…the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year”…

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Holiday Decorating

During the holiday of Sukkot, Jews live in sukkot (temporary dwellings with a roof of branches or wooden boards) for seven days. Although the bare minimum required for a kosher sukkah is…

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The Five Prohibitions of Yom Kippur

"...on the tenth of the month, you shall afflict your souls and do no work at all...for on that day God will forgive you and cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before…

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The Jewish Ghost Town of Utah

As a dry wind blows across the dusty plains just south of Gunnison, Utah, a traveler might be shocked to stumble upon a small, gated Jewish cemetery. Indeed, the burial ground is so small…

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Nitzavim-Vayeilech 5780-2020

“An Exclusive Covenant with an Inclusive Philosophy” (Revised and updated from Nitzavim-Vayeilech 5760-2000) by, Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald   In parashat Nitzavim, the first of this…

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Pinchas 5780-2020

“The Pain of Giving Reproof” (Updated and revised from Parashat Pinchas 5761-2001) by, Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald On Thursday, July 9th, Jews the world over will observe the fast of Shivah…

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Dietetic Carrot Cake from Beryl Levenson

DieteticCarrot Cake Although Rosh Hashanah is a time for eating sweet foods (in the hope of having a sweet new year), this…