A Maccabee Who’s Who

Mattityahu (Mattathias): A High Priest descended from the Hasmonean line, Mattityahu lived in Modi’in with his five sons. Mattityahu started the rebellion against the Syrian-Greeks…

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Why Tiberias is Holy

While Israel is the Holy Land, four of her cities are considered holier than all the others, and each of these is accorded a mystical connection with one of the four classical elements.…

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The Meal of the Mourners

Burying one’s loved one is a traumatic experience that not only highlights one’s personal loss but also reminds one of his/her own mortality. Following a Jewish funeral, it is customary…

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Something Extra In Your Lettuce?

Here’s a delicious sounding salad: romaine lettuce, spinach, cauliflower, red onion, red cabbage, chickpeas and strawberries. At first glance, this combination of fresh vegetables,…

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Personal Preparations

The celebration of Shabbat is meant to be the high-point of the week. Indeed, it is considered proper for one to spend time each day preparing for the coming Shabbat. In order to ensure…

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The Tribe of Simeon

As the forefathers of the 12 tribes, the lives and personalities of each of the sons of Jacob impacted upon the history and behavior of the tribe that was to descend from them. The…

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Excuse Me, Is It Possible…

“Don’t be chutzpadik” is the modern Hebrew equivalent of the classic American parenting admonition: “Don’t be fresh!” and “Don’t talk back!” The challenges of parenting have always…

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Guide to Talmudic Terms

Tonight, tens of thousands of Jews will celebrate completing their study of the Talmud. Some of the celebrants are full-time Torah scholars, others are dentists, mechanics and…

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Which Tree Was It?

Why is the Adam's Apple called the "Adam's Apple"? Many people surmise, not without some justification, that the term is a reference to a piece of fruit stuck in Adam's throat. Although…

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What’s In The Book – The Twelve Prophets: Zephaniah

The Book of Zephaniah dates from the reign of King Josiah of Judah. Zephaniah’s opening prophecy is dark and violent, describing God’s plans for the complete and total destruction of the…

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Animal Instincts

In their natural habitats, every creature on earth helps create a balance that allows the environment to flourish. This biological fact is part of the mechanics of Planet Earth. But the…

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Benjamin, The Son of Jacob

The youngest of twelve brothers and one sister, Benjamin, the son of Jacob, appears in the Biblical narrative to be a passive personality whose life is seemingly dictated by the fate of…

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Leah’s Story

On the morning after Jacob was to marry Rachel, he woke to find that his new bride was actually Rachel’s older sister Leah. “‘Deceiver, daughter of a deceiver!’ he said to Leah...She said…

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A Case of Gout

The Jewish view on healing is that while all healing is in God’s power, the Almighty works His will through human hands. This being the case, it is interesting to note the tone of rebuke…

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Tziporah and Elisheva

“Behind every great man...” So who were the women who gave their support to Moses and Aaron, the leaders of the Jewish people? Tziporah, Moses’ wife, was one of the seven daughters of…

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The Flags of the Tribes

On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress resolved that: “the flag of the 13 United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white: That the union be thirteen stars, white…

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A Maccabee Who’s Who

Mattityahu (Mattathias): A High Priest descended from the Hasmonean line, Mattityahu lived in Modi’in with his five sons. Mattityahu started the rebellion against the Syrian-Greeks when…

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What’s in the Book: Jeremiah

The Book of Jeremiah describes the final 40 years of the Kingdom of Judah. Jeremiah was a reluctant prophet, whose first prophecy came when he was still young, but God said that He would…

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Honor The Hoary Head

Senior Citizen Day, an annual event observed on August 21st, is a day meant to both honor older citizens and to remind the government that seniors are a large and powerful constituency.…

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What’s In The Book: Isaiah

The Book of Isaiah is famous for its rich, metaphorical language. Isaiah ben Amoz was a prophet during the reigns of the Judean kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. The inhabitants of…

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What’s in the Book: Kings II (Part 2)

The last King of Israel, Hoshea, the son of Elah, did not send his annual tribute to Assyria and, instead, sent envoys to Shalmaneser, the king of Egypt, resulting in Sargon II of Assyria…

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What’s in the Book: Kings II (Part 1)

The Second Book of Kings continues the history of a divided nation: the Kingdom of Israel in the north (10 tribes) and the Kingdom of Judea (Judah and Benjamin) in the south. After…

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What’s In The Book: I Kings

I Kings begins with Adonijah’s rebellion against his father, King David, the declaration of Solomon as heir to the throne, and King David’s death. King Solomon built the Holy Temple. I…

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Hear O Israel

"Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one!" Articulate it please! Say it out loud - slowly, deliberately...ahh, now, that’s the way to say the Shema. This first line of the…

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Animal Instincts

In their natural habitats, every creature on earth helps create a balance that allows the environment to flourish. This biological fact is part of the mechanics of Planet Earth. But the…

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Vayakhel 5763-2003

"Defining True Generosity" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this coming week's parasha, parashat Va'yakhel, we learn of the erecting of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle, the temporary sanctuary…

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Vayakhel-Pekudei 5767-2007

"Leadership and its Perils" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald Because of the nuances of the Hebrew calendar, two parashiot are read this Shabbat, Vayakhel and Pekudei, with which the reading…

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Va’eira 5770-2010

"Shortness of Breath and Hard Works" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This week's parasha, parashat Va'eira, opens with the Al-mighty's very moving declaration to Moses regarding His…

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Vayakhel 5765-2005

"Bezalel's Artistic Legacy" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This week's parasha, parashat Vayakhel, is one of the few instances (cf. parshat Ki Tisah, Exodus 31:1-6) in which the Torah…

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Bamidbar 5765-2005

"Lessons from Traveling in the Wilderness" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week's parasha, parashat Bamidbar, the people of Israel are counted, the structure of the tribal…

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