It Was Bashert

Bashert, which in Yiddish means “predestined,” is most commonly applied to the concept of one’s intended soul-mate. This idea that, when dating, one is searching for his/her bashert,…

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Preacher Man

One does not often associate preachers with Judaism. There are, however, certain distinct personalities in Jewish history who are known for their ability to inspire through their oratory.…

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The Great Don

Few people in Jewish history understood the “wheel of fortune*” as well as Don Isaac Abrabanel (Lisbon, 1437 - Venice, 1508). Born into a prominent, wealthy Portugese family, Don Isaac…

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Priorities: The Lessons of Reuben and Gad

From early in our lives, we are drilled about “priorities.” It usually begins, in earnest, during the high school years, as teenagers are pushed to think about the future, to get their…

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Just A Half A Shekel

This Shabbat is Shabbat Shekalim, the Sabbath of Shekels. The Torah portion that speaks of Shekalim (Exodus 30:11-16) is read as the Maftir portion after the regular weekly Torah reading…

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Just A Half A Shekel

This Shabbat is Shabbat Shekalim, the Sabbath of Shekels. The Torah portion that speaks of Shekalim (Exodus 30:11-16) is read as the Maftir portion after the regular weekly Torah reading…

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Asher, Son of Jacob

Asher was the second son born to Zilpah, Jacob's wife, the former handmaid of Leah. The ninth son in the household (after Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Dan, Naphtali and Gad), he…

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Yoma 35b

...A sensuous person will be asked, "What stopped you from learning Torah?" "What should I have done?" he will excuse himself. "I love life - it is full of pleasure and beauty. I was…

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Twice the Tithe

Charity (tzedakah) is an integral part of both Jewish life and Jewish law. And while giving charity is most certainly a value that goes beyond the bounds of any specific religion, in…

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Get Out!

The history of the Jews in Europe can almost be read as a timeline of expulsions. At one time or another, Jews have either been expelled from, or prohibited to settle in, almost every…

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The Reward of Honoring Shabbat

According to the wisdom of the sages, there is no way to “over-spend” on Shabbat. As it is said, “One who lends to Shabbat, Shabbat repays him!”(Shabbat 119a). “Lending to Shabbat” does…

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Shah! The Evil Eye!

“Oh, what a beautiful baby!” a woman says to another. “Kayn ayin harah,” the mother replies, “There shouldn’t be an evil eye!” What a strange reaction this is! Wouldn’t “thank you” be…

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Kiddush Wine

Kiddush is one of the primary components of the commandment to “Remember the Sabbath Day” (Za'chor et Yom Ha'Shabbat- Exodus 20:8), which is the “umbrella” commandment for all of the…

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Just A Half A Shekel

This Shabbat is Shabbat Shekalim, the Sabbath of Shekels. The Torah portion that speaks of Shekalim (Exodus 30:11-16) is read as the Maftir portion after the regular weekly Torah reading…

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God Helps Those Who…

Looking for a new job? A special someone? A change of fortune in your life? Did you do your hishtadlut? Hishtadlut is the Hebrew term for making a personal effort, for doing the legwork.…

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How Pharaoh Forgot

The Pharaoh of the Exodus was a cold-hearted man whose fear of losing power to the growing minority of the Israelites led him to enslave them. According to Exodus: “And the children of…

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Re’eh 5769-2009

"The Chosen People–Again!" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week's parasha, parashat Re'eh, we once again encounter the challenging concept of the "Chosenness" of Israel. After…

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Eikev 5769-2009

"Feeding the Animals–Beasts and Humans" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week's parasha, parashat Eikev, we encounter the well known second paragraph of the daily Shema prayer…

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Va’eira 5768-2007

"Moses, the Exalted Leader" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald Political campaigns in democratic societies have become a rather sorry sight. Candidates in the U.S. announce their candidacies,…

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Vayikra 5769-2009

"Shlamim: Expressing Wholehearted Gratitude" by Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald In parashat Vayikra we learn of the various animal sacrifices that are offered to G-d on the Brass (or earthen)…

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Chayei Sara 5767-2006

"A Match Made in Haran" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week's parasha, parashat Chayei Sarah, we read of Abraham's determined efforts to find a wife for his beloved son Isaac, by…

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Toledot 5770-2009

"The Jew Under the Microscope" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week's parasha, parashat Toledot, the Torah tells us that, once again, there was a famine in the land of Canaan, aside…

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Toledot 5761-2000

"The Ancient Origins and Practice of Anti-Semitism" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this coming week's parasha, parashat Toledot, we read that Yitzchak follows in the footsteps of his…

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Terumah 5767-2007

"G-d's Love Letters" by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald In this week's parasha, parashat Terumah, we begin a series of five parashiot that deal rather extensively with the details of erecting…

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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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No Strings Attached

Deuteronomy 16:18 states: "...You shall not take a bribe, for bribery blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts just words." Although this statement of Jewish law is written in…

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No Strings Attached

Deuteronomy 16:18 states: "...You shall not take a bribe, for bribery blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts just words." Although this statement of Jewish law is written in…

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The Torah’s Special Genetic Code

During Biblical times, our ancestors did not understand genetics, DNA codes, chromosomes and the transmission of physical attributes, as we understand them today. While the sages do note…

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Just a Half Shekel

This Shabbat is Parashat Shekalim (shekels, the Biblical monetary units). The Torah portion that speaks of Shekalim (Exodus 30:11-16) is read, as the Maftir portion after the regular…

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Kiddush Wine

Kiddush is the primary component of the commandment to “Remember the Sabbath Day” (Za'chor et Yom Ha'Shabbat- Exodus 20:8), which is often understood as the “umbrella” term for all of the…

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