Kee Tavo 5774-2014

“Finding Respite”

After the horrors of the Holocaust were made public, many Jews were under the impression that with the establishment of the State of Israel, its miraculous rebirth and development, the perfidious scourge of anti-Semitism would somehow abate and eventually vanish. For a while there was, what seemed to be, a universal sensitivity. But, only sixty years later, that sensitivity has vanished, and there is now a virulent outbreak of anti-Semitism in countless countries throughout the world, even on the streets of New York and Los Angeles.

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Kee Teitzei 5774-2014

“Restoring Lost Possessions--Revisited”

The mitzvah of returning a lost article is not a matter to be taken lightly. The Italian commentator Menachem Recanati argues that in certain instances restoring a person’s lost article can be the equivalent of restoring a person’s life.

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Vayeilech-Yom Kippur 5773-2012

“The Limits of Free Will”

During the period of the Ten Days of Penitence, and especially with the imminent arrival of Yom Kippur, it is most appropriate to inquire about the limits of human free will.

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Shemini-Yom Hashoah 5769-2009

"Aaron's Response to Tragedy-a Lesson for Yom Hashoah"

On what should have been the most jubilant day of his life, Aaron suffers the tragic loss of two of his sons who bring a strange fire shortly after the Tabernacle is inaugurated. Despite these grievous losses, Aaron and his two remaining sons are determined to go on with the ceremony. It is the commitment to preserve Jewish life, and live as a Jew with great zeal and passion, as taught to us by the High Priest Aaron, that is, unquestionably, the most powerful and appropriate response to the Shoah.

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Shemini-Yom Hashoah 5767-2007

"Never Again!-Again!"

As Yom Hashoah is marked, we think about the slogan "Never Again" and our pledge to never allow the wholesale destruction of the Jewish People to take place again. Unfortunately, it is happening again--this time through a silent spiritual Holocaust.

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Bereshith-Simchat Torah 5766-2005

"P'roo Ur'voo --Jewish Attitudes Towards Procreation"

As we once again begin the Book of Genesis, we learn about the central mitzvah of procreation, "p'roo ur'voo," (Genesis 1:28). Judaism diverges from much of Christianity in its forthright and positive attitude towards sexuality. Not only is bearing children a mitzvah in Judaism, but even pleasure in sexuality is a mitzvah. Furthermore, even those who are not blessed with children can bear spiritual fruit, by becoming teachers of Torah or by supporting the study of Torah.

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Yom Kippur 5766-2005

"Sharing the Blanket"

The Ten Days of Penitence--Aseret Y'may Teshuvah--are days in which we focus on ourselves to become better people so that our fate is determined favorably in the Divine judgment. But if we are only for ourselves, what are we? We need to learn what Howard Schultz, founder and chairman of Starbucks, learned from Rabbi Nosson Zvi Finkel, the head of Mir Yeshiva, that we must "share the blanket."

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Bechukotai 5765-2005

"Achieving Peace and Security for the Jewish People"

Parashat Bechukotai pronounces the ultimate formula for achieving peace for the Jewish people. G-d declares: "Im bechukotai tay'lay'choo," if the Jewish people wish to attain peace and ultimate blessing, they must follow My decrees and observe My commandments and perform them. Security is a factor of the Jewish people's relationship with G-d.

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