Yom Kippur 5781-2020

“The Thrill of Coming Home”
(updated and revised from Yom Kippur 5761-2000)

The month of Elul and the early days of Tishrei between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are universally regarded as propitious times for repentance and return. As G-d draws closer to us during this period, we need to draw closer to Him.

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Kee Tavo 5780-2020

“There are Stones with Human Hearts”
(updated and revised from Kee Tavo 5761-2001)

In parashat Kee Tavo, Moses transmits to the Jewish people some of the specific laws and rituals that apply once the people enter the land of Israel. He instructs the elders that, on the day they cross the Jordan to enter into Israel, the people must set up 12 great stones, cover them with plaster and write upon them all the words of this law. Tradition thus explicitly teaches us that Jewish memorials must incorporate Torah. The most appropriate memorials are houses of study and yeshivot that nurture a new generation of Jews. Only in this manner, will our enemies never be able to defeat us.

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Kee Tavo 5779-2019

“Welcoming the Stranger”
(Revised and updated from Kee Tavo 5760-2000)

May a non-Jew who converts to Judaism say the prayer formula stating that G-d has promised “our fathers” to give us the land and the fruits thereof? We are taught that Abraham is the father of not only biological Jews, but of all righteous proselytes. We therefore must welcome the גֵר--ger, the stranger, with abundant love, for we were all once strangers.

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Yom Kippur 5772-2011

"The Magic of the Day of Atonement"

Yom Kippur, the most awesome day in the Jewish calendar, is also the most magical. Despite our trespasses, G-d guarantees His children forgiveness and redemption.

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Kee Tavo 5770-2010

“Secret Transgressions”

How does a Jew become not only an “observant” Jew, but a Jew who observes with integrity? The twelve opening admonitions of the Tochacha hope to set the Jewish people on the right track.

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Re’eh 5770-2010

“The Blessing and the Curse”

Is Moses setting out a choice before the people of blessing or curse, or is he simply stating that life always consists of elements that are bitter as well as those that are sweet?

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Shoftim 5769-2009

"The Torah Declares War on Bribery"

Although much of western society considers bribery in judgment to be a perversion of justice, this has not always been the case. The intention of providing equal justice to all citizens is a rather recent development. In the Torah, bribery has always been looked upon as the height of venality.

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0 Comments8 Minutes

Nitzavim-Vayeilech 5764-2004

"Hastening the Messiah"

Our rabbis see in the verses of parashat Nitzavim an allusion to the Messianic era. Moses predicts that the children of Israel will return to the L-rd their G-d, and will listen to G-d's voice. The Jewish people can hasten the Messiah's arrival by doing what is right and just in G-d's eyes.

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Kee Tavo 5762-2002

"A Contemporary Interpretation of an Ancient Reproof"

As we read the "Tochacha," the reproof of the people of Israel for their sins in parashat Kee Tavo, it is impossible not to see the evils of contemporary society predicted and fulfilled. G-d begs us to choose life. If we indeed choose life, the tragic predictions of the Torah should never occur. In fact, we can forestall almost all evil by properly educating ourselves and our children to conduct our lives properly, fulfilling our responsibilities to others and to the environment with genuine loving kindness.

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0 Comments16 Minutes

Kee Teitzei 5762-2002

"Transforming an Enemy Into a Friend"

The Torah contains two quite remarkable laws concerning the treatment of animals. In parashat Kee Teitzei, we learn of the law of teh'eenah, that we must help a friend load an animal whose load is falling off. In parasahat Mishpatim, we learn the law of peh'reekah, of helping a friend unload an animal that is falling under its load. From the Talmudic discussion concerning one who is confronted with two animals, one that needs to be loaded and another that needs to be unloaded, we learn some remarkable laws about both animals and human beings.

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0 Comments6 Minutes

Kee Tavo 5761-2001

"There are Stones with Human Hearts"

In parashat Kee Tavo, Moses transmits to the Jewish people some of the specific laws and rituals that apply once the people enter the land of Israel. He instructs the elders that, on the day they cross the Jordan to enter into Israel, the people must set up 12 great stones, cover them with plaster and write upon them all the words of this law. Tradition thus explicitly teaches us that Jewish memorials must incorporate Torah. Houses of study and yeshivot that train a new generation of Jews are thus the most appropriate memorials. Only in this manner will our enemies never be able to defeat us.

Read More


0 Comments8 Minutes

Yom Kippur 5761-2000

"The Thrill of Coming Home"

The month of Elul and the early days of Tishrei between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are universally regarded as propitious times for repentance and return. As G-d draws closer to us during this period, we need to draw closer to Him.

Read More


0 Comments7 Minutes

Kee Tavo 5760-2000

"Welcoming the Stranger"

May a non-Jew who converts to Judaism say the prayer formula that states that G-d has promised "our fathers" to give us the land and the fruits thereof? We are taught that Abraham is the father, not only of biological Jews but of all righteous proselytes. We therefore must welcome the ger, the stranger, with abundant love, for we were all once strangers.

Read More


0 Comments9 Minutes