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Parasha Insights

WISHING YOU A CHAG SAMEACH

Please accept our invitation to have you and your family over this Wednesday for a delicious dairy lunch buffet with cheesecake and an ice cream party for the children!

The holiday of Shavuot is arguably one of the most important holidays on the Jewish calendar. It's right up there with Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Passover. This is the day that we became G-d's Chosen People, chosen to be a light unto the nations. 

This is the day that G-d brought us to Mt. Sinai and chose us, a tiny nation, as the people to receive His most precious gift - The Ten Commandments and the Torah.

This year, Shavuot is celebrated beginning Tomorrow evening, Tuesday, June 11. We will be up all night studying Torah with classes for me… Read More »

Counting as an Expression of Love

Five minutes left in the exam, and the proctor calls out, "Finish up, people." Everyone starts writing conclusions, one guy keeps writing. The proctor calls out, "Time's up. All papers in." Everyone who hasn't finished brings up their papers. One guy just keeps writing. The proctor sees him, and says, "I said 'Time's up.' Get your paper in now, or I'll have to disqualify your exam." The guy keeps writing. The proctor gathers all the exams into a big pile, looks at the guy writing, and says, "That's it, then. Your exam is disqualified."

The guy seems unfazed, finishes, checks the paper and carries it to the front. The proctor shakes his head and says, "Sorry. I told you I won't accept your exam.&… Read More »

The Gift of the Jewish People

Charlie Boswell was a great athlete who became blind during World War II while rescuing his friend from a tank that was under fire. When he returned to this country after the War, he decided to take up a sport he had never tried yet golf. Years of Practice and determination led him to win the honor of National Blind Golf Champion no less than 13 times. One of his heroes was the great golfer Ben Hogan, so it truly was an honor for Charlie to win the Ben Hogan Award in 1958.

Upon meeting Hogan, Charlie was awestruck and told the legendary golfer that his greatest wish was to have one round of golf with the great Ben Hogan.

Hogan was duly honored, after all, he knew Charlie as the great blind player that he was, and truly admired his skills.… Read More »

DO YOU JUDGE PEOPLE?

A talented artist asked his gallery owner if anyone had shown interest in his paintings.

"I've got good news and bad news," she said. "The good news is that some guy inquired if your work will be appreciated after you die. 

When I told him that it would, he bought all 15 of your original paintings. He spent 4.9 million dollars on your paintings."

“That’s awesome,” exclaims the artist. “I can now retire in wealth. And the bad news?"  "That guy was your doctor."

In preparation for the Festival of Shavuot, it has become a tradition among Jewish communities worldwide to study the Ethics of the Fathers before the holiday.

 is an anthology of ethics, mor… Read More »

DO YOU HAVE SELF CONTROL?

Joke: There are three kinds of people: those who can count and those who can’t.

But for those who know how to count, it is not difficult to figure out that 14 days constitute two weeks!

There is something strange about how we count sefirah the 49-day count between Passover and  Shavuot as we read in this week’s Torah portion Emor.

The Talmud states: "It is a Mitzvah to count the days, and it is a Mitzvah to count the weeks.” This is because both are mentioned explicitly in the Torah:

Then, the Torah talks about two forms of counting: counting seven weeks and counting 49 days. We thus fulfill both mandates: After the first week, we count as follows: “Today is seven days, which is one week to th… Read More »

DO YOU KEEP A GRUDGE?

Once, on Yom Kippur, a Rabbi spoke about forgiveness.
After the sermon, he asked how many are willing to forgive their enemies. About half held up their hands.

Still unsatisfied, he lectured for fifteen more minutes and repeated his question. All responded except one elderly lady in the rear. "Mrs. Cohen, are you not willing to forgive your enemies?" "I don't have any."

"That is very unusual. How old are you?" "106"

Not satisfied, he lectured the congregation for another twenty minutes and repeated his

"Mrs. Cohen, please come down and tell the congregation how a lady can live to  be 106 and not have no enemy in the world."  The old lady teetered down the aisle,… Read More »

CAN YOU BE SILENT? SPEAK UP!

This week's Torah portion, Acharei Mot, opens with the tragic episode of the death of Aaron's two sons, Nadav and Avihu, the two priests of Israel.

On the day the Tabernacle in the desert was erected and Aaron's four sons were inaugurated as priests, the two oldest children entered the Tabernacle, “came close to G-d,” and passed away.

As the Or Hachaim explains:

Theirs was death by Divine “kiss” like that experienced by the perfectly righteous it is only that the righteous die when the Divine “kiss” approaches them, while they passed by their approaching it… Although they sensed their demise, this did not prevent them from drawing near to G‑d in attachment, delight,  fellowship, and love, s… Read More »

G-d is with us!

Welcome to the Seder

As we sit together around our Seder tables, we find ourselves retracing the steps of our ancestors on their monumental journey from the slavery of Egypt to the hopeful horizon of the Promised Land. At the heart of this story is a moment of decision — a hinge of history — that speaks urgently to the challenges we face today.

When Moses sent twelve spies into the Promised Land, ten came back overwhelmed by fear, broken by the challenges that lay across the Jordan River. They saw giants and said, “We cannot conquer this land.”

Joshua and Caleb saw the same giants and the same challenges. They were there too, crouched in the bushes and learning the landscape. Yet, they returned with a different re… Read More »

WHO IS A CONDUIT FOR BLESSINGS?

One Shabbat morning Schwartz strides angrily into shul and confronts Goldberg, during prayers: Goldberg is A THIEF! Goldberg is mortified and he exits the shul, shaking with humiliation. After the kiddush club, the rabbi wants a word with Schwartz, and once the assembled kiddush-makers have gone into lunch, the rabbi gently and firmly tells Schwartz that he has crossed a line with his public charge against Goldberg. Accusing a fellow friend of being a thief is no small matter.

Beyond that, public humiliation is simply unacceptable. “Next Shabbat, when everyone has arrived in shul, you must publicly retract your accusation.” During the week, the rabbi reassures Goldberg that matters would be set right. It’s Shabbat morning.… Read More »

CAN INTEGRITY PRESERVE YOUR LIFE?

People somehow delude themselves into thinking that Hamas and the people living in Gaza are two distinct entities and that Hamas took control of Gazans. They forget that Hamas does not control Gaza; rather, Gaza thinks Hamas. Hamas was elected by the people of Gaza in 2006, and more than 70 percent of Arabs living in Gaza and the West Bank support the murders of October 7th, 2023. 

The Torah states in this week’s portion Parshat Shmini / Hachodesh “This may you eat of all that is in the waters: everything that has fins and scales, you may eat. But anything that has no fins and scales, you may not eat.”  For a fish to be kosher, it needs both fins and scales.

The Talmud states a fascinating fact: “All fi… Read More »

CAN INTEGRITY PRESERVE YOUR LIFE?

People somehow delude themselves into thinking that Hamas and the people living in Gaza are two distinct entities and that Hamas took control of Gazans. They forget that Hamas does not control Gaza; rather, Gaza thinks Hamas. Hamas was elected by the people of Gaza in 2006, and more than 70 percent of Arabs living in Gaza and the West Bank support the murders of October 7th, 2023. 

The Torah states in this week’s portion Parshat Shmini / Hachodesh “This may you eat of all that is in the waters: everything that has fins and scales, you may eat. But anything that has no fins and scales, you may not eat.”  For a fish to be kosher, it needs both fins and scales.

The Talmud states a fascinating fact: “All fi… Read More »

IS YOUR HEART AFLAME?

Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, former chief rabbi of Israel, related when he met the Rebbe shortly after the Yom Kippur war. The Rebbe asked what Jews in Israel were asking. Rabbi Lau replied they were asking, “What will be?” The Rebbe said, “A Jew doesn’t ask, ‘what will be,’ a Jew asks, ‘what must we do?’”

We are surrounded by evil; every so often, it rears its ugly head as it did on the October 7 massacre. Pure evil raped Jewish mothers, burned Jewish babies alive, mutilated their fathers, and beheaded their neighbors. Pure evil burned loving couples clinging to each other, to a crisp.

Our mandate is to fight evil. Never to surrender, never to succumb. To keep the flame of righteousness bu… Read More »

DO YOU SEE MIRACLES IN YOUR LIFE?

The anecdote is told that some years ago, the Israeli Knesset, once convened an emergency session to figure out a solution for the broken Israeli economy.

One brilliant minister said, "Let's declare war on the U.S., and then, in the wake of the utter destruction America will bring upon us, we will receive billions of dollars for reconstruction, like Germany and Japan.

"Sounds great," responded another member of the Knesset. "One problem: What will we do if we win the war?"

When do we celebrate Purim in a leap year the first month of Adar or the second Adar?  The holiday of Purim always falls in the second Adar. Why? The Talmud explains that it is “preferable to juxtapose [one] redemption t… Read More »

DOES G-D WANT YOU TO BE WEALTHY?

A young lawyer, starting up his private practice, was very anxious to impress potential clients. When he saw the first visitor to his office come through the door, he immediately picked up his phone and said," I'm sorry, but my caseload is so tremendous that I'm not going to be able to look into your problem for at least a month. I'll have to get back to you then." He then turned to the man who had just walked in, and said, "Now, what can I do for you? Make sure to do this fast, as I am in a mad rush, as you can see from the endless telephone calls of clients."

"Nothing," replied the man. "I'm here to hook up your phone

The last five portions of the book of Exodus, culminating this week with the portion … Read More »

ARE YOU FAN OR A PLAYER?

An old Jewish beggar was out on the street, begging with his tin cup.

A man passed by and the beggar said to the man, "Sir, could you spare a quarter for a cup of coffee?"

And the man said, "Where do get coffee for 25 scents?"

And the beggar said, "Who buys retail?"

Building a sanctuary is difficult enough. Getting people to donate has been, historically, even more difficult. That, however, was not the case concerning the construction of the first Temple the Mishkan the Jewish people built in the desert. 

The Torah in Vayakhel tells us that everyone contributed to the cause. “Every man whose heart uplifted him came, and everyone whose spirit inspired him to generosity brought the offering of the… Read More »

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