Parasha Insights


It was Yom Kippur eve, and the Jews in the city of Berditchev were gathered in the synagogue of the holy Rabbi Levi Yitzchak. Hundreds of men, women, and children waited anxiously for the saintly Tzaddik to begin the Kol Nidrei service. But as they watched him, they couldn’t help noticing how deeply troubled he appeared.

Reb Levi Yitzchak stood and asked the congregants to recite Tehillim, psalms, and to pour out their hearts and seek divine mercy. His usual look of joyful optimism was replaced by an expression of deep anguish and concern. He stood in the corner praying with great distress. Time passed—but still no Kol Nidrei service.

Finally, a long while later, the Rabbi’s expression shifted to one of gr… Read More »


A little boy talked to himself as he strutted through his backyard, wearing his baseball cap and toting a bat and ball. “I’m the greatest hitter in the world,” he announced. Then he tossed the ball in the air, swung at it, and missed.

“Strike one!” he yelled. He picked up the ball and said again, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world!” He tossed the ball in the air, swung, and missed. “Strike two!” he cried.

The boy then paused to examine his bat and ball carefully. He spit on his hands and rubbed them together, straightened his cap and said once more, “I’m the greatest hitter in the world!” He tossed the ball up and swung. He missed. “Strike three!”

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One Shabbat a cowboy went to shul. When he entered, he saw that he was the only congregant. The rabbi asked if he wanted him to give the sermon. The cowboy said, “I'm not a learned man, but if I went to feed my cattle and only one showed up, I'd feed him.” So the rabbi began.

One hour passed, then two, then two-and-a-half hours. Finally, the rabbi finished and asked the cowboy how he’d liked the sermon. The cowboy answered, “Well, I'm not a learned man, but if I went to feed my cattle and only one showed up, I sure wouldn't feed him all the hay.”

This Shabbat is the last Shabbat of the year 5777. On Wednesday night, September 20, we begin the holiday of Rosh Hashanah and the New Year, 5778. The… Read More »


A little girl asked her mother for $2 to give to an old woman in the park. Her mother was touched by the child's kindness. "Here you are, sweetie," said the mom. "I guess she is too old to work?"

"Oh no," came the reply. "She sells ice cream."

This week's Torah portion, Ki Tavo, opens with a discussion of the Mitzvah of Bikkurim, the First Fruits. Upon the ripening of the first fruits of the season (any of the seven species associated with the Land of Israel), a farmer would fill a basket with the ripened fruits and bring it to the Temple in Jerusalem, and offer it as a gift to the Kohen, to declare thanks to G-d for the goodness He bestowed upon the farmer.

This Shabbat, when we read about the Mit… Read More »


A professor in a military class asked his students, "What is the difference between an engagement and a battle?" 

No one offered any answer. The professor was frustrated. “Didn’t anyone read the material in the book?” he thundered.

Finally, one guy spoke up. "An engagement is the thing that comes before marriage," he said, "and the battle is what follows it."

Ben was the real rebellious type that always did his own thing and didn’t care about anybody. Some said it started at birth.

At five, he was already spelling out dirty words in his Alpha-Bet cereal. At seven, Ben carved snake tattoos into his sister’s Barbie doll.

 At ten, he and a couple of friends spent entire… Read More »

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