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Parasha Insights


In a Jewish school in Ukraine, there was a history teacher who was an ardent Communist.  Her gods were Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin. She had no soft spot for Judaism, but because she was a terrific teacher and knew her stuff, they hired her in the Chabad school, on condition that she sticks to her subject and stays off the topic of religion. 

One day she quizzed her students on the period from the end of the 18th century to the end of the 19th century.  The teacher asked: Who knows what was the most important historical event of the year 1799?

One child raised his hand and said that was the year Rabbi Shneur Zalman, the founder of Chabad, was released from Czarist prison.

The teacher yelled: What?! Who’s… Read More »


After a performance, a cantor - trying to impress- tells the crowd that his voice is insured with Lloyds of London for 1 million dollars. A voice from the back of the room says "so what did you do with the money?"

In the entire drama, it is easy to ignore what might seem like a lackluster moment in this week’s Torah portion Noach.

As the floodwaters recede, Noah opens the window of the ark and sends out the raven, which "kept going and returning.” So Noach sends out the dove to see if the water has receded sufficiently so that he can leave the ark. The dove returns to the ark, as it could not find a place to rest because the earth is still engulfed in water. Noach waits seven days and resends the dove.

And… Read More »


An investment advisor decided to go out on her own. She was shrewd and diligent, so business kept coming in, and pretty soon she realized that she needed an in-house counsel. The investment banker began to interview young lawyers.

"As I'm sure you can understand," she started off with one of the first applicants, "in a business like this, our personal integrity must be beyond question." She leaned forward. "Mr. Mayberry, are you an honest lawyer?"

"Honest?" replied the job prospect. "Let me tell you something about honesty. Why I'm so honest that my father lent me $15,000 for my education, and I paid back every penny the minute I tried my very first case."

"Impressive. And… Read More »


I received this message on my Whats App: Born before Sep. 4, 1998? Congratulations! You are older than Google.

So I just told my kids I’m older than Google. They think I am joking. I told them: Actually, I’m like Google’s granddaddy. Yet Google knows me better than my wife knows me.

The holiday of Succot starting this evening we buy the four species mandated by the Torah. The lulav (palm branch) with its accompanying willow and myrtle stems are easily chosen. But choosing the Etrog, citron, is an entirely different matter. For the most exquisite Etrog, you need to spend time studying the hundreds of yellow lemon-like fruits at your local Etrog dealer. The story of the Etrog is one of the most fascinating and complicated… Read More »

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