Parasha Insights

What Is Joseph’s Blessing?

For most of us, money is important. It can buy food, clothing, and shelter. But dignity is also important. Many people would rather miss dinner than ask for a handout. But I don’t know anyone who would put their dignity ahead of their children’s well-being.

If your child needed something desperately and couldn’t get it, most of us would demean ourselves willingly to plead their case.

Our child’s happiness is our happiness. Nothing makes us happier than knowing that our children are happy. If you and your child both loved popcorn and there was only one bag, it wouldn’t be a sacrifice to give it to your child. You would derive much more pleasure from watching him or her eat it than from enjoying it yourself. Yo… Read More »


Tomorrow Friday, December 22, 2023, marks the tenth day of the Hebrew month of Tevet. The tenth of Tevet is a fast day that commemorates the beginning of the siege against Jerusalem that concluded with the destruction of the Temple on Tisha B’av. The fast is observed from daybreak until nightfall. In New York, the fast begins at 5:30 a.m. and ends at 5:04 p.m. We break the fast with the Kiddush of Friday night followed by a Shabbat Dinner.

The story of Joseph revealing himself to his brothers after decades of bitter separation is one of the most dramatic in the entire Torah. Twenty-two years earlier, when Joseph was seventeen years old, his brothers loathing their younger kin, abducted him, thr… Read More »

Living is Giving

We were once proud to say, “My best friend is Muslim,” but it turned out that some of them were not our friends. Oh, they say they don’t hate me. They just hate the Jews in Israel. But they don’t get it. The Jews in Israel are me. It's not that I agree with everything Israeli Jews say. It's that they are my heart and soul. They are the blood that pumps in my heart and the life that pulses through my veins. When they bleed, I bleed. Do you think I can separate your disdain of them from myself? You are mistaken. I can’t blame you. I never told you differently. I gave you every appearance of being American. Turns out I was always Jewish. I didn’t realize it. And neither did you.

But you know what? I have be… Read More »

Ani Maamin - I Believe

Once upon a time, a scorpion was standing at the Gaza port, yearning to get out of Gaza and cross the sea. But alas, scorpions don’t swim. Suddenly, the scorpion saw a swan. It asked the swan if it could ride on its back and cross the sea.

The swan refused. “That would be suicidal,” said the swan. “You will give me one bite and I will die,” cried the swan.  “You are dumb,” said the scorpion. “If I bite you, I will drown myself, because I do not swim. If you go down, I go down. So for my own selfish sake, I will never bite you.”

That logic made sense to the swine. It agreed. The swan took the scorpion on its back, they left the Gaza port, and off they went on their voyage across th… Read More »

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