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Friday Shabbat Shalom

What is so punishing about darkness?

Jan 22, 2021

What is so punishing about darkness?

In Parshat Bo, we meet the final plagues of the ten meted out to the Egyptians. Before the last plague of the killing of the first-born males in the Egyptian households, God instructs Moses to deliver one penultimate punishment: darkness - choshech. But this darkness is not merely the dark of the night. It is called choshech afela - a thick darkness.
You Are Not Free Until You Are at Home

Jan 15, 2021

You Are Not Free Until You Are at Home

Moshe, in the cliffhanger at the end of Parashat Shemot, was demoralized by the Hebrew slaves’ apathy towards their impending freedom. He was devastated by Pharaoh’s tightening the screws on the slaves and increasing their suffering to crush Moshe’s initiative (Exodus 5:6-6:1).
The Moral Limits to Power

Jan 8, 2021

The Moral Limits to Power

This week's Torah portion, Shemot, could be entitled "the birth of a leader." We see Moses, adopted by Pharaoh's daughter, growing up as a prince of Egypt. We see him as a young man, for the first time realising the implications of his true identity.
Why Is It So Hard?

Dec 25, 2020

Why Is It So Hard?

One of the hardest things that human beings are called upon to wrestle with is: Forgiveness. In Parshat Vayigash we have one of the finest models of it in how Yosef/ Joseph deals with his brothers.
Making Dreams a Reality

Dec 18, 2020

Making Dreams a Reality

This week's parasha, Miketz, and last week's parasha, Vayeishev, have the running theme of dreams. You'll recall that Yosef (Joseph) proclaims two dreams he has about his and his family's future --the bowing sheaves and the sun/moon/stars. Then later in life, Yosef listens to the dreams of Paro's (Pharoah's) chief cupbearer and chief baker who are imprisoned with him. And finally after being hauled out of prison, Paro himself tells Yosef his own dream that foreshadows the future for the entire nation of Egypt (7 fat cows/years, 7 lean cows/years).
Keeping the Flame Alive

Dec 11, 2020

Keeping the Flame Alive

Chanukah seems to celebrate a miracle that on the surface seems rather unimportant. Why is slowly burning oil an event that should be remembered generations later? Furthermore, what is it so significant about eight days? Why not seven or nine? I would like to share an insight that I believe underscores the theme of these days.
Behave Like Israel

Dec 4, 2020

Behave Like Israel

I find Parashat Vayishlach very applicable to some of the unresolved issues that we are going through today. We find Jacob going back home after 20 years. And for us, the year 2020 feels like 20 years in one!
Is Thanksgiving Jewish?

Nov 26, 2020

Is Thanksgiving Jewish?

Is Thanksgiving Jewish? Of course! Want to know how? Read on. On Thursday, we will pause and take a moment to say thanks. One of the perennial questions asked: Is Thanksgiving Jewish? We have a great answer, courtesy of Moshe Sokolow, professor of Jewish education at the Azrieli Graduate School of Yeshiva University...
People Are Different. Love is the Same.

Nov 20, 2020

People Are Different. Love is the Same.

This week’s Torah portion Toldot (meaning “generations”) is full of drama and betrayal, of parenting do’s and don’ts, of sibling rivalry, and questions of birthright. Essentially it contains a parenting manual of sorts-- we are given examples of what to do and what not to do in parenting.
The Kindness of Strangers

Nov 13, 2020

The Kindness of Strangers

In Memorium: this Dvar Torah on Parashat Chayei Sarah was written by international religious leader, philosopher, award-winning author and respected moral voice, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks z"l, the former Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth (United Kingdom) who passed away last Shabbat, November 7 / 20 Cheshvan. May his memory be a blessing forever!