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Letting Go

These are my words at Kehillat Shivtei Yeshurun, Ramat Beit Shemesh this Rosh HaShanah. They are still pertinent today. The words that I’d like to share with you tonight actually took me about 50 years to prepare. Tonight, as we greet Rosh HaShanah into our lives, I’d...

Re’eh!

“See! I give to you today the blessing and the curse.” This portion of the Torah is called “See!” Why “See!” Why should we be seeing here more than in everything else that Moshe transmitted to us from G-d? Why not “See! I am the Lord your G-d who took you out of...

Where are the Pashkevil?

Where are the Pashkevil?

Pashkevil are protest posters that are pasted on walls. They are particularly common in Jerusalem as a means of conveying directives to the public. I had the privilege of living in Jerusalem. Everyday there are posters about a new threat or problem facing the Jewish...

The Quest For Jerusalem

On a spiritual voyage, the expedition, the trek, searching, yearning, finding it and just getting there, is the mission in and of itself! If we would know where it is then it wouldn’t be as holy.

It’s Hug Time

It’s Hug Time

The three weeks and the nine days are behind us and the High Holidays are not yet here. So, it’s party time. Concerts, barbecues, hiking and a lot of junk food in the Mountains. The Catskills have the feel of a Jewish Woodstock. It is a break between crisis and...

Choosing Your Grandfather

Choosing Your Grandfather

"He is a wise child who chooses a good grandfather." I recently spoke at a conference of baalei teshuvah. Someone came over and introduced himself to me as a great grandson of the Pnei Yehoshua. While in college he learned that he had such an illustrious grandfather....

Devarim-Chazon

"Chazon Yeshayahu". A vision of Yeshayahu! The Medrash [Shir Hashirim Rabbah Ch. 3] taught that there are ten levels of prophecy. Sometimes prophecy comes in a dream, sometimes as a feeling and sometimes as a voice. Which kind of prophecy was the harshest? Rabbi...

If G-d Can Do It; You Can Do It!

G-d set you aside from all the nations of the world to be your G-d, so that you can walk in His ways. (Devorim 26;17) G-d chose us to be able to walk in His ways. In simpler terms we can act like G-d acts; we can be kind like G-d is kind; we can forgive like G-d...

Approaching The Finish Line

We’ve all been there. We are enjoying the first course at the wedding meal. There is light music in the background, pleasant conversation and a beautiful setting. Suddenly the band pumps up. With pomp and fanfare the music reaches a crescendo and a new beginning is...

The Right Choice

While going through the Parsha, the fourth part of Moshe Rabbeinu’s final Drasha to the Jewish People, I noticed what seemed to be a lack of connection between the 55 different mitzvos mentioned. However, I found a constant theme, a key word, which strings everything...

Nachamu!

In many circles Shabbos Nachamu spells vacation. The great summer breather. The three weeks and the nine days are behind us and the High Holidays are not yet here. So, it’s party time. Concerts, barbecues, hiking and a lot of junk food in the Mountains. The Catskills...

All Alone Together

It's tough to be alone. Loneliness is possibly one of the most painful experiences in the human experience. I'm not sure if there is anyone alive that can take being completely alone. We always read Parshas Devarim on the Shabbos preceding Tisha B'Av. There is a...

Fighting In Shul

Rav Moshe Feinstien ZT”l once commented that early on we used to see fierce arguments in Shul over who should get an Aliya and who shouldn’t. He observed that as the years went on things seemed to have become much more civilized and gentlemanly. “Please, you take the...

Bringing The Beauty Home

A Jewish man goes to war and there at war he encounters amongst the enemy a beautiful woman. The Torah says that he can take her home but he must cut off her hair and "do" her nails. It's interesting that the two ectodermic appendages, hair and nails are singled out...

Nearing The End

Here we are getting ready to usher in the last month of the year. There is a vast amount of discussion and literature on how to start off the year and very little about how to end it. Even the last month of the year Elul, has been marketed as the preparation for the...

The Eicha Revolution

The Kotzker Rebbe observed: “There is no place lonelier than a room full of people.” Walk into a wedding or a Bar Mitzvah. Everyone is eating, dancing and singing. Who would think that loneliness is even possible in this room? But if you are a stranger in that room,...

Where Did All The Leaders Go?

This week's parsha speaks of the different models of leadership; the king, the judge, the Kohein and the prophet. It's relatively easy to examine and criticize leaders but as the saying goes; the people get the leader they deserve. As we arrive at Chodesh Elul, and we...

Take Your Shoes Off

Take Your Shoes Off

When Moshe Rabeinu approached the burning bush he heard G-d speak to him. "Take off your shoes!" G-d commanded. "You are standing on holy ground." Why did G-d command Moshe to take off his shoes, and not to cover his head or prepare his heart? There is a great...

Never Enough!

Moshe stood on Har Nevo on the Eastside of the Jordan. He wanted to enter the Land of Israel. He was only steps away but he was refused entry. He looked at Eretz Yisroel. The Torah records that from that point he was able to see across Israel all the way to the...

Chazon! A Vision

Today I was sitting with my studies in my dining room when my neighbor knocked on the door. He was insistent: "You must come and look!" Behind my home sits one of G-ds masterpieces. The beautiful green Judean hills go on for miles toward Jerusalem and Hebron. One can...