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A Man Without A Name

A Man Without A Name

In Australia I ran a beginners minyan. One Shabbos morning an older man came in. He wasn’t the usual type of attendee, he stood out. He was an old-timer, a European Jew During minyan he sat motionless in the back. It was a participatory Minyan, but he didn’t seem to...

Moshe – A Leader?

Moshe – A Leader?

‘Anyone who has the humility of Moshe Rabeinu can also have his Torah.’ The more Moshe argued for his under-qualifications, the more God wanted him for the job. God didn’t want a politician. He wasn’t looking for a smooth talker. He wasn’t looking for someone who could work the crowd; He was looking for someone who could work his soul.

From Darkness to Great Light

From Darkness to Great Light

Today is Purim Kattan. It’s not the real Purim, because Purim must fall on the last month of the year, yet it still a day of celebration and happiness. From a seasonal and holiday perspective, Nissan, the month of Pesach, is the first of all months, and Adar is the...

Traveling Light

As a Rabbi and a Jew we have moved many times. In our family, we have it down to a science. We spend about a week packing up our home and the second week unpacking. The first week we take everything apart and the second week we put everything back together again. To...

Do The Right Thing!

There is an interesting story told in the Book of Judges, Chapter 17. Someone by the name of Michiyahu founded an idolatrous cult. He had an idol and built a temple for this purpose. He sought someone with leadership qualities, charisma and spirituality to lead his...

Lets Have an Argument

Lets Have an Argument

The Talmud tells us that when two Torah scholars fight, although they may even appear to hate each other, at the end there will be love and peace between them. The reason is that their fighting is for the sake of Heaven. Let us pray that our intentions should always be for the sake of Heaven, so that true peace can prevail.

Quiet Time

Quiet Time

In today's parsha we read how Moshe argued with G-d about his competence to carry G-d's message to Pharaoh to release the Jews. "The children of Israel did not listen to me," he says, "Why should Pharaoh?" (Exod. 6:12). This is a form of argument, widely used by the...

Do It Anyway

Do It Anyway

Here is one of the less discussed miracles that took place in Egypt. The pharaoh of Egypt had decreed that all the Jewish boy babies were to be drowned at birth. Yocheved, Moses' mother, hides her newborn Moses for 3 months and then places her baby in a caulked wicker...

The Boutique Shul

The Boutique Shul

In order for the world to work as designed, with peace and holiness, the Presence of Hashem, the Shechinah, must be embedded into the world. To achieve this we needed a project that would bring all the tribes of Israel, in spite of their differences, together. The...

Make Yourself Count!

Make Yourself Count!

As the band played and the spirits were high on Purim I looked around at the many friends that joined me and realized that perhaps one of the main messages of Purim may be getting lost on all of us. The Jewish people were in trouble. A woman by the name of Ester and a...

Little Things

This week's parsha describes in detail the garb the Kohen had to wear while performing his priestly functions. The purpose of these garments, as explained in the Torah, is "for honor and glory" (Exod. 28:2). If you use any of the wonderful learning aids available...

The Disappointing G-d

The magnificent description of the Sea Splitting and then just forty days later, the prophecy of all prophesies, the Giving of the Torah to Moshe on Mt. Sinai taught the Jewish people that there were no boundaries on this Earth. Anything can happen! If G-d wills it,...

A Call To Action

A Call To Action

The great achievement of the Jews during the first Shabbos HaGodol was that they actually performed a deed which was calculated to violate the sensibilities of the Egyptians: they bought Paschal lambs from the Egyptians, and explained to the Egyptians that these lambs...

If You Were G-d

If You Were G-d

There is an interesting story told in the Book of Judges, Chapter 17. A certain woman left her fortune to her son Michiyahu for the purpose of setting up an idolatorous cult. He had a fancy idol and a temple built for this purpose, but could not find a priest to lead...

An Honest Mitzvah

Mitzvah, honesty, Amalek, Moses, Whenever we perform a mitzvah, we should ask ourselves whether our motive is perhaps to avoid doing some other less pleasant, but more important, mitzvah.

Hearts Of Darkness

Hearts Of Darkness

Everyone has been asking: "Rabbi, what time can I daven in the morning? It seems to get light so late!" There are a number of answers to this question. One third of all adults in the USA own a smart phone. Within seconds you can get the exact moment of Alos HaShachar,...

Ruach

Ruach

The hopeful and encouraging words of Moshe fell flat. "I have come to set you free! G-d has made me a messenger to facilitate the Geula!" But They did not listen to Moshe because of shortness of breath, kotzer ruach, and because of strenuous work. What is this "Kotzer...

Zachor

There was a boiling hot bath. Everyone wanted to go in but they were afraid. One brazen fellow plunged in. Once he leaped in everyone jumped in after him. When the Jews left Egypt they were hot, very hot. The surrounding nations heard about all the miracles that...

Midlife Crisis?

Midlife Crisis?

If you're stuck - you can not be a leader of the Jewish people. If you're stuck - you can not be a Prophet. If you're stuck - you can not be a Torah scholar. There were at least two million Jews traveling together with Moshe in the desert. Amongst them...

Tezaveh – God Wants a Home!

Four decades ago I came to New York to attend yeshiva. I heard so much about Yeshiva but it was the first time I ever saw one. I was nervous but I was excited. When we walked up the walkway to the building it was recess time. I saw tens of boys playing handball...

Gold Plated Judaism

G-d commanded Moses: "Make an ark of acacia wood, 2 1/2 cubits long, 1 1/2 cubits wide and 1 1/2 cubits high. Cover it with a layer of pure gold on the inside and outside, and make a gold rim all around its top" (Exod. 25:10). The Talmud explains that the practical...

The Big Picture

A serious change took place with the Jewish people. In Egypt, Moshe had observed that the people he was to lead were a difficult people. He had seen Jews beating each other and informing on each other. He was frustrated by how they didn't get along, and complained...

When Jews Show Passion

Dedicated by the Sitzer family in memory of their grandmother and my great aunt, Chaya Rachel bas Menashe Sitzer a"h (nee Haber) who left this world in 5735 (1975). She arrived in the United States from Europe in 1921 with 3 children (the fourth child was born in...

Clap Your Hands!

Clap Your Hands!

Jewish history has shown two models for leadership. There is the leader who serves as a peacemaker and will negotiate, compromise, and reconcile for peace at any expense. He or she radiates and is driven by chesed and absolutely cannot stand to see another Jew in...

How To Make Synagogues Holy

An American industrialist once came to visit the Chofetz Chaim of blessed memory. The Chofetz Chaim proudly gave the man a personal tour of his Yeshiva and asked him if he too would like to be a partner in the building of Torah. The man looked at the saintly Rabbi. He...

The Pharaoh Syndrome

Regarding the case of the Aguna of Vilna I see you are leaning toward stringency. You feel the woman should not remarry. The reason you are leaning this way is because you are not here. You do not hear the crying of this woman nor do you see her tears. If I would be...

The Nachas Vacuum

The Nachas Vacuum

Moshe was eighty years old. He was commanded to become the leader of the Jewish Nation. G-d determined that he had what it takes to be the greatest Jewish leader of all times. Yet, he insisted on the approval of his older brother Aharon. Let's take a closer look....