Behar: People Are Astounded by What's in This Dvar Torah!

“Puffing” refers to advertising and other selling activities that exaggerate the quality or benefit of goods or services.  Under American law, puffing is legal, so long as it can be reasonably construed as a matter of opinion.  But Judaism... Continue Reading »

Emor: Would You Wear a Yarmulke in Public?

I read with interest this week’s Reform Movement “Ten Minutes of Torah,” entitled, “How to Decide About Wearing a Yarmulke.”  The article, written by Rabbi P. J. Schwartz, appears to refer to wearing a yarmulke in public.    I gr... Continue Reading »

Important Lessons of the Touro Synagogue

This week, I depart from discussing the weekly Torah portion in order to share some thoughts on our history as American Jews.  This departure is prompted by my recent visits to Recife, Brazil and to synagogues in Barbados and Newport, Rhode Isla... Continue Reading »

Tazria-Metzora: A Plague Upon You!

One of my favorite Talmudic maxims is: “[G-d] created the Evil Inclination, and the Torah as its antidote.” (Kiddushin 30b).  I like it for two reasons.  First, it makes Torah, Judaism, and G-d relevant to every moment of our lives. ... Continue Reading »

Shemini: Storks Play Favorites!

Do storks play favorites when they deliver babies? The stork (Hebrew: חסידה Chasidah) is included in this week’s Torah portion, Shemini, among birds Jews are forbidden to eat.  (Leviticus 11:13, 19).  According to the Ramban (Nachmanides... Continue Reading »

Dvar Torah Shabbat Pesach: Does Yichus Matter?

Does he/she come from a good family? That’s a common question parents and grandparents ask about any perspective (grand)son- or (grand)daughter-in-law.  After all, as the adage goes, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”  Moreov... Continue Reading »

Vayakhal-Pekudei: Don't Stop Me If You've Heard This One.

When we don’t need more of something, it’s natural to tell someone who brings more,  “Thanks, but I have enough.”  After all, wouldn’t it be wrong to mislead someone who thinks their gift is needed when it is not, and they could keep, retur... Continue Reading »

Ki Tissa: The Calm During The Storm

Which are the best ways to calm a very angry person who threatens to do something rash?  This week’s Torah portion, Ki Tissa (Exodus 30:11-34:35), provides practical advice through example.  When the Israelites built a golden calf and wor... Continue Reading »

Hukkat: What Have You Done for Me Lately?

What happened yesterday about which you still feel grateful today?   How about the day-before-yesterday?  Last week? Last month? Last year?  It’s hard, and maybe impossible, to feel grateful for benefits received that we no longer re... Continue Reading »

Shelach-Lecha: When to Be Underhanded

When the spies Moses sent to Canaan returned with their report, ten of the twelve advised the Israelites not to even try to advance against the Anakites.  “We looked like grasshoppers to ourselves, and so we must have looked to them.”  (Num... Continue Reading »
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If charity cost nothing, the world would be full of philanthropists.
Jewish Proverb