Torah Commentary

B'reshit: The Jewish Guide to Investing

B'reshit: The Jewish Guide to Investing
“Now is the time for turning.” “Let us declare the power of this day; it is filled with dread and awe.” “Who shall live and who shall die.” “Man is like a breath, his days are as a passing shadow.”... Continue Reading »
Sep 27

Sukkot: Your contribution to Jewish continuity.

Sukkot: Your contribution to Jewish continuity.
As we assembled our arba minim (four species) to waive the lulav and etrog in six directions, the rabbi said: “If I weren’t Jewish, I would think this is a crazy ritual.  But the more things Jews do that are different from non-J... Continue Reading »

Yom Kippur: Oh, Happy Day!

Is Yom Kippur a solemn day, or a happy one?  It may seem a strange question.  Yom Kippur is the ultimate day of Jewish prayer, humility, repentance, and self-denial, including fasting.  How, therefore, can it be “happy?” &n... Continue Reading »

Ha'azinu: Who are we? Q&As About Jews and Judaism

As I noted last week, I am again conducting High Holiday services aboard a cruise ship in Europe.  The ports are beautiful.  Yet, as Barbara and I walk the streets and admire the architecture – especially the magnificent churches and ... Continue Reading »

Nitzavim-Vayelech: The Choice is Yours.

Nitzavim-Vayelech: The Choice is Yours.
This High-Holiday season, I will again, B”H, have the opportunity to lead services aboard a cruise-ship. (Where better to practice self-denial/to “afflict my soul” by fasting?)   The cruise line’s “Instructions t... Continue Reading »

Ki Tavo: "Altaring" our habits

Ki Tavo: "Altaring" our habits
I read recently that the number of calories we eat is determined more by habit than hunger.  To lose weight, therefore, it’s vital to create healthier “automatic” eating habits (e.g., use smaller plates, eat with the non-domina... Continue Reading »

Re'eh: Fame! Remember My Name (for a blessing)!

Re'eh: Fame! Remember My Name (for a blessing)!
Why do we bury damaged or illegible Torah scrolls and prayerbooks?  And why is there a Jewish tradition of not writing out the word “G-d?”  Both practices derive from this week’s Torah portion, Re’eh.  In it, Mo... Continue Reading »

Ekev: Ask not what religion can do for you…

Ekev: Ask not what religion can do for you…
On your next visit to the mall, notice the advertising’s dominant theme: “Our product/service is all about you!”   Apparently, narcissism sells even better than sex appeal.  Presumably, advertisers are playing to a fund... Continue Reading »
Jul 26

Va-ethannan: The "Jewish Faith."

Va-ethannan: The "Jewish Faith."
Do you have faith in G-d above if the Bible tells you so?   American songwriter Don MacLean posed this question in his 1971 rock music ballad “American Pie.”   For many, perhaps most, Jews, this question does not resonate ... Continue Reading »

Matot-Massei: Prayer as Refuge, Cities of Shema

Matot-Massei: Prayer as Refuge, Cities of Shema
This week’s Torah portion mandates the establishment of cities of refuge for accidental killers: Among the cities you shall give to the Levites, shall be six cities of refuge, which you shall provide [as places] to which a manslayer can flee... Continue Reading »
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He who guards his mouth preserves his life
Proverbs 13:3