Torah Commentary

Dvar Torah: Bamidbar: Keeping Our Status Symbols

When I was a boy, my uncle summarized his philosophy for getting along in life:  “One hand washes the other,” he taught me. He wasn’t referring to personal hygiene, but giving and getting help, doing and receiving favors, etc. ... Continue Reading »

Bechukotai: My Covenant with Fannie of Berdichev, z”l

Bechukotai: My Covenant with Fannie of Berdichev, z”l
... and I will remember My covenant [with] Jacob, and also My covenant [with] Isaac, and also My covenant [with] Abraham I will remember. And I will remember the Land,  (Leviticus 26:42) Do you know the names of your great-grandparents?  ... Continue Reading »

Behar: The "Torah" -- not "Taco" -- Liberty Bell

Behar: The "Torah" -- not "Taco" -- Liberty Bell
One of the most popular parks in Jerusalem is Gan Pa’amon HaDror – Liberty Bell Park.  It's so named because of its replica of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.  Indeed, Liberty Bell Park was inaugurated in 1976 to hono... Continue Reading »

Mi’yom l’yom: A Holocaust-Independence Day “Connection”?

Mi’yom l’yom: A Holocaust-Independence Day “Connection”?
As the current eight-day interval between Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) and Yom Ha’azmaut (Israeli Independence Day) began earlier this week, I found myself pondering the validity and, if valid, the meaning of the following “sim... Continue Reading »

Kiddushim: Israel and our "Just Deser-vts"

Four floors below my Ben Yehuda Street window, Israelis and tourists are enjoying loud music, street performers, window shopping, felafel and hummus on pita, and otherwise having an enjoyable stroll.  I'm happy for them -- albeit I'm not... Continue Reading »

Pesach: Putting the Exodus on Trial

Pesach: Putting the Exodus on Trial
Lawyers will tell you that cases are often won or lost depending on which evidentiary standard, or “burden of proof,” applies.    In American criminal trials, the prosecutor must prove the accused guilty “beyond a reaso... Continue Reading »

Shemini: Ted Talks Down to Religion

Shemini: Ted Talks Down to Religion
While driving around town lately, I’ve been listening to short “Ted Talks.” (https://www.ted.com).  These are short lectures by philosophers, scientists, academics, business leaders, inventors -- anyone with a grand (and p... Continue Reading »
Mar 21

Vayikra: Please don't pass (on) the salt.

Vayikra: Please don't pass (on) the salt.
Why do we sprinkle salt on the challah when we say motzi? According to this week’s Torah portion, Vayikra, the first in the book of Torah by the same name (in English, Leviticus), no meal offering could be brought to G-d without salt. (... Continue Reading »

Pekudei: Bringing home the bacon Gold Medal.

Pekudei: Bringing home the bacon Gold Medal.
I don’t remember where I got the notion that Olympic Gold Medalist Sage Kotsenburg is Jewish. I think it was an item in the Jerusalem Post or Times of Israel, but I can’t now find it.  Whatever the source, I felt a small burs... Continue Reading »
Feb 28

Vayakhel: Kindleh, baby, kindleh!

Vayakhel: Kindleh, baby, kindleh!
Each Erev Shabbat, Jewish women around the world light candles and recite the following blessing (in Hebrew): “You are Blessed, Adonai our G-d, Sovereign of the Universe, Who has Sanctified Us with His Commandments, and Commanded Us to Kindle t... Continue Reading »
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If charity cost nothing, the world would be full of philanthropists.
Jewish Proverb