Jewish Rituals

Va'era: Greatness Through 'Grateness'

Make new friends!  Increase your influence!  Be more successful!  Make more money!  Be healthier!  Live happier!   These sound like claims from a daytime TV commercial, a promotional video, a new mood-enhancing drug a... Continue Reading »

Vayeira: Avoid the Evil Eye, Keyanhora!

I know what the expression “she’s giving me the evil eye” means in ordinary English expression – an angry or “dirty” look, as if intended to do harm.I have a general impression of what the phrase “ayin ha&rsq... Continue Reading »

Ki Tetze: Confessions of an Unrepentant Sinner

The “Ten Days of Repentance” ("High Holy Days") are rapidly approaching, but I already know that they offer me less than complete repentance for my sins.I know this because I am, and will remain for the rest of my life, an unrepentant sinner. I know ... Continue Reading »

Tisha B'Av Observance? Learn and Decide!

Tisha B'Av Observance?  Learn and Decide!
Tisha B’Av (Ninth Day of the Month of Av) – the culmination of the "three weeks" and the saddest day of the Jewish year -- commemorates numerous tragedies in Jewish history.  It occurs this year on July 25th.... Continue Reading »

Sh'lah-L'kha: Avoiding "The Jewish Disease"

Sh'lah-L'kha: Avoiding "The Jewish Disease"
“The Jewish Disease” label has been applied to a variety of aliments at various times in our history.  To name just a few, Tay-Sachs and Crohn's (by geneticists), diabetes (by physicians), mental illness (by psychologists), and s... Continue Reading »

Shavuot: Learn, Baby, Learn!

Shavuot: Learn, Baby, Learn!
Poor Shavuot!  It is surely the “Rodney Dangerfield” of major Jewish holidays. Yes, of major Jewish holidays. The Torah commands us to celebrate three pilgrimage festivals; Pesach, Sukkot, and Shavuot.  But Shavuot gets short... Continue Reading »

Be-Hukkotai: A helpful reminder.

Be-Hukkotai: A helpful reminder.
A few blessings, but many curses.  That’s the count in this week’s Torah portion, Be-Hukkotai (combined with Behar outside Israel). And that’s how our lives sometimes – perhaps often – seem.  Especially... Continue Reading »

Responsibility -- A True Story

Responsibility -- A True Story
“All Jews are Responsible For One Another” (Talmud, Shevuot 39a)  “Adoni, atah yachol l’azor li?”  (Sir, can you help me?”) There was no one else around, so he must be talking to me.   I tur... Continue Reading »

Pinchas: The Most Important Verse in Torah

Pinchas: The Most Important Verse in Torah
Given on the occasion of the Inaugural Weekday Morning Minyan Service at: Temple Beth Tikvah, Fullerton, CA July 7, 2014; 9 Tammuz 5774 Which is the most important verse in Torah?  You might choose “Hear, O Israel, the Lord Our G-d,... Continue Reading »

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 »
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He who guards his mouth preserves his life
Proverbs 13:3