Jewish Rituals

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 »

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 »

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 »

Terumah: Paying our "voluntary" dues

Terumah: Paying our "voluntary" dues
When I became bar mitzvah in the Fall of 1968, my father, z”l, had recently completed two terms as President of the local synagogue.  That must be why my speech was about the "ten percent tithe."  Donations wouldn&rsquo... Continue Reading »

Mishpatim: It's "That Time of Month."

Mishpatim: It's "That Time of Month."
This Shabbat, Mishpatim, is also “Shabbat Mevarechim” -- the Shabbat on which “we bless.”    What do we bless (or sanctify)?  The new month that begins during the coming week.  In this case, the mon... Continue Reading »

Sh'mot: No Harm, No Foul

Sh'mot: No Harm, No Foul
When Moses approaches the burning bush, G-d instructs him to remove his sandals because he stands upon “holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5).  But G-d doesn’t explain why Moses shouldn’t wear sandals upon holy ground.  Why not... Continue Reading »
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He who guards his mouth preserves his life
Proverbs 13:3