Jewish Rituals

Shemini: What "Keeping Kosher" Really Means.

Watch on You Tube This week’s Torah portion, Shemini, the third in the book of Leviticus, contains many of the laws of kashrut – kosher eating.   Many Jews think of kashrut only in terms of rules regarding foods that c... Continue Reading »

Matzah Ethics

Watch on YouTube   We’ve eaten matzah during this Passover week because the Torah/G-d requires it and forbids chametz (leavened bread).  As my nine-year old grandson proudly told us during our family seder, the tr... Continue Reading »

Judaism's "Picayune Rules"

Watch on You Tube This week, we begin reading the third book of Torah, Yayikra, or Leviticus.  One of the frequent criticisms of Judaism by non-Jews, and of Orthodox Judaism by non-Orthodox Jews, is that Judaism (or Orthodox Judaism, or “... Continue Reading »

Vaiyetzei: How to Bargain with G-d

Is it okay to try to bargain with G-d for what we want, and if so, what's the most likely effective method? In this week’s Parashah, Vayeitzei, Jacob flees from his brother Esau after receiving their father’s blessing through trickery.   J... Continue Reading »

Ki Teizei: Human Nature is Not a Croc

In Kenya last month, I watched several hundred migrating wildebeest and zebra cross a river. The animals gathered on the bank and milled around nervously until one literally “took the plunge.” The others followed in a mad dash for the rocky slope on ... Continue Reading »

Devarim: Did You Ask the Boss?

Asking G-d for help with difficult decisions or actions (even though actually an integral part of many prayers) is something that many of us associate more with “Twelve Step” programs, or with “fundamentalist” adherents of other religions, than with ... Continue Reading »

Balak: The Satan Within Us

Do Jews believe in Satan?  For many of us, “Of course not!” is the likely answer.  Indeed, the question itself may seem entirely non-Jewish.   Except that this week’s Torah portion (Balak) states:  “The angel of the Lord pl... Continue Reading »

Bamidbar: Torah Study Not Required?

Surprisingly, the Torah does not explicitly command us to study Torah!  The King of Israel was required to write for himself two copies and read one his entire life. (Deut. 17:19).  Moses decreed that a copy be placed aside the Ark of the ... 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 »

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 »
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If charity cost nothing, the world would be full of philanthropists.
Jewish Proverb