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Suffering Traumatic Loss – Parshat Shemini

This is one of the most difficult topics we deal with in life. To start with, how we define traumatic loss is difficult. How we define loss is difficult and even how we define suffering is difficult. As a matter of fact, the word to suffer even has a dual meaning. In my Funk&Wagnall's dictionary that I received for my Bar Mitzva (yes, I still have it) among the definitions of the word suffer are 1. To feel pain or distress, and  2. To bear or … [Read more...]

Non-Uniform Uniforms- Parshat Tzav/Purim  

All over the world, people wear uniforms. Police, lawyers, nurses, doctors, athletes, fire fighters, soldiers, judges, and many, many more. Even on Purim, people wear uniforms. Albeit someone else's uniform, but still a uniform. Even Mordechai was to be dressed in the kingly uniform while being paraded through town.There are many, many reasons given for the need to wear uniforms and for why wearing uniforms help. I will highlight just one point - … [Read more...]

Mixing Fires – Parshat Vayikra

Mixing Fires - Parshat Vayikra   There are sometimes we face a situation which we know little about and yet are expected to have something intelligent to say about it. In dealing with the concept of sacrifices, which in itself is quite foreign to us in the 21st century, I am challenged to try to get an understanding of the basic concept as well as the ceremony surrounding it. One of those details of the ceremony mentioned in this … [Read more...]

Little and Big – Parshat Pekudei

Little and Big - Parshat  Pekudei In preparation for any special event, there are many things that need to get done. It doesn’t matter so much who actually does them. They need to get done. After the event, there are many people to thank. We often succeed in remembering those who helped with the little things as much as those who helped with the big things or even the professionals who did their job. The little things are also important. In … [Read more...]

How Many Times Have I Told You – Parshat Vayakhel

How Many Times Have I Told You - Parshat Vayakhel How many times have we said: "How many times have I told you?"1 Just think for a moment. No one really likes to repeat themselves. As parents, we don’t like to repeat admonishments. Kids don’t like hearing them anyway. As bosses or underlings we hate having to repeat ourselves. Part of that is due to a true sense of our own importance - we don’t wish that our efforts go wasted. Yet we repeat … [Read more...]

An Attitude Problem – Parshat Ki Tissa

An Attitude Problem - Parshat Ki Tissa Throughout the world, we find criminal courts making decisions based on the action that was done as well as the motivation and intent. The action alone does not determine a person's guilt. After all, we, too, make mistakes and do wrong things even though when we were doing it we may have even believed it was the proper thing to do.  We can even say that the exact same action will be judged differently based … [Read more...]

The Beauty and the Priest – Parshat Tetzaveh

It's sometimes hard enough to understand one concept. It can be even harder to understand two concepts simultaneously. It will be even harder if those two concepts are intertwined. That is what's happening to me with last week's parsha and continuing in this week's parsha, Parshat Tetzaveh. I am as fascinated with God's attention to detail in the building of the Mishkan in last week's parsha as I am with the detail in the preparation of the … [Read more...]

A Real Uprising – Parshat Terumah

In preparing a blog, I spend time looking at the parsha and try to uncover a thought which would have meaning for me on a personal level as well as for the loyal weekly readers (This column is approaching 10,000 reads since its inception last year on parshat Noach). I have spent time since the beginning of the week finding an appropriate topic for this week's parsha, Parshat Terumah as well. i finally found something to address yesterday and … [Read more...]

If I Were a Poor Man…. – Parshat Mishpatim

There is a famous saying that a society is judged by how it treats its weakest members. This quote or variations of it have been attributed to Gandhi, Samuel Johnson and even as far back as Aristotle. We all know of the concept of giving charity. It is a worldwide concept and is practiced in some form by all cultures. Yet the Torah teaches us that it is not only important to give charity, it is also important how we give the charity. In … [Read more...]

If I Were a Poor Man…. – Parshat Mishpatim

There is a famous saying that a society is judged by how it treats its weakest members. This quote or variations of it have been attributed to Gandhi, Samuel Johnson and even as far back as Aristotle. We all know of the concept of giving charity. It is a worldwide concept and is practiced in some form by all cultures. Yet the Torah teaches us that it is not only important give charity, it is also important how we give the charity. In this … [Read more...]