Thank G-d!

Upon the birth of her fourth child, Jacob’s wife Leah proclaimed, “This time I thank G-d - Odeh es Hashem.” She gave her son a name derived from "Odeh," thanks: Yehudah, or Judah. The Sages of the Talmud comment that this is the first time in Biblical history someone...

A Healthy Transmission

The Torah spends a great deal of time discussing the life of our forefather Avraham, and that of Yaakov. By comparison, Yitzchak receives relatively short shrift. The offering of Yitzchak as a Korban, a sacrifice, is primarily told as a test of his father. It is...

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The Search for Unity

Readers know that I have written about anti-Semitism for a long time. Our hearts reel at its manifestation in a Pittsburgh synagogue last Shabbos morning. The Medrash says that Sarah passed away when she believed that her son Yitzchak had indeed died at HaShem's...

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Against the Grain

The Sages of the Talmud say that there were 10 times that Abraham's faith in G-d was tested, and he succeeded each time. The final test was to follow the command to slaughter his son Isaac, and offer him as a sacrifice. Although Isaac was the child for whom he and his...

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The Stubborn Independent

Are the values and opinions we hold dear really our own? We all take pride in thinking for ourselves, but are not many (all?) of our personal positions an echo of the culture we were raised in, or drawn from the last social media posting we read? From the shop of...

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Be Creative

In the beginning G-d created the Heavens and the Earth... The High Holiday prayer books have been shelved, the Sukkah is stored away (or at least that's the plan), and we start reading the Torah again from the beginning. The custom of restarting the Torah readings at...

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Sukkos in the Rain

We've all become amateur meteorologists. In the northeastern United States the weather during the past week has ranged from cloudy to fog to rain, with rain having more than a fair share. Under normal circumstances, we would stay inside under shingled roofs, and take...

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