Back to the Beginning

Back to the Beginning

When I finish a book, I most often have little desire to read it again. I even feel somewhat relieved that I’ve made it through the few hundred pages, even if I enjoyed the journey. It is rare to find a book so rich with ideas or intriguing characters that I...
Real Joy and Plastic Frogs

Real Joy and Plastic Frogs

The Siddur describes the holiday of Sukkos as “Our time of happiness.” After the intense and cleansing High Holy Days, we can now rejoice with our Creator, celebrating our renewed relationship. Also, if we consider the agricultural cycle in Israel (or most...
A Closer Look

A Closer Look

We are now in the middle of the Ten Days of Repentance, culminating with the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. Rosh Hashanah, which just passed, was the Day of Judgment for the new year. Many have asked a simple, yet compelling question: why shouldn’t we first have...
The Counsel of My Heart

The Counsel of My Heart

Our reading this week contains an extraordinary passage, one which is very relevant for the upcoming High Holy Days. Moshe gathers the Nation of Israel together, and describes to them a truly unforgivable sin. It is so terrible that “Hashem will not be willing...
That First Time

That First Time

The first Mitzvah found in this week’s Torah portion is the obligation to bring the first fruits to the Temple in Jerusalem. At the end of this passage, Moshe (Moses) says “Today, G-d, your Master, has commanded you to carry out these statutes and the...
Looking Down the Road

Looking Down the Road

In this week’s reading, Rashi, Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, tells us to what extent the Torah demands an elevated standard of conduct. He warns us that even if we follow the letter of the law, but try to push the envelope — doing what we can get away with rather than...