The Yehuda-Yehudis dance Chanukah is an exquisite choreography of masculine and feminine energy harmonized into a unique dance of beauty and holiness. Both the laws and the story of Chanukah express the deep, quiet, inner power of the feminine as well as the assertive impact of the masculine. The Greeks forbade the study and practice of the Torah (a primarily male activity) and they also legislated the defilement of Jewish brides by the emperor. The Maccabi brothers, led by the hero of the story, Yehuda, battled the Greeks and the Hellenists to reclaim the social fabric of a ..
The outcomes of our efforts can exceed anything we thought possible How superficial! Would you not be shocked if a rabbinic search committee told you the qualities they were looking for in their next rabbi, in addition to wisdom were physical strength, good looks, wealth, and old age? Well, these are the five leadership qualities enumerated by Chazal(Vayikra Rabbah 26:9) that set the Kohein Gadol (Chief Kohein) apart from his team. Really? How superficial! How limiting! What if there was a really good candidate who was saintly, empathetic and decisive ..
By putting the needs of another before our own, we displace our egos and create space for sanctity to find a home. Vehiskadishtem: Be holy Our national mission, the purpose for which we were taken out of Egypt and made into a nation, is to be holy. The parshas of Tazria-Metzora are sandwiched between two majestic injunctions to become holy: "Vehiskadishtem, vi'hiyissem kedoshim" (Vayikra 11:44) and "Kedoshim tiheyu" (you shall be holy - Vayikra 19.2). When we are holy we 'vibrate' on a Divine wavelength that enables us to resonate with the Divine and to connect ..
Professionals and business people the opportunity to acquire true learning skills and master the technology of Talmudic learning. We need to develop new world-views and imbibe Torah thought and values into the very core of their identities. The disruption of educational methodology Educational method has been disrupted. The way we learn will in the future will not be a linear continuation from the past. The quick, free and global diffusion of information that the Internet provides has revolutionized how young people learn. Students, accessing information on line, no longer need teac..
We run the risk of losing the Halachik soul of our Jewishness even as we become increasingly meticulous in the observance of halachik detail. We need coaches and mentors, leaders who live and act as Jewish princes and princesses, and who have the talent and the courage to teach this to the world. Halacha vs. halacha Yes, halacha (with a small h) omits many important principles. These principles are however included in Halacha (with a capital H). What is the difference between Halacha and halacha? What important practices does halacha leave out of..
Halacha is a discipline of logical, deductive methodology by which we extrapolate G-d's expectations of us in situations not already defined in prior written works. The precision with which we practice this discipline determines the accuracy with which we can know G-d's expectations of us in any given situation. Halacha and History The Torah is a book of halacha (G-d's expectations of His people), not a work of history. As such it ought to have opened with the first formal mitzvah given to the Jewish people in this week's parsha and not with the Creati..
G-d doesn't do miracles to impress or convince us, He performs miracles to communicate with us, and through this communication He sparks our emunah and keeps it glowing. The Conversation Emunah (faith), a property embedded deep in every Jewish soul, does not spontaneously ignite; it needs to be triggered. Conversation with G-d is what triggers faith. When we converse with friends we feel connected to them and we do not need proofs that our connection is real. In just the same way when we are in conversation with G-d we do not need proofs either, we are in a trueem..
Through the practice of Shemita more than through any other mitzvah, we define who we are and what the values are that truly drive our choices. Shemita - core to our world-view The structure of Parshas Behar is symphonic. It is the Parsha's very structure however that raises a crucial question about its opening movement. The answer to this question immutably changes our view of the Shemita Laws, the parsha and the way we, as Jews, see the world. Rashi (Vayikra 25:1) explains why the Parsha opens by referencing Mt. Sinai as the place (and the time) that the laws of the Shemi..