Chayei Sara 5773: The Six Factors of Enduring Love

by in Chayei Sarah .

When these six factors are in place, a man cannot help but fall in love and stay in love with his wife; a love that is deep, profound and able to heal even the most savage of wounds. Healing grief Any significant loss causes grief and needs healing. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, in her 1969 book, The Five Stages of Grief, outlines the process of healing and suggests its five steps: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. She does not deal with the way people of strong faith manage loss and how they can often accelerate the process or omit some of its steps, at time..


Parshat Noach 5768: The Shawl and the Tallit

by in Noach .

This, the second in the series of essays on relationships, focuses not on man-woman relationships, but on the deep and unique relationship between a father and son. We will see how differently three men view fatherhood, how that was affected by their world views, and specifically the way they each experience beauty. Three World Views Noach's three sons' different world-views affected their views of fatherhood too.[1] We see those different views play out in the scene of Noach's degrading fit of drunkenness. Cham mocks his father, harasses him and abuses him. Shem and Yeffet cover ..


Purim 5769: The Spark Between The Poles

by in Purim .

Should Women Read the Megilah? Gaps between the roles and competencies of modern men and women have narrowed. There are not that many areas in which, as a generalization, one gender consistently outperforms the other. Still, there is a yin/yang kind of polarity between masculinity and femininity that we lose at our peril. Masculine and feminine polarity creates energy like the electricity created by the polarity of positive and negative. There can be comfort without polarity, but not energy. Masculine-feminine polarity generates the balance of universal energy, it underpins kedu..


Parshat Mishpatim 5769: I Am My Own Boss…Or Am I?

by in Mishpatim .

Who Owns Me? Mishpatim is a concise compendium of the laws that govern our relationships with the things that we and others own. It begins by defining ownership of that which is closest to us: our own bodies. We might have assumed that of all the things in the world, the things over which we have the most unassailable rights are our own bodies. This is not so. We in fact do not own our bodies at all, and therefore neither we nor a Beit Din (a court of Law), can sell ourselves as slaves. We are owners of our labor and can trade in our own labor, but we do not own our bodi..


Parshat Vayeshev 5769: IS THAT FAMILY?

by in Vayeshev .

Last week I extolled the virtues of family. The tale in this week's Parsha of familial brutality shocks us to the bone. Yoseif's brothers act on their hatred of him and callously plot Yoseif's murder. Only Yehuda's intervention saves him from murder and relegates him to a fate not much better: slavery in Egypt. Their actions toward Yoseif seem brutal; their disregard for their fathers devastation reveals an unimaginable lack of compassion.[1] Is thatJewish family? No, that is not family. Family, as we said in last week's essay, stand by one another almost unconditionally, they d..


Rosh Hashanah thoughts from Rabbi Lapin (5769)

by in Rosh Hashana .

  Dear Friend I do not use the word "Friend" trivially. I feel so close to you even though in many cases our contact is merely digital. For some time now you have been reading and learning some of my innermost thoughts and ideas; this brings people closer. I feel comfortable sharing them with you in ways that friends share thoughts and ideas. I have also had some two-way communication with many of you and that has been very meaningful to me. Often without knowing it, you stimulate my thinking and facilitate new ideas as I imagine you on the receiving end of a shiur or essay. Thank..


Erev Pesach 5769: Birkat Hachama

by in Pesach .

Much has been said and written this year about the once-in-twenty-eight-year phenomenon of Birkat Hachamathis Wednesday. There are many dimensions to it: halachik, philosophic, kabbalistic and astronomical. Birkat Hachama is recited on the day that the sun, at sunset, is positioned against the same constellations on a Tuesday evening as it was on the Tuesday evening on which it was created 5770 years ago. This is one of the few occasions in our calendar governed by solar rather than lunar cycles (the other being the day we start to recite “vetein tal umattar”..


Parshat Vayetze 5769: Image and Identity - Part 2

by in Vayetze .

"One who knows himself knows Hashem, and one who does not know himself, how could he know Hashem?[1]   Journey with me   "One cannot know Hashem if he does not know his inner-self, his soul and his body. For what could one who does not know the essence of his inner-self want with wisdom?" - Ibn Ezra Shemot 31:18 The journey to self-discovery is a journey to wisdom. Without self-knowledge, Torah is a collection of facts and rules whereas it should be so much more than that. Torah should integrate every facet of life into a single, coherent worldview. It is such a worl..


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