Pesach: Have You Left Egypt?
“In each and every generation, one must see oneself as if they had left Egypt”. In Judaism, we not only commemorate the past, we attempt to experience it, even to re-live it. Why else do we actually have to eat matzah and maror at Pesach, dwell in some flimsy booths each fall, or sit on the floor on Tisha B’Av lamenting the loss of a Temple some 2,000 years ago? Yet thankfully, for most Jews today, it is...Continue Reading »
Chulin 139: Where is Moshe?
“Where is Moshe [mentioned] in the Torah?” It is hard to imagine a more—let's be gentle here—superfluous question. A better question would be where isn’t Moshe mentioned in the Torah. Who knows if without Moshe there would even be a Torah. Perhaps the only question that can match it in incomprehensibility is asking where Haman, Esther and Mordechai are mentioned in the Torah. Considering they lived some 1,...Continue Reading »
Metzora: Covering the Lips
Judaism teaches that everything has the potential for holiness; after all everything in this world was created by G-d. But it is up to man to actualize that potential and imbue the world with holiness. Eating, marital relations, and earning a livelihood are not only a means to an end, but if done properly are acts that are instinctively holy and the fulfilment of a divine mitzvah. The physical and spiritual worlds are not meant to be in conflict...Continue Reading »
Chulin 109: Can I Have Some Udder Please
When I ask ba’alei teshuva what the hardest thing for them to give up is, the most common response I receive is "lobster". This should come as no surprise. Our Sages recognized that having enjoyed the taste of “forbidden fruit”, it is most difficult to give it up, and those who do so are greater than those who never tasted that forbidden fruit: “In the place where penitents...Continue Reading »
Tazria and Hachodesh: Home Building
The first of Nissan and the first of Tishrei mark the beginnings of the Jewish year. The solar aspect of our calendar—representing the fixed laws of nature—begins in Tishrei; whereas the lunar cycle—symbolizing the ups and down of Jewish history—begins on the first of Nissan. The solar year mirrors the agricultural cycle and begins as the rainy season approaches, whereas the lunar year, reflecting the supernatural...Continue Reading »