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Enchantment, the Talmud and Memory

When I was a teenager, I loved going to Rabbi Wallin’s Tuesday evening Talmud class. I can’t tell you anything that I learned all those years ago, but I fell in love with Talmud,...

Hayom Harat Olam, the Birth-day of the World

After each of the sets of shofar blasts in our upcoming Musaf service, we’ll proclaim, Hayom Harat Olam! “Today is the birthday of the world.” It’s a very curious phrase, and the literal translation...

Leveling the Playing Field

This week’s Torah reading, Re’eh, presents an interesting progression of commandments regarding caring for the less fortunate in our communities and society. First we’re told, in Chapter 15 verses 4 and 5, “There shall...

Tisha B’Av – Beyond the Temple

Yesterday, on Tisha B’Av, the organization “Bend The Arc” held a gathering on the steps of the Nassau County Legislature building in Mineola to request that Nassau County stop cooperating with ICE. Tisha B’Av...

Abraham, Balaam and Blessings

In this week’s parashah we read about the pagan prophet Balaam, who is famous more for his talking donkey than for himself. The Cliff Notes version of the story is that Balak, the king...

Silence, Grief and Water

In this week’s Torah reading, Hukkat, both Miriam and Aaron die, and Moses learns that he won’t be the one to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. The people are in the 39th...

Korach, When Despair Leads to Disaster

I have always seen Korach, the character for whom this week’s Torah reading is named, as an example of how not to behave. That hasn’t changed, but as I began reading the parashah again,...