From the Rabbi’s Desk

  • Coming in Threes May 27, 2016
    Recently our family suffered two deaths. Neither passing was tragic. Both individuals were in their nineties and had been in good health almost to the end. However, the one statement ...
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  • Thus Saith the Lord – “I Am Not Your Mother” a Passover Lesson April 22, 2016
    This is the time of year when we teach the story of the Exodus from Egypt to a number of different audiences—children, Jewish adults, non-Jewish adults, teens—in other words, many ...
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  • Being Encrypted – A Most Unusual Feeling April 8, 2016
    There has been a gap in my twice-monthly “Desks”, and I have been asked about the cause. So, for both of you who asked, and everyone else, let me relate ...
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  • Just What Was Esther Thinking? March 11, 2016
    I don’t know whether any of you were ever taught about what is one of the most interesting and perplexing questions in the reading of the Megillah on Purim.  Perhaps ...
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  • It’s Easy, Once You Get Into the Habit February 26, 2016
    I grew up as one of two non-Catholic families in a very Catholic area. Our neighbors had first-born sons who were priests and daughters who were nuns. Phrases such as ...
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  • You – Y’All: It’s All About the Words (Revisited) February 12, 2016
    One of the most often used of Halpern’s Rules is Rule #5: It’s All About the Words. That seems most logical given that, while originally strictly oral in nature, Judaism ...
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  • Conflicts Beneath the Surface January 22, 2016
    It is not uncommon for the most interesting elements of a story in Tanach to be hidden in the words or in the names.  The knowledge we have of the ...
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  • It’s All In The Words January 8, 2016
    Anyone who has ever learned text with me knows that Halpern’s Rule #5 is, “It’s all in the words”. All too often we focus on the general meaning of what ...
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  • The Maccabees: The Force Was With Them December 11, 2015
    For a very long time I have believed that life, the universe, and everything else can be explained by Star Trek and Star Wars. I had assumed that this was ...
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  • Lot: The Chief Rabbi of Sodom November 13, 2015
    Abraham and Lot part ways in a very amicable fashion because they have become so prosperous, they both need room to spread out.  Abraham gives Lot the choice of which ...
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  • Still Here, I Guess October 23, 2015
    For those of you who have not heard, almost three weeks ago (October 5) I was in a rather nasty car accident. According to the Highway Patrol, when I lost ...
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  • No Matter Where We Live, it is Probably Anatevka September 25, 2015
    This is a paraphrase of the introduction I usually give right before the Mi Comocha: “Where ever we live, it is probably Egypt”. That is just one example of an unsustainable ...
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  • See Jonah Run August 28, 2015
    On Yom Kippur we read the Book of Jonah, a text that is simultaneously incredibly simple and incredibly complex.  Perhaps that is why Jonah and Yom Kippur fit so well ...
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  • Moses and My Mother August 14, 2015
    In all my years in school, fully a period of decades, I had one homework assignment that was so unique and so pleasurable, I will never forget it. Nearly forty ...
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  • The Thought Really Does Not Count July 24, 2015
    While waiting in the airport recently, I had the distinct pleasure of overhearing an argument that I wish had been carried out in some other city.  Two sisters (I presume) ...
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