Who Has Lived? – Va-yehi 5781

Often the difference between great writing and good writing is word choice. Using just the right word can make the ordinary extraordinary. Harold Evans, in his latest book, Do I Make Myself Clear? describes how Franklin Delano Roosevelt agonized over each and every...

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Reciprocal Kindness – Mikketz 5781

A very cunning Joseph devises a plan that will result in bringing his younger brother and his aging father to Egypt. The first part of his plan is to plant a valuable object in the saddlebags of one of the brothers and then charge them with being thieves. Though the...

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A Proud Name – Va-yishlah 5781

Names are identifiers. Concealing a name gains a measure of security. Revealing a name is a measure of pride. Two stories illustrate this point: one from Greek mythology and one from the Torah.   In need of resupply for their continuing voyage, Odysseus convinces...

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Civility – Hayye Sarah 5781

As much as Rabbi Naftali Zvi Yehudah Berlin of Volozhin (1816-1893) was ensconced in what today would be called the Orthodox movement in Judaism, he was no obscurantist. In fact, his popular commentaries feature the application of scientific study to Jewish texts,...

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Say Little, Do Much – Va-yera 5681

Politicians are big talkers, making many grandiose promises often with neither the intent nor the ability to fulfill them. Though politicians are the most egregious examples of “big talkers,” they are surely not the only ones. Athletes speak about the victories they...

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Words to Live By

What lies behind you and what lies ahead of you pales in comparison to what lies inside you.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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