True Victory – Hol HaMo’ed Sukkot 5782

The midrash (Pesiqta d’Rav Kahana, ed. Mandelbaum, Vol. II, p. 406) identifies seven specific commandments related to the celebration of Sukkot: the taking of the lulav, etrog, myrtles, and willows, the building of the sukkah, and the joyful celebration of the...

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Postcards From the Edge – Shavu’ot 5780

For seven years, the Olson family of Turtle Lake, North Dakota (population 581) received postcards from ‘Jim.’ About three times a year ‘Jim’ sent brief messages describing his adventures. One card showed a picture of the Eiffel Tower with the words: “Was in Paris and...

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Making Years Count – VaYehi 5780

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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The Scandal of Hatred – Toldot 5780

The Torah reports how upset Esav was about the blessing he received. Yet it is hard to fathom why. After all, Isaac tells him that he will be rich beyond his imagination (Gen 27:39) and he will be doing the work he loves and at which he excels (v.40). All of this does...

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Tzav 5777 Shabbat HaGadol

In his classic two-volume study of ancient Israel, Roland de Vaux, noted archaeologist and Biblical scholar, proposes a theory of sacrifice in his analysis of Israel’s religious institutions. His theory consists of three main ideas. These ideas have impacted...

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From Passover to Shavu’ot

From time to time I am asked by couples to officiate at a wedding scheduled during the intermediate days of Passover.  I explain that the Jewish tradition, as a rule, insists that joyous occasions not overlap.  Since Passover itself is a joyous occasion,...

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It’s A Matter Of Principle

In 1996, the Seattle Mariners drafted pitcher Gil Meche as their number one choice in the amateur draft. Injuries prevented him from reaching his full potential. His best year in major league baseball was 2003 when he won fifteen games and was voted the Come-back...

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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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