Pesah 5783

Each year rabbis are faced with Passover questions revolving around food products that were virtually unknown to earlier authorities. Rather than peremptorily forbid the product in question – a response that is easy – rabbis with integrity engage in research and...

read more

No Slaves to Wealth – Sukkot 5783

Since its inception, Christianity included a significant stream of asceticism. John the Baptist is portrayed as a kind of hermit, content to live the life of a penniless vagabond. The Jesus of the Gospels does not exactly repudiate wealth, but neither does he promote...

read more

Actions Over Words- Passover 5782

In its discussion about preparing for Passover, the Talmud (Pesahim 4b) concludes that according to the Torah a verbal renunciation of all leaven in a Jew’s possession is all that is required in order to fulfill the Scriptural requirement to destroy all hametz....

read more

Enlarging the Story – Pesah 5781

The Passover Haggadah assures us that “all who enlarge upon the telling of the exodus from Egypt is praiseworthy.” But how one “enlarges” upon the story is unspecified. An early Midrash (Mekhilta, Bo, end) reports that Rabbi Eliezer ruled that a company of scholars...

read more

Strange Lyrics – Sukkot 5781

The Mishnah (Sukkah 50b-51a) describes the festivities associated with the Water Libation Festival as a unique and unforgettable celebration. The most pious of celebrants would dance with torches and the Tosefta, cited by the Talmud (Sukkah 53a), details the words of...

read more


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

Rabbi Allen on Twitter