The Blessing Hidden Behind the Curse – Parshat Ki Tavo 2018

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin is one of the most prominent Modern Orthodox rabbis in the world. He was a student of Rav Soloveitchik, served as the first rabbi of Lincoln Square Synagogue in New York, and co-led the movement to free Soviet Jewry. After making עליה in 1983, he co-founded a number of key Modern Orthodox institutions and … Continue reading The Blessing Hidden Behind the Curse – Parshat Ki Tavo 2018

Advertisements

Bathrooms, Human Instinct, Sanctity, and Abuse – Parshat Ki Teitzei 2018

The construction of the new Kadimah shul building has enabled me to delve into many areas of הלכה, of Jewish law, that I never could have predicted looking into. The list includes the laws of building a מעקה, a parapet for a roof, which we read about this morning, the laws of גרמא, or indirect violation … Continue reading Bathrooms, Human Instinct, Sanctity, and Abuse – Parshat Ki Teitzei 2018

The End of Innocence – Parshat Shoftim 2018

When I was three years old, since I was already familiar with the story, my grandmother asked me if I wanted to see a movie about the Jewish People leaving Egypt. I enthusiastically agreed and she showed me the 1956 Cecile B. DeMille film epic, The Ten Commandments. For four hours, I sat mesmerized as I watched … Continue reading The End of Innocence – Parshat Shoftim 2018

Safe at Home – Parshat Re’eh 2018

Growing up in New York accustomed me to consider certain precautions necessary, certain fears justified. Children below a certain age can never play outside alone, even in the suburbs. The door must always be locked when you’re home and alarmed or double-locked when you’re away. My father taught me never to leave anything in the car that I … Continue reading Safe at Home – Parshat Re’eh 2018

The Deeper Love of Parenthood – Parshat Eikev 2018

Facebook has been in the news recently because lack of data security and the manipulation of its platform to sway elections. But when I was teaching in New York, a fellow teacher, about a decade older than me, had a very different concern about social media. At the age of 24, most of my friends were busy … Continue reading The Deeper Love of Parenthood – Parshat Eikev 2018

Morality and the Line of the Law – Parshat Va’etchanan 2018

A few years ago, I walked out of a dry-cleaning store, took out my keys, and headed back to my car. But as I shifted things in my hands, I lost my grip on my car keys and dropped them on the ground. Unfortunately, however, I couldn’t just pick them back up – they rolled into a … Continue reading Morality and the Line of the Law – Parshat Va’etchanan 2018

Making Space for Non-Conformity – Parshat Matot-Masei 2018

When I was in first grade, my Chumash teacher, an enthusiastic, talented rabbi, wanted to discourage my class from watching television and established what he called, “The TV Turnoff Club.” For every day that a student would bring in a note from their parents saying that they had not watched TV the previous evening, they would … Continue reading Making Space for Non-Conformity – Parshat Matot-Masei 2018