The Very Different Journeys of Columbus and Avraham – Parshat Lech Lecha 2021

On Monday, many people had a day off from work and celebrated a day that is now designated as two separate official holidays. As declared by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1937, the national holiday observed on the second Monday of October is Columbus Day, which honors the contributions of Christopher Columbus’s exploits across the Atlantic … Continue reading The Very Different Journeys of Columbus and Avraham – Parshat Lech Lecha 2021

Horizontal, Vertical, and Virtual Communities – Parshat Noach 2021

A few years ago, Rabbi Pini Dunner pointed out an interesting phenomenon. Despite us now having the technology to literally leave the Earth’s atmosphere and to blast into the heavens, humanity has not lost its obsession with building taller and taller towers. Since its completion in 2010, the tallest building in the world has been … Continue reading Horizontal, Vertical, and Virtual Communities – Parshat Noach 2021

The Lonely Man of Faith Is Not Alone – Parshat Bereisheet 2021

When I was in my senior year of high school, I somehow was exposed to the philosophical thought of Rav Soloveitchik. Until that point, for several years, my high school Gemara teachers had quoted his Torah insights on the Talmud, on Jewish holidays, and on the פרשה but rarely did they engage with his philosophy. … Continue reading The Lonely Man of Faith Is Not Alone – Parshat Bereisheet 2021

Knowing His Eyes Would Not Dim – Shemini Atzeret/Parshat Vezot Habrachah 2021

In the movie Back to the Future, the main character, Marty, has an opportunity that is usually impossible to get. He not only knows the exact time, means, and cause of death of his scientist friend Doc Brown, but he finds himself talking to Doc Brown in 1955, 30 years before that tragic moment. Marty … Continue reading Knowing His Eyes Would Not Dim – Shemini Atzeret/Parshat Vezot Habrachah 2021

The Elephant in the Sukkah – Parshat Ha’azinu/Sukkot 2021

In the Spring of 2001, in the midst of the Second Intifada in Israel, two young Jewish boys decided to skip school one day and go on a hike. When they didn't return home safely by school's end, their parents initially assumed that they must have headed into Jerusalem for a protest and that there … Continue reading The Elephant in the Sukkah – Parshat Ha’azinu/Sukkot 2021

Getting the Door Open – Yom Kippur 2021

When I was in senior year of high school, every morning, my classmates and I would arrive to our Gemara shiur before the bell rang, aware that the classroom door was locked by the cleaning staff the previous night. Nonetheless, whoever arrived first would pull on the doorknob to check if the door was locked, … Continue reading Getting the Door Open – Yom Kippur 2021

Atonement for Failure and Sin – Yom Kippur 2021

In the introduction to his book, Sin•a•gogue: Sin and Failure in Jewish Thought, Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin discusses bio blurbs, those short biographical paragraphs found on book covers and flyers for lectures. An author’s bio may mention their professional position, their education, their publications, their awards, and their talent as “internationally-renowned” writers or “sought-after” speakers. What’s … Continue reading Atonement for Failure and Sin – Yom Kippur 2021

Bittersweet Symphony – Parshat Vayelech 2021

Imagine the following scenario. You walk into shul one morning and you find a flyer advertising a lecture by a visiting scholar with the following title: “Bidding Competitively on Goods or Properties when Others are Previously Involved” Who would you expect to be giving the lecture and who would you expect to be attending? It … Continue reading Bittersweet Symphony – Parshat Vayelech 2021

The Inner Voice – Rosh Hashanah 2021

In recent years, there has been a rising trend that can be confusing or even offensive to traditional Jews. If you have been to or viewed from afar a political rally or protest in recent years, you may have seen non-Jews or Jews from both conservative and liberal circles accompanying their chants and speeches with … Continue reading The Inner Voice – Rosh Hashanah 2021