God Believes In Us: Parashat VaYeitze

Wednesdays are my day off.  That’s when tinker around the house.  A bit of cleaning, a bin or two of laundry, a nice long walk with the dog.  I like to stay industrious.  This week, I broke a year’s worth of fallen branches and twigs into kindling for my fireplace this coming winter.  Then I vacuumed all the blinds.  Yes, it was […]

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Yom Kippur Yizkor: Who Is God?

The story is told about Yehuda Leib Ayger, before he became a great rebbe.  He was born into an illustrious family.  His father and grandfather were renowned scholars.  His family were Mitnagdim, “opponents,” who took a firm stance against the growing phenomenon of Hasidism.  But shortly after becoming Bar Mitzvah, Yehuda Leib expressed a desire to study in Kotzk, with the Kotzker […]

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Kol Nidre 2010: The Power of Words

Kol Nidre is not a prayer.  It is a statement, a formula for the annulment of vows.  Its provenance – when it was written and why – is unknown.  More than likely, it emanated from someone faced with a choice between converting to another religion or an even worse alternative.  Perhaps the author was someone among the conversos of 13th and 14th […]

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Rosh Hashanah 2010: A New Year of Faith

Fifteen Pesachs ago, I was sitting around the Seder table with my extended family – my wife and two young sons, my brother and sister and their respective spouses and young children, and my parents of blessed memory. We’re having a discussion about freedom, what it means to be free, whether there are things in our lives to which we feel enslaved. […]

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