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Jewish Thought

THE BOOK OF COMPLAINTS 4/11/2021 12:07 AM

When our children reached the age and stage of life when they were ready to get married, my wife and I were privileged to organize and participate in four weddings in a rather short space of years. Being a congregational rabbi, I naturally had to invite all the members of my congregation to the wedding ceremony and dinner. My wife and I labored long and hard over the invitation list and over...

SPRING 3/14/2021 12:03 AM

I think that we can all agree that it is been a rather difficult winter that we have experienced over the past few months. Here, in Israel, it was a winter of political disarray, Corona issues and enforced lockdowns, and the usual, somewhat depressing, factors of winter – short days and long and often lonely nights. So, the advent of spring is certainly a harbinger of better times and brighter...

PRAYER AND CONCERTS 3/7/2021 02:57 PM

There is always an element of musical performance associated with Jewish prayer. In Temple times, Levites presented a musical performance every day in the Temple in Jerusalem, as part of the temple service itself. This presentation included musical instruments as well as a male choir. Josephus describes how many non-Jews from all parts of the Roman Empire visited the second Temple to gaze at...

THE DEPTHS OF WINTER 3/1/2021 09:33 AM

With Pesach already close at hand, nearly visible on the horizon, we are all hoping that the depths of winter are behind us. We could all use a little bright sunshine, warmer weather and the feeling of hope that springtime always brings. We really cannot complain about this past winter, for it was a winter of abundant rain, the thrill of a short snowstorm and only a limited number of days of...

FIRING THE COACH 2/14/2021 12:35 AM

All of us inveterate sports fans who absurdly and loyally follow the fortunes of a certain team that we are somehow attached to, are aware that when that team does not do well or does not win the championship and has disappointed us, the solution to the problem always seems to be to fire the coach or manager of that team. It is clear and logical to us that the failure of the team to win the...

THE FEW AND THE MANY 2/7/2021 12:24 AM

Many of you are aware, as I have previously written in another blog, I have just completed writing a book of stories that will be published in the next few months. The Torah teaches us that our great teacher Moshe, even after writing the Torah, had ‘ink left in his quill.’ I do not, God forbid, pretend to resemble Moshe in any meaningful way, but I also have some stories left over that will...

AN ADDICTION CURED 1/17/2021 05:14 PM

For the first few decades of my sojourn here in Jerusalem, I was absolutely addicted to hearing the news seven or eight times a day. Since this included the time of the two intifadas, the two Gaza wars, numerous Israeli elections, American political upheavals, and other assorted interesting events, I did not feel that I was necessarily overdoing it. During the rest of the day. I often wondered...

MY BOOK LIBRARY 1/11/2021 08:01 AM

An acquaintance of mine delivered a package to me in my apartment. He noticed that the apartment is full bookcases in almost every room. He knows that my eyesight no longer allows me to read or study from books, so he asked me why I have not yet begun to dispose of my library, since it is of little practical value to me now. I thanked him for his comments and suggestion, but I was not really...

TAKING A SHOT 1/3/2021 09:49 AM

There is no doubt that in certain matters and issues the state of Israel is really on the cutting edge of progress and achievement. Our health system here in Israel is burdened by a great deal of bureaucracy, but when the health system and the government agree that it should work quickly and efficiently on behalf of those who are in need, it does so. When the government announced that the...

STORIES 12/28/2020 10:55 AM

One of the most fundamental lessons in public speaking is the ability, or rather the necessity, of the speaker to tell a story to illustrate the message that is being delivered. People remember stories much longer and with much greater nostalgia than learned interpretations and abstract thoughts and ideas. And if the story is somehow humorous – and the only humor that is acceptable in such...