Solipsism and Its Discontents

We are reading a very exciting parashah this Shabbat. Every parashah is exciting, but Parashat Va’etchanan is particularly replete with some of the most pivotal and foundational tenets of Jewish spirituality. Our parashah includes, amongst other things, the verse of Shma Yisrael, the first paragraph of the Shma, and the...

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Why fast on Tisha be’Av?

We fast on Tisha be’Av in solidarity with those amongst us who were expelled from their homes, or dispossessed. We fast in remembrance of those who were baselessly imprisoned, or mock-executed, or executed in actuality. We fast because we dare not forget those darkest of hours and days, in which...

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The Power of Words

Our parshah today starts with the topic of nedarim/vows. The Mishnah dedicated an entire tractate to be issue of vows. Why are vows/oaths so important for us? It is because in Judaism, words are holy and sacred. The world was created by Divine speech, teaches us the opening book of...

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Immigration : A Jewish Spiritual Perspective

We Jews are a nation of immigrants. Abraham and Sarah were immigrants. Jacob and his descendants were immigrants. We entered the Land of Israel under Joshua’s leadership as immigrants. For millennia, we Jews were the world’s first global people. Dehumanized and humiliated, expelled and dispossessed, we ceaselessly and desperately knocked...

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True Leadership

Our parshah states that Moses sent emissaries to a foreign king, “on behalf of Israel” (Numbers 21:21). According to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, this teaches us that true and authentic leaders always conduct themselves “on behalf of the people.” Many of us today, feel that there is a chronic paucity of...

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Remembering Jebb Levy

Our community is in mourning this week for the passing of our communal pillar, Mr. Jebb Levy. I sense a great coming together of our community this week, in honor of Mr. Levy. So much has been said about Jebb this week. About his philanthropy and personality. I’d like to...

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