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 we knew not, whether we […]

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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 the Pentateuch; the Hebrew alphabet […]

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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 on dozens of national doors, […]

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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 great leadership in the world, […]

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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 share with you two brief […]

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Our parshah contains the tragic story of the twelve spies whom Moses sent out from the desert, in order to check out and survey the Promised Land. Ten of the twelve spies came back to the people with a defeatist attitude. They stated that because the cities of the land are so well fortified, and […]

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Everybody Has a Breaking Point

Golda Meir contemplated suicide in the opening days of the Yom Kippur War. Yitzhak Rabin suffered a breakdown, shortly before the Six-Day War. Menachem Begin retired as Prime Minister midterm, exclaiming, אינני יכול יותר “I can’t take this anymore.” And Winston Churchill, the greatest statesman humanity had known in the 20th century, suffered from recurrent […]

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