MTL

Rabbi Oratz on the Parsha

Parshas Tzav – To Life, To Life, L’Chaim

“Hey, wassup?  How ya doin’? How’s life?” “Nothing major, you know, same old stuff, different day. Can’t wait until summer so I can get away for a few days.”   Does the above conversation sound familiar? No doubt it does. Whether taking place among co-workers, family, or friends, this jaded-sounding interaction, or some variation of …

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Parshas Pinchas – Leadership and Legacies

The arduous journey was finally nearing its conclusion. The Jewish people had wandered through the desert for forty long years. Years filled with ups and downs, complaints and miracles, awesome accomplishments and tragic disappointments (much like life itself). Through all their tribulations the Jewish people were not alone; G-d provided them with the greatest leaders …

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Parshas Ki Sissa – The Celebrity String

A red string. Michael Jackson had one. Madonna and Britney have one. So do Kurt Russell, Rosie O’Donnell, David and Victoria Beckham, Mick Jagger, and many more (including Demi Moore). Justin Bieber does not have one. Yet. It’s a hot fashion statement – popular among the trendy Hollywood crowd and Eastern European Jewish grandmothers. How’s …

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Parshas Ki Seitzei – Just Say No

The words parents hate to hear…”But Ma, all the other kids have it!”  (Spoken in an appropriately whining, nagging tone.) Parents hate to hear it because it is so effective. We can’t seem to say “no.” But it’s ultimately to our child’s, and society’s, detriment. This week’s Torah portion discusses the Rebellious Child, one who …

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Parshas Ve’eschanan – Saying “I Love” and Meaning It

Immediately following its opening sentences, the Shema contains the following powerful verse: “And you shall love the L-rd, your G-d, with all your heart, all your soul, and all your resources” (Deuteronomy 6:5). This raises an obvious question: Can one be commanded to love? Love is the most sublime of human emotions, originating from the depths of ones …

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Parshas Korach – A Kneydl and a Kvetch

Knaidel.  K-N-A-I-D-E-L.  Knaidel. By properly spelling this Jewish culinary delight, an intelligent Indian-American boy won the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee, beating out hundreds of other contestants. Jewish bubbies worldwide were kvelling. Of course, knaidel and kvelling aren’t the only Yiddish/Hebrew words that have made it into our lexicon. Thanks to people like Jerry Seinfeld and Ed Koch, words like kosher, chutzpah, klutz, shmooze, and oy …

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