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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 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 vey …

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Parshas Nitzavim/Vayelech – The Most Wonderful Time of Year

It’s that time of the year again. Shofars are blowing, apples are dipping, briskets are cooking, and honey is sticking. But, most importantly, G-d Himself is calling. With apologies to Andy Williams, this is the most wonderful time of the year. Now admittedly, many Jews view the “Days of Awe” as more awful than awesome, but that …

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Parshas Kedoshim – Pious Pleasures

A fancy house… A cool car… Carnal pleasures… An exciting vacation… Designer clothes… The best doctors and hospitals… Power…. Information… Being popular… Admit it – these are all things you desire. And if you don’t, you are in the minority.  Listen to the radio or social conversations. Look at any of a multitude of advertising campaigns –  these …

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Parshas Shemini – Pure Pork

There is nothing more “treif” (non-kosher) than a pig. Pig has always represented the prototype of impurity, the quintessential “treif” (non-kosher) item.  In Hebrew, the very word for pig has become a common epithet used to refer to all repulsive, unwanted items or behaviors – even those having nothing to do with food.  Something really disgusting is chazzer treif – …

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