Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Divrei Torah

In Good Times Prepare for the Bad Ones

Things finally seem to be getting better for Yosef. Following being sold to Mitzrayim, the difficult challenge of eishes Potiphar and his subsequent imprisonment, Yosef gets a major break. Paroh is very disturbed by his dreams and no interpretation satisfies him. Then Yosef comes along and explains in a way that satisfies Paroh that


Chanukah: Pirsumei Nisa on Highway 287

He could never show his face in the Chabad House again. He was a laughingstock. Everyone knew what he had done. He was even on the local news. It was a disaster.

The day had started out innocently enough. Menachem went to the Chabad House in Franklin Lakes as usual, eager to help out. Usually he just worked in the kitchen, washing dishes or peeling


How Connected Are We?

Each day we walk around in our modern world wirelessly connected. Whether we’re sporting a tablet, smartphone (or two) or even the new wave of wearables, such as pedometers that monitor our every move, we maintain connections with people in various ways throughout the world. It has all become rather second nature to us.

Technological advancements are not new,


Teaching Santa in Our Schools

I don’t particularly want to sound like Sarah Palin, but the term “holiday season” irks me.  It smacks of a pernicious movement to homogenize society that hearkens from a time in my youth when America was a melting pot rather than a salad bowl. “We’re all really the same because we all celebrate holidays in December,” the phrase seems to


How to Confront the Enemy

The story of the tumultuous life of Yaakov Avinu continues in Parashas Vayishlach, which begins with a description of his preparations for his upcoming encounter with his brother Eisav as he returns to Eretz Yisrael after being away for many years. It is clear from the Torah’s presentation that Yaakov is terribly nervous about the prospect of


Vayishlach: Davening in Dusseldorf (Bereishit: 32:5)

When Avi Morgenstern got engaged, it was a source of great simcha for the entire Morgenstern family. He was the first of the generation of cousins to get married, and everyone wanted to be at the wedding. That posed a serious problem for the New Milford branch of the Morgenstern clan. Steve and Maggy Morgenstern had four children. All of them were very close


Coming Together to Honor the Torah

One of the hallmarks of Judaism is the unique attachment that each Jew shares with one another. We may come from diverse backgrounds, different locations and divergent paths in life, yet there is a common factor that ties us together and connects us in an extraordinary and unparalleled fashion. Limud HaTorah creates a bond between Jews that is


“Ki Heim Chayeinu – Torah is Our Life! Torah Keeps Us Alive!”

The invitation was appealing, it beckoned us to attend the Dirshu Shabbos Kinnus Olam HaTorah—a Shabbos that promised to rejuvenate both my husband and I physically and spiritually. Yet, I was hesitant. Being somewhat more of a shy personality, I could not imagine finding common ground with any of the other women who would be in


“What Was He Thinking?”

Here it was, the sixth session of the class which was using the book of Genesis as a source for studying the nature of leadership. It was proving not to be the kind of class in which the teacher lectured and the students listened passively. Rather, it was more like a discussion group in which everyone participated.

Everyone, that is, except for Hillel. In my


Toledot: The Hunger (Bereishit: 25: 29-34)

Red Lentil Soup *

Time: 45 minutes

3 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Pinch of ground chili powder or cayenne, more to


Double Standard

Consider the following conversation between a Rabbi and a Ba’al Teshuva:

Rabbi: So what can I do for you?

BT: I’ve been struggling lately with tefillah, and I’d like your advice.

Rabbi: Go ahead, I’m listening.

BT: Well, the first issue is the length of davening. I tend to lose momentum way before the


Parshat Vayeira: Nachshon Wachsman A”H

I remember the Te­hil­lim assemblies quite vividly. It was almost exactly 19 years ago, I was a senior in high school and our principal called all of us to the Beit Knesset to describe what had just occurred in Israel; a young Israeli soldier, Nachshon Wachsman, had just been captured by Hamas and they were demanding the release of several hundred prisoners in