Thursday, April 15, 2021


How to Praise

Rabbi Sacks, zt’’l, had prepared a full year of Covenant & Conversation for 5781, based on his book Lessons in Leadership.

The Sages were eloquent on the subject of lashon hara, evil speech, the sin they took to be the cause of tzara’at. But there is a meta-halachic


Are Jewish Men Permitted To Shave Their Heads?

A talmid in his late 30s called and asked me if he is permitted to shave his entire head in what he calls a “preemptive strike” against his increasing baldness.

While shaving most of the head is not a problem, shaving the head’s corners runs into the Torah prohibition for a Jewish male to round out


Outside the Camp?


The opening words of the haftarah that we read for this parsha provide us with the clear connection to our parshiyot. “V’arba’ah anashim hayu metzora’im petach hasha’ar, And there were four metzora’im (lepers?) at the gate (of the city Shomron)” echoes the


A Shared Mitzvah

The beginning of Parshat Tazria outlines the mitzvah of brit milah, commanded to take place on day 8 of a boy’s birth. While milah was already commanded to Avraham in Sefer Bereishit, our parsha marks the first time that it is commanded to the entire nation.

Much has been written regarding the


An Orthodox Rabbi Discusses Secular Bible Questions

Reviewing: “To This Very Day,” by Amnon Bazak. Maggid. 2020. English. Hardcover. 492 pages. ISBN-10: 1592645151.

The publication of this book (471 pages with extensive footnotes) is a historic event! This is a work by an Orthodox rabbi/educator that deals effectively with the major questions raised by secular scholars about the


A Different Seder

Thoughts from Pesach to Yom HaShoah to Yom Hazikaron to Yom Ha’atzma’ut.

How can we commemorate the incomprehensible, the totally unimaginable?

How can we have a Seder when all was out of order... no law... no order... except for those for whom alles ist in


The Pandemic and the Reconciliation

Over Pesach, I noticed a woman I thought was Baila Friedberg coming out of shul.

“Good Yom Tov, Mrs. Friedberg.”

“Good Yom Tov. However, my name is Mrs. Greenstein, and I am the twin sister of Baila. I am staying by her for Pesach.”


Focusing on Resilience in the Displaced Persons Camp on Holocaust Remembrance Day

This past year, I completed my thesis for an MA in Holocaust Studies at Haifa University. I was privileged to have the opportunity to research and write my thesis on the period right after the Holocaust, the return to life in the Displaced Persons camps in Germany. This year, as the world begins to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, I


Our Holy Soldiers

A number of years back when Israel received a number of additional F-35 fighter planes from the United States, the following question was posed to Rabbi Yehuda Aviner, the head rabbi of Yeshivat Ateret Kohanim, and a brilliant halachic authority: “With God’s kindnesses, the State of Israel received F-35 Stealth Fighter Jets. Should the


Blinken’s Holocaust Gaffe

Was Breckinridge Long our 32nd president, rather than Franklin Roosevelt?

From Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s recent remarks, one could erroneously conclude that it was actually Assistant Secretary of State Long, not President Roosevelt, who decided American immigration policy in the 1930s and


The Ashkenazi ‘Alfasi’ Family

I’ve always been interested in the formation of various Jewish diasporas and how they rarely fit a lineral and neat narrative. I am particularly interested in how the labels “Sephardic” and “Ashkenazic” have become set in stone relatively recently (a similar phenomenon can be observed in the Medieval period for


The Story Behind the Story

Reviewing: “Setting the Table: An Introduction to the Jurisprudence of Rabbi Yechiel Mikhel Epstein’s Arukh HaShulhan,” by Michael J. Broyde and Shlomo C. Pill. Academic Studies Press. 2021. English. Hardcover. 530 pages. ISBN-13: 978-1644690703.

Often there are