Tuesday, May 24, 2022


Non-Jewish Help on Shabbat

What services can one’s non-Jewish help provide on Shabbat? Is she permitted to fold laundry, wash clothes, vacuum the floors and wash dishes? We addressed this question recently during a shiur at Congregation Shaarei Orah, the Sephardic Congregation of Teaneck.

Maran sets forth the rules in


An Insight Into the Text of Birkat HaMazon

Parshat Mishpatim uses the unusual word gadish—stacks of grain. This gives me the opportunity to discuss an issue related to this word that arises in connection with the text of Birkat HaMazon.

As we all know, the third blessing of our text of Birkat HaMazon, in describing God’s


Litigating in Secular Court

The Talmud (Gittin 88b) derives from the opening verse of our parsha (Mishpatim) the prohibition of litigating in front of an idolatrous court. Rashi (based on a Midrash) understands that the problem with such litigation is endorsing a law system of idolaters. Rambam (Sanhedrin 26:7) views the prohibition as preventing the


Teaching Meaningful Tefillah: Directions and Guidelines

(Part II of III)

Part one of this series described a shared and paced approach to teaching Shabbat tefillot to our sons so that they become “regulars” at Shabbat morning tefilla by the age of bar mitzvah.

This article addresses how we can apply this approach to


The Yearlong Farewell, and the Final Goodbye

Kaddish is the long—the longest—goodbye.

There are only two ways to take the responsibility (and privilege) to say Kaddish for a loved one, especially a parent. As sacred and sacrosanct—inviolable. Or, as casual.

Neither choice is right and the other way isn’t


On the Egalitarian Space at the Kotel

The Jewish world has recently exploded with the news that the Israeli government has decided to add an egalitarian prayer space as an official part of the Kotel plaza in Jerusalem. Now, in addition to the previously established male and female sections, there will also be an egalitarian section where men and women can pray together


Please Stop Beeping

Several weeks ago we spoke about the quality of the sound level that we find abhorrent especially at weddings and various simchas. We have since realized, not knowing if there really is a correlation, that perhaps the high volume originates from the borough of Brooklyn.

Excuse us everyone, we


Super Bowl 50, Baby!

Last week I wrote about the exciting sport of college basketball. It was so exciting that I have already forgotten which teams I saw play. Two weeks ago, I briefly mentioned football. A lot has happened in two weeks. It has brought us closer to the highlight of the NFL. Can you believe that it is already time for the Super Bowl? Yup, just


Short Words

Once in a while I get letters from people asking for advice. And I try to help them out, because if they’re asking me, I know they’re desperate.

Dear Mordechai,

I’ve been asked to speak at a sheva brachos. What should I say?


A Life-Changing Vacation: Thailand Through the Eyes of Justifi

December 23 until February 1. A full five weeks I was given off from Queens College. That’s almost half a summer! Making plans was inevitable, back and forth between the classic Miami winter break vacation, to maybe mixing it up and going to Orlando; LA was an option, and then, of


Security Training With the Jewish Heart and Soul

Caliber 3, based in Gush Etzion and with locations across Israel, was established in 2004 by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Col. Sharon Gat (Res.) and is recognized as the largest and premier counterterror and security training academy in Israel, and one of the top institutions of its kind in the world. Caliber 3 is contracted by the


Highlights of Yeshiva Winter Break Vacation at Camelback

Whether you call it Yeshiva Break, Yeshiva Week, Winter Break or just simply a winter vacation, thousands of Jewish families schlepped their vacation-starved schoolchildren, poured out of their local Jewish neighborhoods and made their way to places as far away as Israel, the

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