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Shema Essays

I obliterated the shadow of illness and defilement that had poisoned what I had held sacred. When I affixed the mezuzah to the doorpost of the den, I affirmed that what is created in this room, what is thought in this room, is free of lies and deception. Only truth is spoken here...
The Miracle Within
The subtle differences between the first and second paragraphs of the Shema offer the key to our spiritual survival in a world without miracles.
A Psychotherapist in Auschwitz
Shortly after arriving at Auschwitz, Frankl was stripped of his most precious possession—a manuscript that was his life’s work, which he had hidden in his coat pocket. Realizing that the odds of his survival were small, he had what he describes as “perhaps his deepest experience in the concentration camps.”
Do You Hear Me?
The Lost Art of Listening
Here's an experiment to try the next time you meet someone—it could be an annoying telemarketer over the phone or a neighbor in the local grocery store...
The Law of Inertia
At times of maximum vulnerability, people tend to gravitate to the sanctuary of their faith, hoping to ride out the hard times under Judaism's shelter.
The Second Consolation
Torah study or prayer? Man or Woman? A transcendent perspective or an emphatic view? Two pathways through life, and two consolations in the future redemption...
Expressing Oneness: The Shema Prayer
What does it mean to "lengthen" the echad ("one") of the Shema?
Four Stages in Torah Learning
Home in the womb, on the road of life, lying down in the grave, and waking up in the world to come . . .
What is Prayer?
In the Land of Because
Try to imagine life without the word “because.”
A Half an Hour a Day
In the first paragraph of Shema we are told first the mitzvah of education and then the mitzvah of tefillin. The order is reversed in the second paragraph. What is the significance behind this change in wording?
Hear O Israel
My uncharged cell phone flashing red at me, as if to say, “Feed me! Feed me!” And where is the charger, anyway? Why can’t I keep track of simple things like the phone charger? Who’s in charge here anyway?
Why 70 souls? Why 12 tribes? Why 4 directions?
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