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Articles by Yanki Tauber

More than 200 articles on all areas of spirituality, Jewish traditions and daily life--from the pen of our senior editor.

Did You Ask to Be Born?
What kind of "free choice" do we have, if we didn't choose to be presented with that choice?
The Third Marriage
What did Moses feel ascending Mount Sinai for the third time, on the early morning of the 1st of Elul, 3,308 years ago?
Seven Fruits of the Soul
Why are we never content to simply be? Why does our animal self posses willpower, passion and energy beyond anything our spiritual self could ever muster? What purpose does "happiness" serve? Which is greater--awareness or action? struggle or tranquility?
To Be a Body
Imagine a person trapped under a collapsed building. There is a small fissure in the rubble--just large enough to allow him to extend his hand to his rescuers. We are that hand
The World is a Ball
Large, round object. Move it towards the goal. Outmaneuver those big, burly guys trying to stop you. Be quick. Use your feet. Sounds familiar? Sounds like my life
Dough
Before baking her toil, talent and thaler into bread for herself and her family, she pinches off a choice bit . . .
The Torah Is...
The Torah is a guidebook. A contract. Identity. Vision. A daughter. And a wife...
The Things You See
In this world that G-d made, there are no tourists--just local residents. There are no fans in the bleachers--only players on the field. No audience--just actors
Calling Moses
Do we surrender to the anti-truth of arbitrary happenstance, or do we embrace the divine calling of purposeful engagement? The difference looks a lot smaller than it is
The Kabbalah of the Neck
The head is obviously a critical piece of machinery. Would it not have been more judicious to put it in a more protected place, perhaps somewhere deep within the body's bulk?
Four Ways to Use Your Head
Is there really such a thing as "theoretical knowledge," or is it just a theory?
Are You Inside Your Name?
You may be the only guy wearing a red tie in seat 3B, but does that mean that if you'd put on the yellow tie this morning you wouldn't be you?
Walls and Gates
Walls insulate and isolate. Breached boundaries leave us vulnerable to attack and loss of identity. What, then, is it that we need?
Make Yourself Useful
There's nary a shul bench in Mineola or a park bench in Jerusalem that does not bear the inscription "In memory of ...." Is that what it's about -- memorializing the dead? or is there something more significant at play here?
Who Wants to Be Jewish?
The “child” and the “servant” exist in all relationships: in the family, in the workplace, and in our divine service.
Sacrifice Your Son?
a conversation
Skeptic: Now if that's not the epitome of everything wrong with religion... Believer: Aren't you leaving out a very important part of the story?
The Lost Cause Scenario
Much is made of Abraham’s valiant efforts to save the city of Sodom, how he went to battle with G‑d on behalf of these very sinful people. But something about the story just doesn’t add up . . .
The First Jew
To be a Jew is to be constantly moving from what you are to what you can be, and from what you have made of yourself to yet a deeper truth of what you are
Adam's Birthday
Some of my best friends are atheists. And I can hear them saying: "You can be a moral and ethical person also if you don't believe in and respect G-d"
The Case of the Basket
That “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer” is a fact already noted by the Talmud some 1,500 years ago. But what’s so great about being rich, anyway?
Our Enemies, Our Selves
"Know your enemy" is often the key to knowing yourself. And knowing yourself is always the key to defeating your enemies...
The Fragile Veneer of Evil
On the one hand, he’s declared to be nothing less than the equal of Abraham (in passion) and Moses (in prophecy); on the other, he’s described as the most perverse, greedy and corrupt human being ever to walk the face of the earth!
Are You a Leader?
How do you impart the urgency, the commitment, the devotion you feel? How do you make others appreciate that it's not about you but about the vision-- the cause which has made you a part of something far greater than your own self?
Relationship
The idea of inequality is distasteful to us. So we reject everything about it, everything it ostensibly resembles, everything it reminds us of. Including the most beautiful, gratifying and enlightening thing we have: our relationships with each other
The Nile Syndrome
I made myself? Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? Why would a smart guy come out with a ridiculous statement like, "I made myself"?
Sixty Days of Purim
Purim, as everyone knows, falls in the month of Adar. Actually, according to the Kabbalists, it's the other way around: Adar rises in Purim...
Once Upon a Donkey
It was an age of boors and ascetics, a time of conflict between body and soul. Then a master appeared. "Don't beat your beast," he taught, "don't overload him and don't abandon him. Help him"
Suspended Hailstones
You're walking down the street when, suddenly, a hard object with sharp edges hits you smack in the middle of the forehead...
The River
The ancient Egyptians worshipped the Nile as a god. After all, it was their Dollar, Stock Portfolio, College Education and Career wrapped in one...
Siege Mentality
When faced with a tragedy we mourn. But we also ask ourselves: what positive element lies buried within this negative experience? We cannot always see it. But we always look for it
What Is a Chassid?
A chassid is a mystic. A chassid is pious. A chassid is joyous. A chassid is selfless. A chassid is a revolutionary. What is the common denominator of all these traits? That a chassid lives life from the inside.
Your Soul Can Be in Two Places at the Same Time
The disciples of Rabbi DovBer of Mezeritch gathered around his bed to hear their teacher speak about Jacob's angels. It was the last Shabbat of the chassidic master's life...
Gangs of Angels
A famous saying by Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov goes: "The physical life of a Jew is a spiritual thing." Sounds great, but what does it mean?
Life Is a Double-Decker Cave
If you ended up on the upper story, consider yourself lucky. If you find yourself on the lower level, consider yourself luckier.
To Dig a Well
You need to pick a spot and stick with it. You can’t stop boring when you hit a rocky stretch, and you can’t take the work home with you.
Get a Life!
“You get a comfortable salary, full health benefits, free daycare and spa privileges, 31 days annual paid vacation. You have no duties and responsibilities—you don’t even have to come to work.” Would you want this job?
The G-d Business
It's not for the money -- I had plenty of that before I started. And I'm not the kind of person need to be "doing something" to feel complete. So why am I doing this?
The One Dollar Life
Open your wallet. Take out a single dollar bill. Place it on the table in front of you. Take a long, contemplative look at it. In many ways, this is the most spiritual thing you own
Heels
Sometimes -- explained Rabbi Sholom DovBer -- like when a person is required to enter a tub of scalding water, the head will hesitate. It is the heels who plunge in and lead the way
Life: Three Methods
Three ways to acquire a home. Three ways to get married. Three ways to do everything and anything in life
The Road to Heaven
"I, too, desire it!" Is Moses playing devil's advocate? Or is he baring a soul driven by a striving so exalted and G-dly that it is beyond the reach even of a Moses, a soul that finds its deepest yearnings frustrated by a divine command barring its path, commanding, "Stop. No. Not Yet."
The Manna Eaters
Life is mostly waste. Take food, for example: we spend many hours earning the money, shopping, cooking, eating, and then most of it passes right through our bodies and into the city's sewer system
Three Lies Every Educator Should Know
Don't try to challenge consensus. Don't bother with the lost cases. And stay away from the G-d stuff, unless there's some sort of angle
Jump!
When you walk or run, your change of place derives from your prior position. One foot leaves the ground, while the other remains planted there to provide the forward impetus. But when you jump, both feet leave the ground...
Matzah After Midnight
First you had faith. Then you grew up. Then you discovered truths you always knew you knew but which your knowledge obscured. That's why we have pre-midnight matzah and post midnight matzah
The 40th Labor
What is “work”? If life is synonymous with creativity, is Shabbat a time outside life? What is the deeper significance of the curious Talmudic phrase, “forty labors minus one”?
The Best Kept Secret in the World
Strip life of its false starts, of its missed opportunities, naive presumptions, fumbling first attempts and learned-it-the hard-way experiences, and what's left? Nothing worth writing home about, let alone going through all that trouble to live a life...
The Extreme Jew
Push yourself to your limits and beyond, and if you do it with all the integrity and devotion and goodness of your Jewish soul and your Jewish body, there you will find G-d
The Two-Way Mirror
Does G‑d care if I cheat on my taxes? Am I going to be a better husband/wife/parent if I keep kosher? Are these the same question?
Inside the Monster
He led them to the very feet of the giant, opened a secret door in the monster's big toe, took them up a winding passageway to its belly, and showed them how the thing works...
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