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The Monthly Marriage
Marriages need separations. Sometimes a couple will get into arguments and be angry at each other just for the sake of creating a distance so that husband and wife can feel like they’re coming together . . . But there’s a better way.
Mikvah Time
The year is the same, the days are the same, but the months are different. It is a time quite individual—created by G‑d especially for me . . .
Like a Newborn Child
She wanted to convert, but when the rabbi informed her of the requirements and also mentioned immersion in a mikvah, she balked. She was ready to do everything except for the mikvah ritual, which she found difficult to comprehend . . .
The Power of the Seed
Think about it. This little tiny seed is basically a treasure-chest of DNA, prepared to (in the right circumstances) give birth to any of a variety of beings . . .
Speak No Evil
Though we’re viscerally aware of the negative effects of gossip, how many of us can say that we’ve never indulged in it ourselves?
When the Truth Hurts
Tazria
How can we be punished for negative speech when what we say is actually true? And why is the punishment one of expulsion and isolation?
Learning From the Gossiper How to Heal Relationships
Unresolved repetitive conflict ultimately prevents people from reaching their relationship potential.
Wedding Speeches for Tazria
Wedding Speeches for Metzora
Is It Wrong to Like a Lot of Stuff?
Is it OK to enjoy a good shopping spree and to delight in yet another Amazon box at your doorstep?
Does It Matter Which Words Rashi Quotes?
See how a nuance in a simple one-line Rashi can be examined, unpacked, and understood in an entirely new light.
The Subtle Signals of the Tzaraat
An Essay on Parshat Tazria
Tzaraat should be regarded not as an illness that is designated as tamei, but as “a sign and a wonder” that G‑d uses to mark someone.
The Inner Rhythm of Tumah
An Essay on Parshat Metzora
It can be said that the creation of tumah resembles the production of a magnetic field.
Torah Insights
Treasured Words
Our brains prefer the ease and simplicity of clear distinctions. Life, however, is more complicated than that.
The Message of the Afflicted Home
Not harming others is not a strong enough foundation upon which to build the Land of Israel.
The Treasure Behind the Wall
When we experience an actual struggle in life, pain hurts. It does not build.
Weekly Sermonette
Speak Nicely, but Clearly
"I went to a psychiatrist and he helped me solve my problem," said the compulsive shoplifter. "I don't feel guilty anymore"
When Was Your Last Spiritual?
What’s a “spiritual”? It has all the trappings of the routine checkup we call a “physical”—height, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and stress tests on the treadmill and up and down the little staircase . . .
Clouds, Curses and Concealed Compassion
Does every cloud really have a silver lining? Is there a blessing in disguise inside every curse?
Weekly Torah
Words Are Real
Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall
"A person can sees every kind of blemish," rules the Talmud, "except for their own"
Inner Stream
Vulnerability: the Hallmark of Growth
Growth is only possible if we subject ourselves to vulnerability. If we refuse to leave our comfort zone, we will never have new experiences or discover new abilities.
The Last Creation
The Torah teaches that the human being the most superior of all creations. It also states that man is inferior to all other creatures. Both statements are correct...
The Mark of Truth
A Compendium on Circumcision
G-d wants us to remove the foreskin ourselves. To demonstrate that as we complete the physical appearance of our bodies, so can we perfect the contours of our souls.…
Three Gifts of Circumcision
Brit Milah carries the promise of three rewards: the divine presence, the land of Israel, and the royal House of David. What is the connection between these three gifts and the covenant of circumcision?
Treating the Cause
The implication is that when spiritual malaise is neglected and allowed to fester we can accustom ourselves to it and become oblivious...
A Meeting of Two Souls
Her thoughtfulness changed all that; it turned our causal encounter into a meaningful exchange. I realized that she was a real person and not just a passing prop on the stage of my life...
For Friday Night
Flourishing!
Spiritual Birth
Birth and Rebirth
The experience of galut (exile) is compared to a state of pregnancy.
Your Own Choice
Your Judaism, the fact of your being a Jew in the world today and having all those laws and traditions in your background--is this something you chose?
Nature and Miracle
A miracle can be defined as something which directly reveals the power of the Divine. In this sense, reproduction has the quality of a miracle, in particular the birth of a child who is destined to reveal G‑dliness in the world.
Adjusting to Holiness
The condition of being a metzora is the product of an imbalance, similar to acne, which might be caused by a hormone imbalance. In the case of the metzora, the imbalance is spiritual in nature . . .
What the Rebbe Taught Me
What Do You Really Want?
The Essence of Circumcision, the Essence of a Jew
The extraordinary message expressed by circumcision is what caused it to rise to the top of the list of rituals our enemies sought to eradicate time and again throughout our history. But what is this message?
Spiritual Rehab
Retribution is very un-Jewish. For retribution leaves wounds in its wake. Rehabilitation is very Jewish. For rehabilitation cures and gives new life. This elemental idea is beautifully captured in a biblical passage discussing the treatment of gossipers.
The Rules of Judgment and Constructive Critisicm
Are there any rules to constructive criticism?
Parshah Musings
Good Gossip
In times of sickness and sorrow, the mind craves answers. People want to know why things are going so spectacularly wrong, and if there is anything they can do to change the situation. People look for someone to blame.
Circumcisions and Seders
Assimilated Jews, intermarried Jews, you-name-it type of Jews, all circumcise their sons, and almost all sit down to a Passover seder. Why, what do these two commandments have that the others don’t?
The Loving Admonisher
While the cohen wasn't paid for his services and thus couldn't be accused of padding his nest at the community's expense, the question still remains: why did they need a cohen?
Poor Man, Rich Man
Jewish Immortality
Why Did G-d Bother?
The boys tend to be interested in the gory details, while the girls wonder about the rationale behind the mitzvah
Living through the Parshah
The Gossiper and the Priest
I find the swing from inspiration and proactivity to be a lifelong dance. For a stretch of time I devoted most of my day to Torah study, surrounded by mentors who spoke the message of
G-d’s unity through their teachings and their conduct. And then it was over . . .
Bad News Is Good News
Why can’t people become better, more wholesome, more peaceful and G‑d-conscious as we progress towards Moshiach? The answer follows the lines of the unusual law of the pure leper.
Fighting Ire With Fire
The spiritual ammunition of the Shabbat candles
Gossip is charged with intrigue, and feels innocuous at the time. It’s usually afterward that the guilt settles in.
Reflections on the Parshah
Healthy Selfishness
The Mishnah teaches that “all afflictions one sees, except his own . . .”
But It's True...
How often people justify malicious gossip with the explanation that the slander is true?
Torah for Now
Healing Hubris
Perhaps the metzora's isolation is not just for him to sense the distance from other people caused by gossip, but also to see how foolish a sense of superiority is...
What Do You Think?
The Case for Large Families
Each child has opened my heart wider, not only to that child but to the others as well. Each child makes me a better parent to all of our children.
Four Reasons Why You Should Gossip
It is our patriotic duty. It’s all in the name of G-d. We don’t mess with tradition. And it’s much easier to put down others than to climb up yourself.
8 Lepers in the Bible (and Midrash)
Although tzaraat was a skin illness, it had a spiritual element to it. In the Tanach, we find quite a few individuals who were plagued by tzaraat.
Parshah Moment
A Land Beyond Toys
Even if this life was here the whole time, if I just noticed it, then it is new...
A Thought for the Week
Birth and Bar Mitzvah
Comment
The Wonder That Is Woman
Everyone can become a “mother.” What comes naturally to the female half of creation can be learned and assimilated by all, and not only in giving birth to children, but in every one of life’s endeavors.
Words and Stones
Sticks and stones break bones, but the damage wrought by negative words reaches far deeper, to the very soul.
Parshah Recovery
Rigorous Self-Honesty
In terms of our spiritual development, we can apply this law to all types of spiritual sicknesses. We are not the ones to make the final diagnosis of our own faults and shortcomings...
Hidden Treasures
But what about when life slaps us in the face even in sobriety, even when we're doing the right things? When this happens, we cry foul...
More Parshah Articles
The Mikvah
Everything you wanted to know about Mikvah but didn't know to ask.
Our Children Our Selves
In twenty-four articles and stories, mothers and fathers tell of the love and the pain, the joy and the fears, the wisdom and the faith, the mystery and the mysticism of having children
Schreiber the Jew
The doctor picked up the sample. He placed a drop on a slide, then slipped it under the eyepiece of the microscope. One glance showed him that it was full of bacteria—he did not bother to analyze it further.
Covenant & Conversation
Holiness and Childbirth
Judaism is a profound rejection of cults, ancient and modern, that glorify death.
The Circumcision of Desire
The inner history of humanity is in part the history of the idea of love. And at some stage a new idea makes its appearance in biblical Israel.
The Eighth Day
Why circumcision? Why was this from the outset not just a mitzvah, one command among others, but the very sign of our covenant with G‑d and His with us? And why on the eighth day?
The Price of Free Speech
Allowing people to speak badly about one another will eventually destroy the integrity of the group.
How to Praise
By recognizing the good in people and saying so, we help bring people’s potential to fruition. Praising their efforts rather than their innate gifts helps encourage growth.
Beyond Speech
What I Did When I Found Out That I Had ALS
Walking out of his office into the empty hallway, I broke down in a fit of bitter tears. After I composed myself, I headed out of the building.
If It All Turned White, It Is Pure
Most of the parshah of Tazria tells us the laws of diagnosing and quarantining a metzora (leper).
On the Haftarah: Sudden Redemption
For the haftarah of Metzora, From the Teachings of the Rebbe
Life's Passages
Experiencing the Highs and Lows of Life
Metzorah
Life is a never-ending cycle of low points that turn into high points, only to revert backagain to lows. The lowest points on life's cosmic wheel serve as mere introductions to enhance the next stage of highs.
Have You Ever Been ‘Bageled’?
Tazria
Jews have a powerful urge to connect with one another.
Heaven Exposed
Purifying Waters
The most important institution of Jewish life, next to the home, is the mikveh and its cycle of union and separation between husband and wife. Because precious things only stay beautiful when you follow the manufacturer's instructions...
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