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Parshah Columnists

Guest Columnists
From Back-Breaking Labor to Mind-Bending Liberation
Dear G‑d, why is life so challenging? Why are You being so hard on me?
Advance Merit
G-d paid us forward, because He believed we would justify His belief in us.
It's OK Not to Have Aspirations
Don’t feel any less worthy because you’re not the next big thing, because in reality you are—by dint of the practical things you do every day.
Moses and the Burning Bush
G‑d met Moses in a burning bush, and requested that he become His messenger to take the Israelites out of Egypt.
Who Were Shifra and Puah, the 'Hebrew Midwives'?
Who were these heroines who were willing to risk their lives only to never be mentioned in the Torah again?
Solutions With a Soul
Parshat Shemot
Every human being has incalculable worth; differences in ability are superimposed upon our innate humanity.
What Are You Needed For?
Often, the best response to adversity is to break out of our comfort zones and extend a helping hand to another person with love and gratitude for all the good that we have.
Freud's Great Freudian Slip
It appears in his last book, Moses and Monotheism, a strange work if ever there was one. It was published in 1939, by which time Freud had taken refuge in Britain . . .
Head Breaker
In exile something's got to break, so break your head. It's the body's job to wait in line, not the soul's
Are We Melting?
Listening to and reading all the predictions and prognostications of Global Warming can be downright depressing. Will we be saying goodbye to our world sometime soon?
In Order to ...
Seeing the Jews living away from the limelight of the Nile and missing out on all the fun, Pharaoh decides to include them in the bounty of Egypt. When his plan doesn't work, he is enraged...
Pioneers of Faith
Childbirth, perhaps more than any other life event, is an experience that demands a strong dose of faith and surrender. No matter how well planned or organized we may be, the inevitable moment will arise...
Being Aware of the Pair That We Wear
Interestingly, according to Jewish law and tradition, it is preferable that a person walk around with some separation between the foot and the ground. It was not so, however, when one was present in the Holy Temple in ancient Jerusalem . . .
The Folly of Faith
King Solomon, author of Proverbs, speaks of the gullible fool. Then our venerable Sages, in their homiletic compilation known as the Midrash, interpret that verse to refer to…MOSES?
A Nation of Names, Not Numbers
Why name an entire book after the seemingly coincidental use of a word in its opening line? But here lies an important lesson about the Jewish approach to the individual member of the community . . .
Parshah Art: The Hebrew Midwives in Egypt
Now the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives... "When you deliver the Hebrew women, and you see on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall put him to death..."
Women Between the Walls
Of all the portions in the Torah, Shemot most clearly illustrates the strength of the Jewish woman.
Jochebed: Planting the Seeds of Leadership
Parshat Shemot
As a mother of young children, it is easy for me to lose perspective amidst the peaks and valleys of parenting. It will be years before I will see the fruits of my labor . . .
Stand and Be Counted
When the Jewish people are counted, the greatest and most distinguished is counted exactly the same as the most lowly and simple.
Wedding Speeches for Shemot
Moses or Pharaoh: Which Mindset Are You?
While we’re usually in touch with our suffering, seeing it in others is not so common.
Dear Fellow Survivor, You Are Holy
His flames fully engulfed you. He consumed you. Yet here you are. Still around. Still alive. You’re functioning.
The Raised Hand
Pearls of Rashi on the Torah Portion of Shemot
The Raised Hand
Pearls of Rashi on the Torah Portion of Shemot
Got Faith, Like Really?
Faith means absolute trust in G-d. But there is something still greater than faith. (“Parsha Perks” with Dr Michael Chighel | Shemot)
The Cyclical Exodus
An Essay on Parshat Shemot
The exile and the redemption in Exodus were not a one-time event, but merely the paradigm for an event that recurs again and again throughout our history—exile followed by redemption followed by exile again—and thus the metamorphosis of the Jewish people continues.
How Long Can We Wait?
Miriam shows us how to wait. With bitterness over our suffering but not with despair.
Hearing the Cry and Acting on It
Seeing beyond the status quo and taking action are characteristics that distinguish great people.
Torah Insights
The Burning Bush
How was it possible to maintain the fire while living in a thorn bush?
In the Face of Suffering
G‑d is with us in our suffering. That He has not abandoned us. That He is present even when His presence is hidden.
Parshah Moment
Where Were You?
A bush is on fire but it is not consumed. A nation is killed time and time again -- but it does not die...
For Friday Night
The Power of Invention
The spiritual significance of the Israelites' brickmaking in Egypt
Thrown into the River
"All new born boys in the river," Pharaoh commanded. What is the deeper meaning behind this cruel decree?
Life's Passages
What’s in a Name?
My husband and I discussed potential names for our soon-to-be newborn baby. We pored over lists, girls’ and boys’ names, as well as names of deceased relatives.
A Message of Hope
Who isn’t suffering nowadays? We’re surrounded by tragedy, difficulty and challenges.
Miriam: Tambourines of Rebellion
You feel the pain and bitterness, even more deeply than the others, yet you carry in your heart an inextinguishable flame of faith, hope and optimism. You are Miriam, the quintessential Jewish woman.
Parshah Insights
Weekly Sermonette
Jewish Population Control
If you're feeling broody, go for it
I Shall Be
To truly understand the Infinite G-d takes infinite patience
Great Expectations
Are we judged by what we've done, or by what we're going to do? An encouraging message from this week's parshah
My Planner, Our Purpose
Losing my planner taught me that we are not lost and listless, but on a path from a Higher Source.
Reflections on the Parshah
The Test of Leadershp
What is the ultimate accomplishment for which a Jewish leader must aspire?
The Thornbush
G-d reveals Himself to the humble. But what is humility?
Parshah Messages
Do You Know Joseph?
Pharaoh's critical mistake was a failure to understand Joseph and his people
Déjà Vu All Over Again
Moses performed miracles and promised redemption. But things got much worse before they got better. Is history repeating itself?
The Anatomy of a Leader
Moses was chosen to be the first Jewish leader because of the rare type of leadership he displayed.
When Sticks and Stones Break Bones, Jewish Names Save You
Jewish culture: How important is it to maintain?
What Do You Think?
Egypt and the 21st Century
Make use of your mental Photoshop program and insert yourself into the picture. You will be experiencing the drama along with the others; you will try to feel their pain and plight. Ready?
The Untold Story of Zipporah, Wife of Moses
In the Book of Exodus, we are introduced to Zipporah, the daughter of Jethro, wife of Moses and mother of their two sons, Gershom and Eliezer.
What the Rebbe Taught Me
A Courage Epidemic
But for the impossible to become possible, many things had to happen—not least of which was the spreading of the infectious human virtue we call courage.
A Teacher's Manual
What they needed, Moses thought, was was not a miracle, but a wake-up call... G‑d disagreed
The Origins of Moses' Name
It turns out that the name the Torah elected to call its key player was the one given him by Pharaoh's daughter... Why?
Of Hippies and Sheep
G‑d was looking for someone to lead His people. We know he chose Moses. The question is, why?
The Jewish Answer to Evil
“Who in their right mind could bring children into such a dark and turbulent world?”
Living through the Parshah
The Jewish "Law of Attraction"
I appreciated the empowering message of The Secret, but I also had some questions. Firstly, is “the universe” a new-age, neutral-sounding pseudo-name for G‑d . . . ?
Inner Stream
The Kabbalah of Anger
There is no question that during fits of temper one can take leave of his senses and do stupid, even violent, things. But how is it equivalent to idolatry, which denies the oneness of G-d?
Faith in Auschwitz
Where was G‑d during the Holocaust?
Insecure Aggression
Moses' Shoes
Why was Moses told to "remove your shoes from your feet" before approaching tha hallowed ground of the Burning Bush?
Rejecting the Enemy's Narrative
Recent wars have changed the narrative; we are convinced that terror groups are indefatigable. They seem able to withstand all attacks. Confidence slowly erodes as we repeatedly ask: Can we win?
Gossip: The Innocent Evil
Our ancestors worshipped idols and on occasion beat each other physically. Yet, none of this justified their suffering to Moses. But gossip, a seemingly relatively innocent sin, was sufficient to explain it.
A Thought for the Week
By Name and Number
Parshah Musings
Educating My Child on the Public Purse
Till that minute, my friends hadn’t even considered the possibility of sending both children to a Jewish school. They were hard-pressed to afford just one set of school fees.
Growing Up
The Weather Channel
“When you depend on the weather,” the old farmer would say, “everyone prays.”
And Yet I Believe
What's Wrong with Politicians?
There are two different types of failed politicians.
Public Speaking
Life is all about communication. It’s no good developing a message to share with the world if you haven’t developed the means with which to convey it.
Should I Be a Teacher?
Education is never going to be the best-paid profession, but I’ve always been excited at the thought of helping people to reach their potential.
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?
Why We Have Children
Having children is an act of faith: Faith that the world is going somewhere good. Faith that in our children's lifetimes it will be a better place than it is today. How do we know this, when there's so much evidence to the contrary? We just do
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...
Moses' Mother
Somewhere there is a boundary, a line that separates the near from the far, the within from the without. If you can straddle that line, if you can stand with one foot inside and the other foot outside, you can be both
Was Moses Ever Wrong?
Moses was absolutely sure about G-d. But he doubted his people.
Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?
It's probably the oldest question in the history of human thought. It's surely the most disturbing, the most frequently asked and the least satisfactorily answered. Why, oh why, do bad things happen to good people?
Parshah Recovery
A New Perspective
For the alcoholic and addict, the need to look at things from a new perspective is essential to recovery. The first admission of powerlessness requires an abandonment of our old view of ourselves.
Covenant & Conversation
The Light at the Heart of Darkness
She is one of the most unexpected heroes of the Hebrew Bible. Without her, Moses might not have lived. The whole story of the exodus would have been different. Yet she was not an Israelite. She had nothing to gain, and everything to lose, by her courage.
Who am I?
Leadership and the People
Turning Curses into Blessings
Where did it come from, this Jewish ability to turn weakness into strength, adversity into advantage, darkness into light?
Beyond Speech
The Burning Bush of Suffering
When there seems to be no fuel left, we remember that we have G‑d, and we burn bright and strong and are not consumed.
On the Haftarah: Plant Now, Benefit Later
For the haftarah of Shemot, From the Teachings of the Rebbe
The transformation from a small seed to a large tree is exponentially great; the same is true about our service in exile.
Unity is the Key to the Redemption
It seems that Moses felt that lashon hara alone was enough to hold off the redemption from Egypt. Why?
"They Made Their Lives Bitter"
How to Be Truly Free
The true life of a Jew is not his or her physical life, but his or her spiritual life.
The Freeman Files
Speak As One
No one listens to rebuke unless they believe that you love them.
Moses Inside
In each one of us, a spark of Moses glows, showing us the way out of our slavery to mortar and bricks.
The darkness of night sets the stage for a new dawn.
A Time of Silence
Silence is G-d's way of saying something big is about to happen.
Truly Humble
You don’t have to ignore your achievements to be humble.
Delusions of Anger
From Above pours down only love, an infinite love that neither subsides nor changes.
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