Parshah Columnists

Guest Columnists
Why Saying a Blessing Makes a Difference
Nothing is yours and everything is yours at the same time, so there’s really nothing to be concerned about.
Why G‑d Didn’t Put the Courts Over the Priests
Rashi’s comment at the very beginning of our Torah portion seems over complicated.
Abandoned Mitzvahs
Must the “right” or “good” thing always be hard, or is a quick fix just as good?
Judges and Kindergartens
Government and the idea of education in the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
These two protocols are now at war, with western civilization (human rights) on one side, and the world of Islam (subjugation of the individual to the supreme will of Allah) on the other. Where does Judaism stand?
Language of the Soul
Seven words—kindness, discipline, compassion, endurance, humility, connection and dignity—which enable us to explain to our children the nuances of our drives, motives and actions.
How Do You Breed a Gentleman?
The maturity and confidence of an adult psyche can be gauged by its ability to face criticism. Yet, criticism may not be the best method for cultivating this maturity in the child.
Four Organs and a Hand
Wedding Speeches for Emor
The Quest for Perfection
An Essay on Parshat Emor
G‑d requires of those who do His will a level of completeness, and not only from a spiritual standpoint.
Weekly Sermonette
Holy Matrimony?
If the Torah tells us that a particular union is not kosher, rather than resenting the interference we should consider it as if the Almighty Himself came down and whispered a word of loving advice in our ears: "Trust me; this one is not right for you..."
Ambassadors Wanted
Generally, today, the concept of Kiddush Hashem, sanctifying the name of G-d, is observed not by dying as Jews but by living as Jews
Life is a Picture Postcard . . .
We start with a large scrawl, but before we know it, space is running out and the script gets smaller and smaller, and then we’re winding our words around the edges of the card to get it all in . . .
It Can't Be Taught, Only Caught!
Only authenticity works and regenerates. Everything else will fail, sooner or later.
Life's Passages
In Search of Balance
Sara wonders about this feminine need for “balance.”
Parshah Musings
You Talking About Me?
Man's essence is a mass of conflicting unrealized emotions. Give a nudge in a positive--or negative-- direction and the flow-on effects can be remarkable
Say That Again, Please
How many great philosophical systems have disappeared, how many revivalist movements have petered out because insufficient attention was accorded to initiating the young into the beauty and purpose of their elders' existence....
The Kohen Gene
Generation after generation of Jewish women were faithful to their husbands and their tradition. What a proud record of fidelity. Geneticists describe these results as "the highest record of paternity-certainty ever recorded"!
Can I Have Some Food, Please?
So you said a blessing and asked G-d for some of His food—did you get an answer? Isn’t it still His, no matter how nicely you asked? What does muttering a few Hebrew words before partaking really accomplish?
Todah: Showing Gratitude
We generally don’t really appreciate that which we have until there’s a risk of losing it.
Are Your Kids Good-Looking?
Would parents still love their children if they didn’t think they were intelligent and beautiful and talented?
For Friday Night
Catching Up With Ourselves
Over the past century we have experienced a great leap forward of technological progress. Now it's time to catch up with ourselves...
Speak Praise!
So we can ask: What is this word “Speak!” telling us to do? To speak about what? When and why should we speak?
Parshah Messages
Lighting Up the Table
The menorah symbolizes our spiritual needs, and the table is a metaphor for our material needs. But there is a connection between the two . . .
Parshah Blog
The Disqualified Kohen
This week I discovered that my teacher was correct. It is indeed true that the disabled have greater merit than the rest of us . . .
Living through the Parshah
The Price of Spiritual Growth
Chassidic teachings unveil the pathology of “spirituality without sacrifice” through a fascinating halachic analysis. It revolves around the issue of kosher grain.
Giving G-d Your Challenges
Anyone who has tried to work through a character flaw will concede that it is very difficult. And even if there seems to be a shift today, how can I know that tomorrow won’t bring back the same old demon?
What the Rebbe Taught Me
Child Priests
Diligent and up-to-date parents might want to consider a relatively recent fundamental and sweeping innovation in the field of education, made available to us by Rabbi Shalom DovBer of Lubavitch when he was but four or five years old...
Educating Educators
The Who, When, and What of Education
Is a student ever too far gone? and other questions. Some Divine tips for education.
What Do You Think?
No, I Don’t Want to Hear Ahmadinejad’s Opinions
Sometimes I wonder if the open-minded loyalists aren’t in truth closed minded. They cannot entertain the thought that the “old-schoolers” had anything right...
Reflections on the Parshah
The Purpose of Freedom
The holidays of Passover and Shavuot are connected to each other by the Omer Counting period. This reveals to us the nature of freedom, and its dependence on Torah.
Torah for Now
Grain, Growth and Goodness
We are inclined to believe that all intellectual and artistic endeavors are inherently positive. There are those who would argue that untrammeled intellectual and artistic expression is itself a fundamental good . . .
A Thought for the Week
Six Days Shall Work Be Done
Don't Get Lost in the Crowd
The commandment to count the Omer is an mitzvah upon every individual -- as opposed to a communal obligation. This tells us something about the nature of our relationship with Torah.
Inner Stream
Of Sevens and Eights
The Dancing Jew
The dance pace at a chassidic wedding is intense, but the selection is pretty much standard: the hora, the hora and yet another version of the hora . . .
Rebuke Them with Love
Why does G‑d test some more severely than others? Living a moral lifestyle is relatively easy for some; why did they luck out, and why are the others so severely tested?
Weekly Torah
A Shining Example
The word "to warn" in Hebrew (l'hazhir) comes from the same word as "to shine"
Do We Lie to Our Children?
Even if we manage to avoid saying outright untruths, there seems to be something intrinsically dishonest in the process we call “education.”
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
What is freedom? What can be done with it? Nothing, unless we open the treasure chest and count its contents.
Parshah Recovery
The Reward of Teaching
One should not fool oneself into believing that by answering the Twelfth Step's call to "carry the message" that he is somehow making a sacrifice for the benefit of others.
More Parshah Articles
Education: an Anthology
The scratch in the seedling... The art of toddling... A Yeshivah in Egypt... The benefits of being stupid when you're old... and fourteen other stories, insights and essays on education
Covenant & Conversation
Three Versions of Shabbat
Holy Times
We are spiritual beings but we are also physical beings. We cannot be spiritual, close to G‑d, all the time. That is why there is secular time as well as holy time.
Eternity and Mortality
Then there is the exclusion of a Kohen who had a physical blemish—blind or lame, had a deformed nose or misshapen limb, a crippled leg or hand, a hunchback or a dwarf. Why?
Faith as a Journey
What was truly remarkable about the wilderness years was not that the Israelites were surrounded by the clouds of glory, but that they were an entire nation without a home or houses; they were like nomads without a place of refuge.
On Not Being Afraid of Greatness
Embedded in this week’s Parshah are two of the most fundamental commands of Judaism—commands that touch on the very nature of Jewish identity.
Beyond Speech
Sefirat HaOmer and Prayer: Unfinished Business
When a new will is drawn into the world, it affects all of existence.
To Speak Nicely
When You Can Not Understand G-d's Ways
My first thought was: “My heart is broken, I just can’t understand. I don’t want to understand. Why, G‑d, do you continually break us?”
Giving the First to G‑d
A commentary on the haftarah of Emor
Torah Insights
Don't (Just) Celebrate Your Anniversary
Judaism does not believe in an anniversary as merely a celebration of the past.
The Holiday of Weeks
Why is the Torah silent about the date of the most important event in its history?
Show Me the Dough!
Our relationship with bread is the model for our interaction with all aspects of the world around us.
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