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Parshah Columnists

Guest Columnists
Rain’s Spiritual Significance Revealed
Rainfall is not a random occurrence. It’s a blessing that comes directly from G-d.
Be Like a Bee!
Like the bee who buzzes around and collects nectar, we, too, are tasked with moseying about and collecting sweet things.
What Makes You Happy and Why?
Joy is considered a must for true mitzvah observance, and we are encouraged to find ways to stay happy.
Can You Bribe G‑d?
What does the question even mean? How would one “bribe” the Creator anyway?
Keep Your ‘Why’ Nearby
What is your “why,” how will you keep it nearby, and how will you honor the shared cultures of your life?
The Dwarf and the Giant
Just as in ancient times, the modern giant has continued to threaten the dwarf for over sixty years. Yet time and again, the dwarf emerges victorious . . .
When Love Grows From Fear
Many spirited debates have been held on the necessity of fearing the Almighty. Many feel that only love is needed, and associate fear as a negative emotion in relation to G-d.
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?
Born on Top of the Mountain
It is easy to feel that we own our achievements. Charity? It's my money! Gratitude? For what? This is all my work!
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.
If G‑d wants us to "perform the true service simply because it is true," why does He distract us with promises of recompense? Is it a proper to give someone an incentive if it's essentially not in his or her best interest?
Wedding Speeches for Eikev
Torah Insights
Bread From Earth, Blessings From Heaven
Why on earth do we thank G‑d with a blessing about bread from the heavens? The bread we eat, bread grown from the ground with great investment of toil and time, is categorically different from the manna in the desert, which miraculously descended from the heavens each morning of their 40-year sojourn.
Weekly Sermonette
The Little Moses in You
In every Jewish soul there exists a spark of Moses. And in every generation, there is a Moses who imparts that inspiration to the people of his time.
Me, You and Us
Is it Reb Yisroel or Am Yisroel?
Bread, Bucks, and Making a Living
Man does not live by bread alone. A famous line, but what does it mean?
Life's Passages
No Free Rides
By struggling to improve our moral character, we become more accomplished beings.
My Perfect Pair of Heels
You wouldn’t think that something so small and so low down would actually have such an impact. But think again.
For Friday Night
Dynamic Judaism
Are there "minor issues" in Judaism? That depends if you view your Jewish identity as a static state, or as a dynamic system
Not On Bread Alone
"Grace After Meals" - an overview
What the Rebbe Taught Me
The Rhyme of No Reason
Our verse implies that our unconditional connection with G‑d is itself conditional! Can that be right?
Parshah Messages
The Challenge of Scripted Prayers
Can a person’s relationship with his Creator be expressed in a scripted prayer? Is it possible to dictate the feelings one should be conveying to G-d?
The Battle: Then and Now
The Canaanites are powerful, yet we should not fear them, Moses pleads. What relevance does this enjoinder have in the 21st century?
Parshah Musings
Manna, Food of Starvation
It’s understandable that if you had to rely on a daily miracle to eat, you’d always feel hungry.
Save the Orphans
How could the rabbi claim to be supporting orphans with this money?
Finding Your Fortune
Isn't it strange how just because someone is wealthy there is a widespread perception that they are automatically imbued with all other attributes as well?
Of Eating Meat and Honesty in Business
I had two arguments this week, one with a vegetarian and the second with a businessman. The crazy part was that my position was the same each time and I even quoted the same verse of Torah to prove it.
The Difference Between Praying and Eating
The primary focus of our interactions with others should be to ensure that they have food to eat and to welcome them to our tables.
After We Eat
When we’re hungry we generally have no difficulty remembering G‑d; when we need things from Him, we always remember to ask.
Living through the Parshah
How the Forbes 400 Compare to an African Tribe
It seems that the old adage “money can’t buy happiness” has some truth to it. Although wealth has as much as tripled over the past fifty years, mental illness has increased at an equal rate.
Heads or Heels?
It’s the dull and ugly work that cultivates the lowest turf, dragging down the awareness of G‑d to the lowest plane and helping Him to fulfill His desire.
Why I Banned Internet for My Kids
As much as I try to be vigilant, the transitions on the Web are so smooth, and the options are so tempting, that it’s too hard to monitor what the kids pull up.
Parshah Moment
Rocks and Diamonds
“Oh, you little boy,” said the man, resting his free hand on the little boy’s shoulder, “you don’t know what it’s like to have to schlep rocks. When you’ll be big like me, you’ll be happy with a little oven too.”
What Do You Think?
Careful What You Think!
What we have is a bunch of leaders who take special courses on how "not to say what you think, rather what is acceptable," and to "never ever verbalize your bigotry for there might be a secret recording device under your chair."
Parshah Blog
The Carved Images of Their Gods
If we accept the premise that people in the ancient world were easily enticed to worship idols, G‑d's command to destroy the idols makes perfect sense...
Weekly Torah
The Little Things
Of course, a large number of small quantities add up to a much larger quantity. But there is also another reason why the "small details" are so important...
The Secret of Success
“How do you know that your livelihood is in front of you,” asked Rabbi Levi Yitzchak, “and you are running to catch up with it? Maybe it is behind you, and you are actually running further away from it!”
Inner Stream
Habitude of Gratitude: Grace After Meals
When we awaken in the morning, we express words of gratitude, before and after we eat, once again gratitude. Before we go to sleep, some more gratitude.
Transforming our Desert
It is an axiom of Jewish faith that G-d does not perform a miracle in vain. So why this 40-year transformation of the natural order, when G-d could have simply led our ancestors directly into the Promised Land?
Unsatisfied or Unfulfilled?
The manna was more nourishment of soul than of body, and many Jews were left unsatisfied
A Question of Emphasis
Is a mitzvah an offering to G-d by the Jew or a offering to the Jew by G-d?
Man and Bread
Why does man gain sustenance from lower life forms?
Be Strong
Should you follow the herd and do what is popular, or buck the trend and do what is right for you?
The Freeman Files
Our Daily Bread
Meditations on earning a living
The common conception of how the system works is faulty. People see a career as "making a living." But a career doesn't "make" anything
Wheat & Dates
The sweetest fruits of life take the longest to mature.
The Meaning of Making Money
If life is full of meaning, why am I spending it hustling other people for their money?
In the Land of Because
Try to imagine life without the word “because.”
The Myth of the Self-Made Man
America has spawned many wonderful myths. The most wonderful thing about these myths is that they can be made true. There is, however, one American myth that is very dangerous, particularly for us Jews.
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?
Parshah Recovery
Self-Respect -- Not Self-Reliance
We must never forget that life started to become more manageable only after we admitted that we were powerless. If any good has happened since then, it is not as a result of anything we have done...
Covenant & Conversation
Listen, Really Listen
When we speak, we tell others who and what we are. But when we listen, we allow others to tell us who they are.
The Spirituality of Listening
It is through the word – speaking and listening – that we can have an intimate relationship with G‑d as our parent, our partner, our sovereign, the One who loves us and whom we love.
The Politics of Memory
In Eikev Moses sets out a political doctrine of such wisdom that it can never become redundant or obsolete. He does it by way of a pointed contrast between the ideal to which Israel is called, and the danger with which it is faced.
Beyond Speech
Happiness Is Perspective
Many of us struggle with happiness, dissatisfied with the hand we’ve been dealt. But it’s all based on our perspective and perception.
On the Haftarah: We Want G-d
For the haftarah of Eikev, From the Teachings of the Rebbe
Sometimes, you can feel alone even when you are with the one you love . . .
What Does G-d Want?
Since G‑d can’t be seen, it is possible to occasionally forget that He is here.
The Meaning of Eikev
The message of of Eikev is to take a different approach to mitzvahs: Defy our yetzer hara and do the mitzvahs because they are G‑d’s will.
What Happens When We Go Beyond the Natural
How does Rashi know that the blessing in Eikev is within nature and the blessing in Bechukotai is above nature?
What Is the Value of a Mitzvah?
He argues, "first I have to make sure that the head is in order.” First the strict mitzvot, then the less strict mitzvot.
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