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Parshah Columnists

Guest Columnists
Shemitah: A Deeper Look
Who could say, “No thank you, I don’t want to plug into the full meaning of the universe”?
Why Does G-d Send Us False Prophets?
Why would G-d need to send a prophet to test us and find out what He surely already knows?
Why Was the Holy Temple Built on a Slope?
The Tabernacle with which the Israelites sojourned through the desert was entirely level, why would the Temple in Jerusalem need to be different?
Love Is Never Blind
A moment of clarity is a gift. To sustain clarity, on the other hand, is a conscious choice.
Believing Is Seeing
Perception has come to be synonymous with reality, but perception depends less on what we see than who we are.
Chewing It Over
Why would anyone feel euphoric just because they can see where the floor in their kids’ room is? Men might chalk it up to insanity, or to simply being one of those girl things, but I prefer to attribute it to spiritual sensitivity . . .
Sweeten Your Marriage with Dream Power
As a marriage therapist, I advise clients to take the time to actively engage in positive daydreams about their marriage. Create positive visual images has a tremendous affect.
Count Down to Charity
The wealthy fellow politely explained how he would love to give but can’t, because he already gave his share of charity for the year . . .
Judaism and Vegetarianism
For better or for worse, meat is an undeniable favorite on the kosher menu. Is this good? Let’s have a look . . .
Name of the Parshah - Re'eh
What, exactly, is the Torah demanding in asking us to “see” G‑d’s blessings and curses?
The Most for the Least
What better way to integrate my learning than to think about its implications in everyday life?
Wedding Speeches for Re’ei
Where Is Your Private Little Jerusalem?
Jerusalem belongs to the holy geography of the Land of Israel. Jerusalem is also to be found outside the Land of Israel, outside geography.
Dealing With Monotony
Generation after generation disregards what is old, what their parents have known, sometimes even what humanity has known to date, and searches instead for the novel and unknown.
Beware the Inner ‘Yes-Man’
Internal voices compete for our ears, and countless other external voices chime in as well.
The Power of Seeing: The Path to Blessing and Personal Growth
To cultivate real change that lasts, we must be willing to see ourselves clearly—not through the lens of the past but as we appear right now.
Torah Insights
Why Didn’t G-d Specify the Location of the Holy Temple?
Moses spent 40 years teaching Torah and passing on the mitzvot with intricate detail. He transmitted the highly detailed laws of the sacrifices, including everything from which types of animals may be used to the location on the Temple where the animals should be offered. Yet the place where all this would happen is undisclosed.
Why the Soul Loves the Body
Body and soul are opposites. The soul wants nothing more than to escape heavenward, to leave its existence in this world and reunite with its Infinite Source. The body, on the other hand, seeks to experience an earthly life full of earthly pleasures.
Multi-Layered Festivals
In Judaism, the natural and the miraculous are not a dichotomy
Weekly Sermonette
Appreciate Your Blessings
Whether your life is a blessing or a curse can depend more on your own perspective than on the hard realities on the ground.
The Tests of Life
If you thought life’s tests were over when you finished school, guess again.
Virtue, Vice and Vision
"He's stingy; Me? I'm just careful about how I spend my money..." "She's stubborn as an ox! Me? I am a determined person..."
The Good Life
Does a moral life equal good fortune? Do things always go right for you if you're a "religious" person?
What the Rebbe Taught Me
The Philanthropic Pauper
"Everyone is obligated to give charity. Even people supported by charity must contribute from what they receive." A law that seems radical on the one hand, and absurd on the other...
A Poor Man's Gift
Jewish wisdom sees the saving of physical life and the giving of spiritual life as two sides of the same coin of charity. To some we give dollars, to others we give sense.
Life's Passages
Both Mother and Father
Re'eh
“You are children to the L-rd your G-d.” If we are children to G-d, what is G-d to us?
Parshah Musings
Jews with a Heart Condition
Is it enough to feel deeply, passionately, and proudly about being Jewish, while not doing all that much on a regular basis, or do you have to do mitzvahs to be counted as a full member of the tribe?
What We're Up Against
No scores should be kept (teaches inequality). Remove the goal posts (encourages short-term, selfish-oriented behavior), and put all the kids on one team...
The View from Below
“Rebbe, I don’t understand,” the disciple asked. “When you were here, your prayers protected us. But now that you are in heaven—and your spiritual power is even greater—all these terrible things are happening . . .”
Protection Money
We give charity, and pray for health, wealth and a good year. Are we "bribing" G-d?
For Friday Night
From Manna to Meat
Life can be seen as operating in two modes: immersion in the spiritual, and entry into the world and involvement with it
Weekly Torah
Pointing the Finger
You Are What You Eat
The food we consume affects us on a soul-level, influencing our character and affecting our natural tendencies
Don't Be a Stranger
One of the birds which is described in this week's reading is the chassidah, the stork, regarding which the Talmud tells us, "she is benevolent toward her own kind." So why isn't thechassidah kosher?
Living through the Parshah
Why Do Good Things Happen to Bad People?
Why would G‑d back up the false prophet by validating his prediction? Why would G‑d reward an immoral person with success? It makes us doubt the validity of our own moral compass.
The Kabbalah of the Ecosystem
For a human to act like an animal is not only a pathetic squander of talent, but a disservice to animals who expect to become part of a higher unit through us...
Parshah Messages
Freedom of Choice: Natural or Supernatural?
Does the human being really enjoy freedom of choice? Is there really a difference between the human and all other creatures which G-d created, which are bound by their G-d-given nature—for better or worse?
Loan Amnesty
The Sabbatical year is associated with two mitzvot: 1) The land must be left unplowed and fallow. 2) All personal debts are canceled. There is a connection between these two precepts.
What Do You Think?
"Take Out a Dollar and Give Me the Rest"
So, at the risk of ending my career, I would like to share with you a wonderful piece of news: The world is becoming a very generous place. You want proof?
Through the Eyes of a Woman
Inner Stream
Cleaving to G-d
The Sacred Barbecue
The next time you attend a backyard barbecue and see the meat sizzling on the grill, know that your soul is salivating as well.
Smiles on Loan
The truest form of charity is to provide without discrimination. This means that we leave it to the poor to decide what is important and what is not.
Charity from the Heart
I have a confession. I can’t stand to be thanked for giving charity. I just hate it when the person to whom I gave a dollar heaps lifelong blessings on me.
Animals First
The Torah requires that we feed our animals ahead of ourselves. Wake up and feed Spot before indulging in your breakfast.
The Lonely Sock
Living life just to serve myself isn’t just missing out on half of life’s equation. It’s worse, it’s a hollow lie.
Parshah Blog
The Jewish "Slave"
Now, the term slave conjures horrible images of unfairness and maltreatment, and rightfully so. In light of the above, therefore, to translate "eved" as a slave would totally misconstrue the reality...
Parshah Moment
Too Much Good
We have too much good in this world. More people are suffering from overeating than under eating. Yes, yes you can't leave something on your plate without thinking of the starving children in India
The Freeman Files
Why On Earth Do We Need a Third Temple?
The Third Temple is not a building, but a state of harmony between G-d, humanity, and nature.
What's So Terrible About Idolatry?
I don't mean massive temples with human sacrifices. What about a civilized idolater, in the privacy of his own home? What's so terrible?
What Gives Us the Right to Kill Animals?
From man I expect good and bad. From G-d I expected only good. Until I learned about the animal sacrifices. Apparently G-d actually wants them. Imagine, a place set aside for slaughter -- in a temple!
When Blessings Come Cloaked in Darkness
A distillation of the Rebbe's talk on Jewish indignation, 1966.
Moses on Addiction
It takes courage and strength to change the course of generations.
Seven times the Torah warns the Jews who have left Egypt, “Quit it with the animal blood already!” To this second generation Moses says, “Be strong, and don’t consume blood.”
Comment
The Eye of the Soul
"Blessing" is a very important word. So is "Curse", "You" and "Today". But the most important word in the sentence is the three-letter verb that opens the parshah: "See"
A Choice of Choices
There is good and there is evil, blessing and curse, light and darkness; now choose. Not much of a choice, is it? So what's all this talk about "freedom of choice"?
It's Not Easy To Be a Son
Try ignoring your parents. Not only is it possible -- it often feels right and necessary. After all, they let you do it. Sometimes they even seem to want you to...
Holy Lunch
Have you ever closed a deal, celebrated your marriage (or its anniversary), or simply spent time with a good friend—without eating something together? Why do our teeth, gullet and stomach figure so prominently in who, how, where and with whom we are?
Parshah Recovery
The Purpose of Our Disease
In choosing recovery over active addiction, we are not battling between two equal opposing forces. It's nothing more than a choice that exists in order to give meaning to our lives as sober people.
More Parshah Articles
The Holy Temple: an Anthology
What was the Holy Temple? Why was it destroyed? Do we have anything like it today? Do we really want to see it rebuilt and bring back those animal sacrifices? Seventeen essays, articles and stories on the holiest place on earth
Charity: an Anthology
How to give, how to receive, what it means, what it does, the cosmic significance, a dialog with the moon, and ramblings on stress and love...
How to Kosher
Eating Jewishly
What is kosher? How to keep kosher? What does it mean? All that and more, including stories, essays, videos and classes.
Covenant & Conversation
Collective Joy
Why does Moses emphasize joy specifically in the book of Deuteronomy?
On Not Being a Victim
How can you be a victim and yet not see yourself as a victim without being guilty of denial, or deliberate forgetfulness, or wishful thinking?
The Deep Power of Joy
Joy is not the first word that naturally comes to mind when we think of the severity of Judaism as a moral code or the tear-stained pages of Jewish history.
The Politics of Freedom
Jews were the first to believe that an entire nation could govern itself in freedom and equal dignity. This has nothing to do with political structures, and everything to do collective moral responsibility.
Defining Reality
Who are we? Where are we? What are we trying to achieve and what kind of people do we aspire to be? These are the questions leaders help the group ask and answer.
Beyond Speech
Don the Haftarah: Do You Know What a 'Kadkod' Is?
For the haftarah of Re'eh, From the Teachings of the Rebbe
There are precious stones that produce their own light from within. Then there are others that reflect light.
Choose Your Relatives
Hidden Good
Chosen and Sanctified
Before G‑d chose the place for the Temple, anyone could have an altar in his backyard and bring offerings there whenever he wanted to.
You Have to Flee to Elul
The month of Elul is the city of refuge, separating himself from his sinful ways, from his desires.
Eat Meat and Have a Sweet Year and Nachas
The purpose of doing mitzvot, with physical objects, in a physical place, and at a physical time (as time is also a creation that only exists in the physical world), is to refine the physical and infuse it with G‑dliness, making it into a home for the Creator. But when did this start?
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