Parshah Columnists

Guest Columnists
Taking the High Ground
When you’re faced with a challenge and you’re feeling beaten down by the pressure, remember: you’re better than that.
Squabbles vs. Civil Disagreements
Even if we feel it necessary to take another person to court, ensure it remains a “case” and does not descend into a “quarrel.”
Weighty Matters
Remind yourself of what truly matters, which things in life contain real value and which matters are more transient.
The Cry of the Holy Sparks
A mystical interpretation of the law of the "beautiful captive"
What If You Mess Up?
What divorce teaches about marriage
Many of the Torah’s laws of marriage are derived from the passage (Deuteronomy 24:1–4) legislating divorce. Isn’t that kinda . . . strange?
Why Was Miriam Punished So Harshly?
I’ve been reading the biblical story where Miriam speaks ill about her brother Moses, and her punishment seems completely disproportionate to her “crime.”
Vinegar for the Soul
For survivors of trauma, the ability to let go of frightful memories is essential to the healing process.
Respecting the Earth, and Our Part in It
Well before environmental spokespeople were echoing a call for greater sensitivity towards the planet planet, G‑d had formulated the concept
Beautiful Women on the Battlefield and the Power of 'No'
Torah doesn’t permit us to have whatever we want just because we want it.
10 Facts to Know About War and Judaism
Some wars were Divinely ordained, for reasons known to G-d alone. Others were necessary for self-defense or other purposes. The ultimate goal, however, is for the world to be at peace.
Waging The Battles of G-d
When you go out to wage war against your enemies, and G-d, your G-d, will deliver them into your hands and you will take captives… (Deut. 21:10)
What Is the Secret to Winning?
When challenges come your way, you can confront them head-on. Better, however, is to come down upon them from above.
On Attempting to "Understand" Torah
An Essay on Ki Teitzei
One end of the Torah is here on earth and the other end is in heaven, and it is on this bridge that G-d wants us to walk.
Free Choice, Causality and the Person Who Fell Off a Roof
To what extent do Divine providence, free choice, and cause-and-effect intersect? Or do they?
Torah Insights
The Three Forms of Betrothal
Judaism’s perspective and insight into the profound meaning, beauty, romance and mystery of marriage can be discovered by exploring the meaning behind the seemingly technical details of the law.
The Inner Woman of Beautiful Form
One of the most puzzling commandments in the Torah is the commandment that opens this week's Torah portion.
Field or Vineyard?
The world is an often chaotic field; we were placed on this earth to “work” it—to create order out of the chaos, to discover the fertility hidden within the earth, to plant and to harvest, and ultimately to bring the world to perfection.
Weekly Sermonette
Why Must I Work at My Marriage?
Isn’t Love Natural?
In the real world we don’t just ride into the sunset and live happily ever after.
How Much Does It Cost Me?
“Oh Rabbi, but I just built a new house with eighteen rooms. Do you realize how much the mezuzahs are going to cost?!”
Who Needs Anti-Semites?
There is nothing superfluous in G‑d’s world. So what is the purpose of an anti-Semite? Just that—to remind Jews that they are Jewish!
DIY Destiny
If that person was in fact pre-ordained to fall, why am I at fault just because it happened in my house? Why am I responsible for the fulfillment of his destiny? Why should his blood be on my hands?
Progress and Prevention
Any new endeavor requires checks and balances to ensure it remains safe.
Parshah Moment
The Divorce Mindset
When the body is facing death you use the tourniquet; otherwise it does more damage than good
Life's Passages
A Successful Entrepreneur Shares Her Secret
Ki Teitzei
In order to succeed and avoid being dragged into life’s many distractions, we must remain sufficiently removed from them.
Who Are You Fighting Today?
3 Steps to Victory
Mother and Nest
Ki Teitzei
When the mother bird is driven from her nest, she cries bitterly for her brood.
For Friday Night
Choosing the Battle of Life
On a profound level, each of our souls has chosen to be here. Each has chosen the battle of life
No Temporary Marriage
Did G‑d enter into marriage with His people knowing that it would end in divorce? Isn’t marriage sacred?!
Where Is the Reward?
A basic principle of Jewish belief is that G‑d rewards us when we carry out His commands. G‑d will “do good to you, and give you length of days.” But does it always work like this?
Parshah Musings
Engaging the Whole Person
If you want to uplift someone spiritually, you've got to minister to the whole person.
Beyond Labels
We all need to improve. We all have failings that hold us back, but that’s not a reason to label ourselves in relation to our Judaism.
Keep the Faith
Once you’ve rolled off the bed, how much of the “Modeh Ani” do you take with you? So you spent eight seconds admitting that you owe your life to G‑d. Does that really affect the rest of the day?
That New Car Smell
Too often we build the house and assume that the “and they lived happily ever after” will just automatically happen.
Parshah Messages
Embrace Your Inner Ice
On Fighting Ice with Ice
How do we fight inner coldness? Well, the most obvious antidote to ice is heat. With enough heat you could melt a glacier. But there's another way...
Parshah Blog
Living through the Parshah
Outreach or Self-Promotion?
There are houses made of bricks, and houses built of effort and accomplishment. One can “build” up a friend to be a solid edifice of G‑d-centered living, or build a network that develops into an oasis of spirituality.
Who Cares?
Here was a nation that had experienced the greatest miracles of all time: the ten plagues, the splitting of the Red Sea and the manna. And yet they were not impervious to the plague of doubt . . .
Inner Stream
My Business With G‑d
A tallit meditation
As I draw out each string, I think of the things I will do in the day that stretches out before me and ask myself: are these things my business or G‑d’s?
The Three Stages of Marriage
Marriages are notorious for one-line zingers, but we tell them with a twinkle, because as much as we mean them, we really don’t, and as much as we don’t mean them, we really do.
The Wayward Son
The experience of life as a war between two impulses is normal. It is the way G‑d intended it. However, to gain the upper hand in this struggle requires a superhuman effort, an act made possible only by the grace of G‑d.
Reaching the Author
Why, they asked, did the Torah sometimes engage in completely hypothetical hyperbole? So that it can be made great and glorious.
A Noble Purpose
The Skeptic
The skeptic can destroy, in an instant, understandings and commitments that take years to establish. What makes it difficult to contend with is his imperviousness to argument or debate. This is the spirit of the Biblical Amalek...
Does the Torah Punish a Rape Victim?
s it true that the Torah requires rape victims to marry their rapists, and the only punishment to the rapist is a fifty-shekel fine paid to the victim’s father?
What Do You Think?
Get Out of Class!
Yes, it's true that life is a classroom, but not always must you be the student!
What the Rebbe Taught Me
Marriage in Jewish thought is not two people working together towards the same cause; it is the merging of two beings into one.
Weekly Torah
Winning the War
Helping the Fall Guy
If the person is going to fall anyway, why should I have to take reponsibility?
Our Enemies, Our Selves
"Know your enemy" is often the key to knowing yourself. And knowing yourself is always the key to defeating your enemies...
Going and Coming
We are all warriors, for we each harbor the conviction that we were born to make a difference
The Value of Life
Placing an infinite value on every human life means an utter rejection of any "scale" by which to quantify and qualify its worth.
Jewish Guilt
A caricature of neurotic self-absorption, or the most encouraging and optimistic perspective of reality in the history of human awareness?
When to Get Divorced
According to the School of Shammai, if your spouse is unfaithful; according to the School of Hillel, a burnt supper is grounds; Rabbi Akiva says, "even if he found another more beautiful than she."
Love is the hallmark of Judaism; some of us even claim that we taught that word to the world. This Shabbat, however, we will stand in our synagogues and listen to a reading from the Torah that tells us to hate.
Parshah Recovery
Accidental Spirituality
Certain opportunities exist that are so sublime that they cannot be evoked through a conscious act. They are so holy that we do not have the power to make them happen. They have to come along on their own.
Covenant & Conversation
Social Capital and Fallen Donkeys
Letting Go of Hate
Moses delivers a command so counterintuitive that we have to read it twice to make sure we have heard it correctly . . .
Beyond Speech
On the Haftarah: The Barren Woman and the Waters of Noah
For the haftarah of Ki Teitzei, From the Teachings of the Rebbe
The haftarah begins: “Sing, barren one who has not given birth.” Who is the “barren one”?
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.
The Inner Meaning of the Fallen Donkey
Many view those less observant than them negatively. They may ignore them or even worse, tell them off and denigrate them.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Don’t think that quarreling with a friend is OK. Ultimately, it will escalate . . .
Making a Parapet
Every verse in the Torah is meant to be understood on many levels. When we look deeper into this verse, we can learn lessons that apply to all of us, even to someone who doesn’t own a house.
The Freeman Files
The Fair Maiden's Hero
Call out from the depths of your heart, and the depths of heaven ring.
Limit the Sky
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