ESSAYS

Who New?

I once took a young Russian Jew to shul. Although she was twenty-four, she had never seen or met a rabbi before. When I opened the aron kodesh and showed her the contents, I watched her expression as she gazed at the scrolls through ever widening eyes. Suddenly, I too saw them again for the first time; my familiarity had been stolen from me. That’s when I remembered: sifrei Torah are stunningly beautiful.

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Forget the Shidduch Crisis

Recently, I let slip that I had made 55 shidduchim. Now I am not a shadchan, and I only make shidduchim if I know the boy and girl well as my talmidim, but nonetheless, when someone told someone who told someone the number of couples that are happily married through my arrangement, I became a Media Matchmaker. I was interviewed on a secular radio program recently, and then calls came flooding in for me to speak about the topic elsewhere.

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What Rhymes With Imbecile?

As America geared up for the recent election, the highlight was the clash of the candidates in their TV debates. In one of the exchanges, Governor Romney said, “Of course rules of fairness have to be enforced, for what other safeguards do we have except the Press?”

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To Be or Not to Be

One Shabbos morning, when my oldest son was a little boy, we walked together to shul. We discussed the sidrah, which was Ki Sisa. I told him, “Moshe was told to count the Jewish people by counting coins they were to give.” He listened as I continued, “You must always count Jews indirectly, like when we count to see if we have a minyan in shul.”

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Chanukah, and When Life Grows Dark

Sometimes other kids have things we wish we had, like bigger homes or nicer cars. Some have richer parents or parents who are more “cool.” But lots of kids are very lucky without even knowing it. These are kids with both parents. Their lives were never turned upside down or their world torn apart.

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Out of the Darkness

Everyone knows that one of the reasons we sit in a sukkah is to recall the miraculous clouds that surrounded and protected the Jews in the desert after leaving Egypt. So why don’t we celebrate it as part of Passover?

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Kill the Head and the Body Dies

It was a beautiful fall day as I drove. I had been asked to be a guest speaker at a Shabbaton and was scheduled to speak four times. The town I was heading to had two shuls, one of which was hosting me. When I arrived, the shul’s rabbi confided in me that the Shabbaton had generated huge controversy.

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The Age of Zionism

Four years ago I received a very unusual invitation indeed. The Church of England in Manchester, England, was organizing a conference on the subject of “Conflict resolution on campus.” Chaplains and counselors from all faiths were invited to attend and there were to be three keynote lectures. I was asked to give one entitled “The new anti-Semitism.”

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Will Reuven and Shimon Ever Speak to Each Other?

I attended a session at the recent Agudas Yisroel Conference where the first words of Kovetz Maamorim were repeatedly discussed. In it, Rav Elchonon Wasserman zt’l quotes the Rambam who writes in Sefer Hamitzvos the following words, “The first mitzvah is to know and believe in Hakodosh Boruch Hu.”

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Five Rings and a Surprise

In 1912 Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who founded the modern Olympic Games, explained the symbolism of the Olympic flag: “[T]he six colors [including the flag’s white background] thus combined reproduce the colors of all the nations, with no exception.”

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Rabbi Y Y Rubinstein has thrilled audiences from Jerusalem to Manchester and Johannesburg to Los Angeles. There are two reasons for his success. One is a mastery of sources in Jewish philosophy and his understanding of contemporary events. The other is his unique delivery…If you have the opportunity to benefit from his wisdom…do not miss it!

Rabbi Professor Dovid Gottlieb

Rabbi YY Social

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