December 17, 2018 |

Rabbi Avi Heller

Missing

The Eighth Day

There are a lot of different ways to live your life. Each culture and each minority group develop their own style of dress, their own arts and music, their own language and forms of expression, their own values and etiquette. Perhaps every culture and nation has some aspects of their culture that...

A Book By Any Other Cover

Don't judge a book by its cover. Or by the costume it wears. If we didn't know better, we might think Purim was a frivolous holiday. It is not as strict as Shabbat or the major holidays, so live music, driving and texting (not at the same time please) are permitted. Plus, we do many things that we...

Financial Transparency

In the movie "Good Will Hunting", the psychiatrist played by Robin Williams succeeds in getting through to Matt Damon's character after everyone else has tried and failed. He manages to bring out the real person rather than just the brashly arrogant and smart polymath who keeps the rest of the world...

Mirror Mirror On The Wall

In the laws of Torah Reading (Code of Jewish Law, Way of Life 147:1), R. Moshe Isserles, the famed Ashkenazic rabbi and Halachic decisor, comments that one should not use an 'old' item in order to cover or dress a Torah scroll. In other words, it's not appropriate to use an old t-shirt for a Torah...

Presences and Absences

It takes a fair amount of work to see the things that are right in front of us. There are so many competing demands for our attention that we sometimes just send stuff to the spam folder. Who can pay attention to every email, advertisement or headline that is shouted in our direction? We would be...

Share the Light

Anyone who has enjoyed a beautiful Shabbat dinner knows that when you walk intoa shabbat home, you will see a beautifully-set table, with a table cloth, a kiddush cup and covered loaves of challa. You will also see lit candles, often in silver candlesticks, burning merrily. Shabbat makes people...

Let It Snow

This week, I have decided to depart from my usual practice in order to discuss the topic of snow in Judaism. There are three possible reasons for doing this. One, it's what we call inyana d'yoma, the topic of the day, based on the large drifts of snow that have become a regular part of my Manhattan...

Yitro as a Ba'al Teshuva

There is a group of Jews known as ba'alei teshuva, or masters of return. They are men and women who have relinquished a less- or non-religious past and have embraced a more active and committed Jewish life. A phenomenon often associated with them is their extreme optimism and joy about getting...

Miryam

My daughter - Rinat Miryam - was born on Shabbat morning, February 7, 2004. That Shabbat, we happened to read Beshalac this week's portion -- which includes the the Song of the Sea, sung by the Israelites after being saved from the Egyptians by the splitting of said sea. The week when it is read is...

Of Pharaohs and Faith

I was at a beautiful wedding this past week. There is nothing more enjoyable than watching a lovely young couple - obviously deeply in love - celebrating the beginning of the creation of a new Jewish home together. They were surrounded by family and friends who had come from as far away as Australia...

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