April 13, 2024 |

Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld


An Easier Way to Achieve Redemption

This week a friend gave me a beautiful present: a children’s book by Mordecai Gerstein called, “The Man Who Walked Between the Towers.” This book tells the story of Philippe Petit and his daring, death defying, walk between the Twin Towers on August 7, 1974. Many of you are probably familiar...

The Eved Ivri in Culpepper Virginia

On December 30th, I got the following letter in the mail: “Shalom Aleichem. Our Traditional Jewish Community desperately needs a volunteer one Saturday evening per month to lead our conclusion of Shabbat, Havdalah service. Without your assistance we will be unable to meet and experience the...

Defeating Evil: Thoughts on the Arizona Massacre

One week ago we saw an act of pure evil in the world. When we hear of such an act it is often emotionally devastating and depressing. We are all affected by it. I want to share with you some thoughts about how we can respond to that terrible act in a spiritual manner. The murderer in Arizona...

Do Not Leave Your Doorway Until The Morning

One of the highlights of my recent trip to Israel occurred on Shabbat morning. After davening at the Kotel we went to look for my cousin who studies in a Yeshiva in the Old City. Turns out he was davening in the recently renovated Churvah synagogue which is located in the Jewish Quarter of the Old...

No Excuses for a Recalcitrant Husband

I met Tamar on Sunday. She is a 27 year old graduate of Yeshiva University’s Stern College and the mother of a three year old child. Although, she was surrounded by family, friends, and literally hundreds of supporters she had tears in her eyes. She said to me, “I never thought it could happen to...

A Shepherded Community

As you know our synagogue is located in a wonderful DC neighborhood called Shepherd Park. The name Shepherd Park derives from Alexander Shepherd, who was the governor of the Territory of DC from 1873-1874. Governor Shepherd and his wife built a great mansion, which they called Bleak House, on the...

One Shul: What It Really Means

This week the New York Times published an article about web based bar mitzvah lessons. The article points out that increasingly people are turning away from the traditional American route of normal bar or bat mitzvah lessons under the rubric of a community synagogue. Instead they are finding their...

Outside the Box

On my desk I have a picture of myself with a very dear friend who is also a highly successful entrepreneur. This friend signed the picture to me: “To Rav Shmuel: Who taught me everything I know about thinking out of the box.” In actual fact, I taught this man nothing about “thinking outside the...

A Crowning Achievement

If you asked me what is one of the most consistently spiritual experiences of my life, I would tell you that above all else, it is fatherhood. Acting like a father to my children, being involved in their life, studying Torah with them, teaching them how to daven, being their counselor in camp,...

How To Increase Your Love of Hashem

In just a couple of weeks we have a novel project beginning in our shul. And I especially want everyone—men and women-- to consider participating in this project. It requires a time commitment of approximately 12-15 hours but it is definitely worth it. We will be the first Orthodox synagogue in...


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