August 23, 2019 |

Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld


The Miracle of Overflowing Oil

Twenty years ago on the 8th day of Chanukah a light was extinguished from the world. My Oma, my father’s mother, passed away. She was a real character. She had chutzpah and brilliance, warmth and humor. Thanks to her chutzpah my father and his uncle and my grandfather were able to survive...

Why Am I?

In our 13 years of marriage I have been fortunate enough to learn what it is like to live with a pregnant woman. During this time, I have heard some great one-liners during the gestation period. There was the one and only time Rhanni said, ?Lets do something exciting tonight.? Then she looked...

The Local Mitzvah Movement

There is a budding movement spreading quickly around the country known as the Local Food movement. The Local Food movement is “an effort to build a locally based and self-reliant economy in which food production, processing, distribution, and consumption is integrated to enhance the economic,...

Hanging in the Air by a Thread

As some of you might know by now, I drive a car that used to be a taxi and now has a menorah on top of the car. Last year at this time I told you a story about how this car was stolen and used to rob a bank. Boruch Hashem we were able to replace that car with another used taxi, a 1994 Chevy...

A Reinvigorated Evangelical Jew

Recently there was an article about me in an online magazine. It was a very nice article. By that I mean it said very nice things about me, but it had at least one mistake. It said I was the rabbi of Ohev Sholom, located in Dupont Circle. Now this is an honest mistake since I do spend some...

The Story of Hannah: From Loneliness to Community

Who do you think is the loneliest person you know? Who do you think is the loneliest person in Jewish history? In my opinion the answer to that question is Elisha Ben Avuya, also known as Acher (or Other). The Talmud (Tractate Chagigah 15a) tells us the following story. Elisha Ben Avuya...

Devarim - Erev Tishah Be-Av

(originally published 7/29/01) As we daven here today on the eve of the saddest day in the Jewish calendar, Tishah be-Av, it is important to discuss exactly what is the pedagogical message of this unique day. What are we mourning? Why are we mourning? What did our rabbis hope to accomplish by...

The Avimelekh Syndrome

(Rosh Hashanah 5767) Here we go again! Every year we celebrate Rosh Hashanah and we accept resolutions upon ourselves. But how many of us really change? How many of us allow ourselves to change? How many of us stop our bad habits for good? This year will be different. This year we will...

Unity in the Face of Tragedy

There was one picture that did it for me this week; one scene which moved me the most. It was the picture on the front page of some of our local papers. It was the picture of a young girl being carried to safety by a rescue worker, and while she is being carried away, the young girl is reaching...

Parshat Ekev

The concept of teshuvah, repentance, is a given in traditional Jewish circles: One who sins before God has the inalienable right to repent and to be absolved. Nevertheless, an analysis of the Torah indicates that such a theology might be absent from the text. In this week’s portion, Ekev, Moses...


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