New Book – Beyond Routine

July 11, 2018

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Memoirs of a Hopeful Pessimist

June 6, 2018

Debbie Weissman • Times of Israel

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In the mid-20th century, the great American Jewish theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel credibly wrote “Judaism today is the least known religion.” But recent decades have seen Christians making impressive efforts to fill in the knowledge gap. For many years, I have had the privilege of teaching groups of Christians who come to Jerusalem from throughout the world. Many of them are priests, pastors and nuns on sabbatical; some are lay people. They come from anywhere from a week to a year and my involvement varies, depending on the length and depth of the program. The programs are held at Christian institutions in and around Jerusalem.

I teach them about Judaism and about Israel. I give introductions to the Christians who visit our synagogue on Friday nights for prayers, and we sometimes also provide them with home hospitality for Shabbat dinners. It is fascinating to note what questions they ask. In one case, a young woman was surprised that our sanctuary was not decorated with pictures of Moses. Once, I told a group of seminarians that they were imposing Christian questions on Judaism; what interested them almost exclusively were Read the rest of this entry »


Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik on Pesach, Sefirat Ha-Omer and Shavu’ot

March 29, 2018

Review by Israel Drazin • The Times of Israel

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Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik on Pesach, Sefirat ha-Omer and Shavu’ot”[1] is the second volume in a series of books put out by The Rabbi Soloveitchik Library presenting the thoughts of Rabbi J. B. Soloveitchik. The book addresses eleven issues concerning laws relating to Passover, the Counting of the Omer, the debate between the Sadducees and Pharisees concerning the date of the holiday of Shavuot, and concludes with three of the eleven chapters focusing on the first four commands on the Decalogue. Read the rest of this entry »


Why does Yom Kippur end with “Hashem Hu Ha-Elokim”?

September 28, 2017

To hear some potential answers, check out this video from “Ohr HaShachar: Torah, Kabbalah and Consciousness in the Daily Blessings” author David Bar-Cohn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zF9byjr6Ea8

 

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Rabbi David Bar-Cohn holds an MA in clinical psychology and maintains a psychotherapy practice. He also works in music and video production and is the creator of a children’s musical video series. 

 

 

 

 


Against Indifference: A Prayer for the World

September 26, 2017

Written by Nathan Lopes Cardozo, taken from the David Cardozo Academy. Originally posted on September 21, 2016.

In memory of  Aaron Shmuel ben Menachem Mannes – Samuel Stern

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.
—Elie Wiesel

There is probably no greater curse in our world today than the curse of indifference. While we are surrounded by abundant beauty and have much to be thankful for, millions of children and other innocent people live lives of ongoing war, hunger, displacement, and other disasters.

Demonic forces that we cannot control, or do not care about because they are far away from our lives of comfort, strike our fellow human beings all over the world.

While we Jews have our share of calamites, it is our duty as the chosen people to care not only for our fellow Jews but for all of humanity.

Here is a prayer, in Hebrew and English, which I suggest we say in all our synagogues on Shabbat, when saying the prayer for the State of Israel and our soldiers, or when praying at home.

This is not just a prayer to God; it is also meant as a reminder to us not to remain indifferent to all the pain in our world and to what requires our care and serious attention.

I invite all of you to ask your rabbis, and your gabbaim who assist in the running of the services, to add this short payer to the synagogue Shabbat service, and send it out to your friends, Jews and gentiles alike.

I suspect that if God were to give the Torah today, He would add an eleventh commandment:

“Thou shalt not be indifferent”

The beginning of the Jewish New Year, less than two weeks away, gives us a unique opportunity to start saying this prayer.

Shana tova to all good people!

Nathan Lopes Cardozo

 

With special thanks to my dear friend Shimon Kremer for helping me formulate this prayer.

Download a PDF version of the prayer

תפילה לשלום העולם

“מָה-רַבּוּ מַעֲשֶׂיךָ ה’, כֻּלָּם, בְּחָכְמָה עָשִׂיתָ, מָלְאָה הָאָרֶץ קִנְיָנֶךָ”
אָבִינוּ שֶבַּשָמַיִם רִבּוֹן כָּל הָעוֹלָמִים
רַחֵם נָא עַל כָּל הַסוֹבלִים מִפִיגוּעֵי טֶרוֹר וּמִלחָמוֹת בָּאָרֶץ וּבחוּץ לָאָרֶץ.
הַגֵן עַל כָּל בּרִיוֹתֶיךָ מִפנֵי אַלִימוּת, תּרַפֶּה ידֵי בּנֵי בּלִיַעַל,
ותַנחֶה אוֹתָם לדֶרֶך הטוֹבָה ולִתשוּבָה שלֵמָה.
מנַע אסוֹנוֹת טֶבַע:
רעִידוֹת אֲדָמָה, מַיִם גוֹעשִים, וגַלִים רוֹעֲשִים,
אֵש מִשתוֹלֶלֶת או רוּחַ סוֹחֶפֶת.
רַחֵם עַל נטוּלֵי מָקֹום, חַסרֵי בַּיִת וּמזֵי רָעָב בּעוֹלָמֶךָ.
חֲמוֹל עַל מַעֲשֶיךָ, נַחֵם אֶת הָאֲבֵלִים ורַפֵא אֶת הַפצוּעִים.
פּתַח אֶת ליבֵּנוּ למַעַן כָּל יצוּרֵי אֱנוֹש בּכָל אַרבַּע כַּנפוֹת הָאָרֶץ.
ותִמחֶה רוֹעַ מכָּל יוֹשבֵי תֶבֶל אַרצךָ.
שנאמר:
(הִרְכַּבְתָּ אֱנוֹשׁ, לְרֹאשֵׁנוּ: בָּאנוּ-בָאֵשׁ וּבַמַּיִם; וַתּוֹצִיאֵנוּ, לָרְוָיָה”(תהילים סו:יב”

ונֹאמַר אָמֶן

נתן לופס קרדוזו

Prayer for World Peace

“How abundant are Your works, Hashem; with wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your possessions.” (Psalms 104:24)
Our Father in Heaven, Master of the Universe,
Have mercy on all who suffer from terrorism and wars, in Israel and the world over.
Protect all of Your creatures against violence; weaken the hands of villains, and lead them to the path of goodness and complete repentance.
Prevent natural disasters:
Earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, raging fires and tornadoes
Have compassion on all the displaced, homeless, and starving people in Your world.
Have mercy on your creations. Comfort the mourners, and heal the injured.
Open our hearts to all human beings in all four corners of the earth.
Eradicate evil from among all the inhabitants of Your world,
As is written:
“You allowed people to subjugate us; we went through fire and water and You brought us out to a place of abundance.” (Psalms 66:12)

And let us say Amen.

Nathan Lopes Cardozo

 


NEW Machzorim for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur

September 13, 2017

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Review of Moadei HaRav

November 30, 2016

MoadeiHaRav web1By David B. Levy

Rabbi Shlomo Pick’s edition of Moadei HaRav succeeds in offering the English-speaking, observant reader a better understanding and appreciation of some of Rav Soloveitchik’s ideas, analysis, and methodology relating to halachic (legal) teachings, regarding the chagim (holidays). Many of these shiurim (lessons) were originally delivered in English or Yiddish. Rabbi Pick provides a clear overview of the topics and offers explanations using the Brisker method of interpretation.

The book comprises an introduction and 17 chapters from the Rav’s lectures organized into three distinct parts. The first section includes an excellent essay describing the Rav’s position on the peshat (simple meaning) of talmudic passages, the role of minhagim (customs) within Jewish law, the Rav’s understanding of the teacher/student dynamic, and the relationship between philosophy and law. The second part contains shiurim on the holidays; for example, setting the date of Shavuot (based on a number of Rishonim). Some of these shiurim include an appendix to elucidate particular issues raised by the Rav.

Rabbi Pick also provides helpful footnotes that contain references to additional oral remarks or discourses by the Rav and/or other primary and secondary sources by and about him. The third section includes five studies on Jewish law and customs such as the mitzvah of Charoset (the Rav on the Rambam).

Rabbi Pick and his helpers (including Rabbi Shimon Altshul) have made a most positive contribution by sharing many of the Rav’s insights, innovative approaches, and intellectual brilliance in a very clear manner.

Highly recommended.

This review originally appeared in AJL reviews.