LIVING WITH PURPOSE

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TRUE GREATNESS? TO BE OR NOT TO BE

The story of our patriarchs as recorded in the Book of Genesis is no doubt one of the greatest stories ever told. Each character is legendary. Its narrative is riveting. It is the story that encapsulates the history of our people. But, who are the Jewish people? What is their quintessential nature? What trait more than any other captures their very essence? We can find a glimpse of light at the closing of the story where we read about the passing of the last of our patriarchs, Jacob. This episode is a critical juncture for it marks the complex transition from a small tribe into a great nation. But what exactly will ultimately define this great people? Which one of Jacob's many children will

BRINKMANSHIP AT IT'S BEST

What story has made the greatest impact in your life? Let me share with you mine. Until today I can vividly recall when I first heard this story as a child. The tale begins with sibling rivalry that goes horribly wrong, threatening to destroy a dynasty. However the story ends in spectacular fashion triggered by a supreme act of self-sacrifice. The story I refer to is of Joseph and his brothers. The narrative as conveyed to us in the Bible and its myriad of commentaries is riveting and extremely complex. I will attempt therefore to only focus on one scene. The setting is the palace of the Pharaohs, a place of majestic opulence and power. Sitting on the throne was the young viceroy of Egypt wh

TAKE A RISK: THE ODDS ARE BETTER THEN YOU THINK

Why are human beings so afraid of the dark yet so attracted to the light? On the surface the answer is simple. The dark leaves us vulnerable and exposed, unable to spot any threats that may be lurking behind the scenes. With light on the other hand we are able to see what’s going on around us. The mystics however go far deeper then this by explaining that all “light” is in fact a manifestation of divine energy. It therefore serves as the ultimate metaphor for G-d and all his attributes. “Light” is therefore used by our great sages as the main metaphor for the “Torah” and it’s “Mitzvot”. For it is only through true wisdom that we can gain clarity in our lives helping us to navigate life’s jou

THE QUESTION IS WHO’S CRAZY?

Crazy things are happening in the world right now. But sometimes the “crazy” is “good”. The opposite of “crazy” is “normal”. The question is who decides what’s “normal”. On Wednesday night the President of the USA recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The international community almost universally condemned him. We the Jewish people believe that we built and first inhabited this city over three thousand years ago. The question is who’s crazy? Is “normal” determined by according to what is true or false? Or perhaps by a moral sense of right or wrong. Or maybe normal is decided by what is popular. I would like to offer a most profound insight from the Tanya whose author, the first Lub

THE MOST DRAMATIC SCENE OF ALL

What scene in the bible best captures the quintessential nature of the Jew? What about Moses as he leads the Jewish people out of Egypt? Or perhaps it is of Abraham imploring G-d to save the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah? Or maybe it is of the Jewish people as they are gathered together around Mount Sinai experiencing revelation. A scene that has always fascinated me from the time I can remember and continues to do so, is an episode in this week's Torah portion where Jacob wrestles with the angel of Esau. It is this most powerful scene that has captured the imagination of some of the greatest artists and poets in history. Let me try and explain why. First the setting: Jacob is alone and

 

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