January 2012

February 2012

 Shopping Season

Take a look in the shopping areas and you will see traffic lining the streets and customers enthusiastically filling their carts with new items and gifts.

It’s not that they don’t have gadgets, clothing, accessories etc., but it’s always more exciting to wear or use something that is brand new.

In Judaism, use the same trick.  If you want to make sure that Jewish observance doesn’t grow old on you, simply “buy” a new Mitzvah.   Add a new tradition to your Jewish repertoire!  


Superbowl has becomethe most watched American television program in history. Some viewers are truly interested in the game, others are moreattracted to the advertisements and there are those who just join for the party.

It sounds just like a Synagogue. In every shul, there are those who actually come to pray, and others who are more attracted to the “advertisements” and there are those who come JFK (Just For Kiddush.)

Superbowl only comes once a year – we have the ‘party’ every single Shabbat!

P.S. Services begin 10 am!

March 2012

April 2012

Chardon, OH

There is a general consensus in our society that teenagers are troublemakers and we just need to survive them until they grow up.

The tragic shooting in Chardon High School seems to confirm and reinforce this philosophy.   Judaism, however, begs to differ.

In our tradition, a girl by the age of 12 or boy at age 13 is regarded as an adult. With the celebration of their Bar or Bat mitzvah we entrust in their hands the future of the Jewish people.

Judaism believes that when you give teens responsibility, they will deliver! 

500 Million Dollars

The largest Jackpot in US history will be drawn this weekend.  Many people asked me to pray for them- they all promised to donate various amounts if they win!

Playing the lottery is obviously placing your fate totally in the hands of G‑d.  I have yet to meet the guy that blames himself for not winning the lottery.

Chassidism teaches us that life is like a lottery.  Everything that happens to you is the will of G‑d.  Berating yourself on negative outcomes means that you forgot for a moment that G‑d runs the show.

But don’t forget, you must buy the ticket.

May 2012

June 2012

Secret Service

A Jew shuffles into Shul on Yom Kippur, and the Rabbi greets him. “Jack! I haven’t seen you the entire year. Where have you been? Are you not in the army of G‑d?”

Jack whispers back, “Of course I am! I’m in the secret service.”

Lately, US Secret Service has been in the news, and not in a flattering way.

Perhaps the government needs Secret Service agents. In Judaism, on the other hand, serving G‑d in "secret" is only a last resort.

When it comes to doing a Mitzvah, go public!

The ‘Flame’ Virus 

Iran has reported that a sophisticated virus has infected computers across the country; similar to a virus that damaged centrifuges in the Iranian Nuclear facilities two years ago. 

In the modern world of technology; you don’t have to send airplanes, to fly overseas to bomb or to risk human lives.   You can sit in the comfort of your office and attack a different corner of the globe.  

We must be living in Moshiach (Messianic) times – as the prophet Isaiah said, “and they shall beat their swords into plowshares” – and perhaps computers into weapons! 

July 2012

August 2012

Chai - Life

I just returned from NY where I spent the last weekend at the gravesite of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, commemorating his Chai (18th) Yahrtzeit together with thousands of Chabad Rabbis from all over the globe.

The Torah tells us that Man is compared to a tree in the field. The sign that a tree is alive, is that it’s growing!

Judging by the growth of the Chabad movement, there’s no question, that 18 years later, the Rebbe’s legacy is Chai – alive!

Moment of Silence

The International Olympic Committee declined to hold a moment of silence during the opening Ceremonies, in memory of the slain Israeli athletes.

Jewish tradition has a different method of remembering loved ones. 

We recite Kaddish, say the Yizkor prayer, pledge charity and do good deeds in memory of our dear departed. When Mitzvot are done in their memory, their soul gets credit for the good deed.

Judaism believes that remembering is a call for action.

September 2012

October 2012


A new study that was recently published claims that people who eat chocolate on a regular basis have a decreased risk of stroke or heart disease. 

Chocolate has a spiritual advantage too. Judaism teaches us that one must always serve G‑d with joy and happiness, and sometimes this seems an impossible task to achieve. Kabbalah offers many tools to reach this goal.

From experience I can tell you that a few pieces of chocolate can help you to fulfill the commandment of serving G‑d with joy.

Just try it.

Red Line

Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke in the UN this week, insisting that the Free World should draw a “Red Line” for Iran’s nuclear program.

Judaism has many of these “red lines’. For example, the proper time to light Shabbat candles is eighteen minutes before sunset. This eighteen minute rule is actually a “red line,” making certain that we will always light the candles before Shabbat begins.

These red lines, often called “fences” are really for our benefit and have served the Jewish people well.   Don’t cross the Red Line!

November 2012 December 2012

Election Day

There is a tradition in the US, that Election Day is always on a Tuesday. Why Tuesday? Wouldn’t Monday – a long weekend be better? 

In the 1800’s, in order to vote, everyone needed to travel to the nearest big city. Since they didn’t want to cause people to travel on Sunday or on Wednesday which was Market Day, Tuesday was chosen to be Election Day. 

Little did they know that Tuesday is really a blessed day.   In the story of the Creation, on the 3rd day (Tuesday), G‑d repeated twice, “And it was Good” - thus beginning the tradition of ‘lucky Tuesdays’.

Keep in mind: Every Tuesday is a lucky day!

Pillar of Defense 

Israel just concluded an operation in Gaza in response to rocket attacks on Israeli cities. They named this operation, ‘Pillar of Defense.’

Judaism teaches us about other pillars that are vital in time of war as well as in time of peace. The Talmud says that the world stands on three pillars: the Study of Torah, Prayer & Good deeds.

We my not be able to help Israel with the Pillar of Defense, but when we occupyourselves with the three pillars of the world, G‑d will in turn help Israel that the effects of the Pillar of Defense will be long lasting.