Why Eat Kosher?

Judaism does not advocate complete suppression of our negative urges rather it gives us outlets to sublimate them while guiding us to gradually overcome them. Therefore, when we crave, we must satisfy the craving in some way while working towards kicking the habit.

Purim Secrets

Purim celebrates the salvation of the Jews from the wicked Haman’s scheme to exterminate all the Jewish men, women, and children living in the Persian Empire in the year 357 B.C.E., which essentially meant all the Jews in the world. Some of the commandments of Purim, such as hearing Megillat Esther, which recounts the Purim story, and enjoying a festive meal, are obvious ways to commemorate this deliverance.

Other commandments and customs have no apparent connection to what happened on Purim. Why are we required to give charity to the poor, send two food items to a friend, and get so drunk that we do not know the difference between Haman, the villain, and Mordechai, the righteous hero of the story? (This last commandment, I understand, is very rigorously kept in college dorms all year round.)

SOUL-UTIONS To Pain

There are times when we are simply exploring the philosophical meaning of pain. And then there are times when we are personally in pain and struggling to understand why. When we are merely discussing pain then we can find a philosophical understanding of pain. But when we are in pain, we must accept that there really are no satisfactory answers.

Unmasking Nature: G-d’s Love is Here and Now

According to Jewish Tradition, as soon as the Hebrew month of Adar begins we must increase our joy because the miracle of the Purim Story happened on that month. Purim celebrates the salvation of the Jews in the year 357 BCE from the wicked Haman’s scheme to exterminate all the Jewish men, women and children living in the Persian Empire, which meant all the Jews in the world at that time. In the Purim story, however, there were no miraculous divine interventions. There were no supernatural plagues and no splitting of any seas. In fact, G-d’s name is not even mentioned once in the entire Purim story recorded in the Book of Esther (Megillat Esther).

To Love Fully

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”  How’s that even possible for me to love my neighbor?  I don’t even like him.  I can’t stand his ideas, he talks too much, and his behavior is embarrassing.  Love him?  No way.  At best, maybe I can force a smile when he comes around. …

Is God a Man?

One day my son and two daughters burst into my study. They had obviously been fighting over something and were very upset. I could see that I was chosen to be the lucky arbitrator to resolve another case of sibling rivalry. They shouted at each other, “You go, you ask …

Chanukah: What’s Love Got To Do With It?

In 2nd century B.C.E, the Greek Seleucid Emperor Antiochus Epiphanes began a systematic campaign against Judaism, which he saw as an obstacle to the spread of Hellenist philosophy in Israel. He forbid certain forms of religious observance (such as circumcision, for example)—disobedience was punishable by death. He desecrated the Temple by sacrificing pigs there, and he put up a statue of the Greek G-d Jupiter in the Holy of Holies. Enraged, Mattathias the Maccabee and his five sons recruited a small army of Jews and launched a guerrilla war that is commonly known as the Maccabean revolt. After three years of aggressive fighting, this small Jewish army miraculously beat the huge and mighty Greek army. They took back control of Jerusalem and, on the 25th of the Hebrew month Kislev, re-dedicated the Temple and rekindled the light of Torah life.

Chanukah: The Light of Love

Imagine you walk into a magic store where they sell special flashlights equipped with magic lights of different kinds. For example, you can buy the light of science, and when you point that flashlight at your hand, you see not a hand, but cells and blood vessels and tendons and ligaments. Or you can buy the light of art, and you point that flashlight at your hand, you see your hand as if it were a painting by Leonardo Da Vinci – you see form, and color, and texture. And you’re having a lot of fun trying out the different flashlights with the different lights. And then you see one labeled “the light of Chanukah.” What will you see in that light? What is special about the light of Chanukah?