If I could speak to my younger self (who I can still envision sitting alone on the back steps of my yeshiva in a grey sweatshirt, broken hearted in a way very few seemed able to understand, hugging his knees and wondering endlessly) here are five things I’d tell him: 1. Beyond serving as your…

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It was late Purim afternoon in Yerushalayim. Our lively, uplifting seuda winding down, we were getting ready to dance our way into Shabbos preparations. A minute before bentching, I glanced at my phone, and I felt a shock ripple through my being. I couldn’t believe the words I was reading. Maran Sar HaTorah, Rav Chaim…

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One of the most magical moments in the parental relationship occurs when the veil of authority lifts, and father and daughter, mother and son can sit with each other as equals – on the floor working on a puzzle in the younger years or over steaming cups of coffee at a café table a decade…

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Take a good look at this picture. Looks like any alter Yid, right? Would you believe me if I told you that this elderly Jew: * Survived two World Wars * Never missed a single Tikkun Chatzos for 70 straight years * Rescued two orphaned siblings from a government orphanage – despite terrible financial woes…

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We are all familiar with Rebbe Akiva’s teaching set to the famous Lag Ba’Omer melody, “Mah mikvah metaheir es hatemei’im…” – “Just as a mikvah purifies the impure, so does HaKadosh Baruch Hu purify am Yisrael.” I have long been bothered by the following question. If Rebbe Akiva intended to reveal that Hashem purifies in…

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Shalom uveracha friends! I hope everyone is having the most amazing chag! The composition above, “Journey”, is a song I wrote in 10th grade as a young teen trying his very best to weather the treacherous storms of adolescence – the winding “derech” from youth to adulthood discussed at length in the opening chapter of…

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There are few nights approached with as many expectations as the first night of Pesach. We prepare, we dream, we learn, we plan, we buy engaging haggados (and fine wine) for the adults and props and candies for the kids. Surely, everyone will be perfectly behaved. Surely, everything will proceed exactly in accordance with our…

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ONE OF THE hallmarks of Pesach is the acute focus on zmanim, halachic times. There is much discussion in the Gemara and poskim regarding the proper times for removal of chametz, the proper time after which one may no longer eat chametz on erev Pesach, how much matzah in how much time one must eat…

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There is a machlokes in the Gemara (Pesachim 6a) regarding when one should begin to study the halachos of Pesach. The Rabbanan hold that one should begin to learn hilchos Pesach thirty days before the chag, whereas Rabban Shimon Ben Gamliel holds one should begin only 2 weeks in advance. The Shulchan Aruch (OC 429:1)…

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