Wednesday, June 28, 2017



A few years ago I caught a sweet movie on television; the movie was called “Last Holiday.” Queen Latifah plays the lead, Georgia Byrd. Georgia is a clerk in a department store in New Orleans. She is a passionate woman, loves her food, sings in the church choir, follows the rules and takes direction from her toxic boss. She has

Awesome Emptiness

For many families, summertime means summer camp. For the fortunate, it means sleepaway camp, which means one to two months of freedom and fun. No, I’m not talking about the campers. I’m talking about the parents, many of whom feel that shipping their kids off to camp is effectively like being released from prison.

We’ll Sing for Food

On the off chance that your children’s school needs to raise money, at some point it’s going to have a dinner.

A dinner is a fundraiser in which you get together in a fancy hotel and eat expensive food made by a top-of-the-line caterer, and somehow that makes the school money.

Wyatt Earp, a Jew by Burial

It could have been the famous “Gunfight at the Oy Vey Corral,” but history records the shootout between Wyatt Earp and his coterie against the outlaw Clantons as the gunfight at the OK Corral.

None of the participants were Jewish. Not Earp. Not

Bava Batra 118 and 119

May these words of Torah serve as a merit le’iluy nishmat Menachem Mendel ben Harav Yoel David Balk, z”l.


This week we learned Bava Batra 118 and 119. These are some highlights.

Bava Batra 118:

Did Moses Have a Speech Impediment?

Part II

At Exodus 4:10, Moses tells God that he is “chevad peh” and “chevad lashon.” But what exactly do these terms mean? Last week, I discussed the interpretation of Rashi that the “heaviness” idiom implied that Moshe was a stutterer.

How have

Standing for the Aseret HaDibrot? Not at a Sephardic Kehilla!

The Maimon family of Teaneck was celebrating the bar mitzvah of their eldest son on Parshat Yitro of 5763 (2003). A large crowd had gathered, filling the Aviner basement (which housed Shaarei Orah at the time) to beyond capacity. Among the guests was the venerable Rav Solomon Maimon of Seattle, the great-great-uncle of the bar

OHEL OXC Event Raises over $1M

The Lifelong Journey of Refining Our Souls

Part I

In the past few weeks, our parshiot focused on the overarching mandate of “Kedoshim tihiyu—Thou shalt be holy….” We learn that the challenges inherent in this struggle are due to the conflict we experience between our baser human instincts and

Emotional Memories

This past week I attended the Torah Umesorah convention on Thursday and Friday. As I was driving up to the convention, I was reminded of my trip to the convention last year. In May 2016, I also attended the convention, but had to come home on Thursday night.

As I wrote a few months ago

Our Need For Boundaries

David was known as a charitable, respected and active member of his community. He was out of the house a number of nights each week attending meetings. One night it was the shul, the next it was the school, and on another night he would visit the elderly in the local nursing home. When he was finishing dinner one night, his phone

Bamidbar, Shavuos and Our Personal Megillos

We normally live our days with many small achievements that move us forward. A few times in our lives, not many, we are motivated to demonstrate tremendous passion and invest time and truly hard work in a cause. This combination catapults us forward to open up entirely new possibilities and new worlds that literally change