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WHEN IN DOUBT, JUST BE NICE

All Things Being Equal, Generosity Wins the Day

For many situations in life, the objectively appropriate response isn’t too hard to figure out, as long as we’re honest. But what about those instances when you can truly go either way? When G‑d made Isaac look like Abraham and not the other way around, He taught us to err on the side of being too nice.

Nov 15, 2023


THE SPIRITUAL TRIFECTA: JACOB’S SELF-HELP FORMULA

Lessons from the Oblique Attack of King Friedrich of Prussia

Hey, we can learn life lessons from anyone—warring European kings included. Sure enough, a brilliant military attack launched in 1757 provides a valuable tool for life—one already employed millennia earlier by Jacob: instead of attacking the weak points, reinforce the whole army. 

Nov 22, 2023


HATERS ARE GOING TO HATE. DON’T BOTHER WITH THEM

Keep Doing What You’re Doing and They’ll Melt Away

No one likes haters, but oftentimes, they’re just part of life’s reality. Instead of wasting time trying to disprove or beat them, our forefather Jacob taught that when you focus on what you need to do, you’ll eventually overwhelm the opposition anyway.

Nov 29, 2023


DON’T MISS THE POINT

Torah Study: Spiritual Exercise or Academic Pursuit?

It’s silly to go on vacation and be on your phone all day answering emails. Well, to study Torah and not realize you’re connecting with G‑d while doing so is just as silly. From the depths of a miserable pit full of snakes and scorpions, Joseph’s story implores us not to miss the critical point.

Dec 6, 2023


IT’S NEVER TOO DARK IN YOUR LIFE

Your Soul Makes You Naturally Predisposed to Light

“Never despair!” they told you; “all is never lost!” Really? Yes, really. For the Jew with a soul and a luminescent way of life, there really is no corner in life beyond recourse. This is the message calling out to us from the lights of the Chanukah menorah standing in the doorway.

Dec 13, 2023


THE JEWISH FAST DAY: A TIME FOR MOURNING?

Surprise: It’s Not about Hurting Yourself

You’re hungry, yearning for caffeine, and in need of a nap. Is that really what Jewish fast days were designed for? Unsurprisingly, the literature reveals that it’s actually nothing of the sort, as you’ll find in this refreshing look at what would seem to be very un-refreshing days.

Dec 20, 2023


WHEN PAIN SPELLS GAIN

The Key to Unlocking Your Deepest Self

Challenges, suffering, and pain are unfortunately regular features of life. But is it really so unfortunate? The underwhelming name of the entire second book of the Torah and its opening parshah, “Names,” provides a different message: pain brings the biggest gain.

Jan 3, 2024


 

THE ELUSIVE FIFTH ELEMENT

Going the Extra Mile Makes All the Difference

Early Jewish thinkers taught that the entire world is made up of four elements. But then there’s an elusive fifth element that lies at the core of everything. The intricacies of Passover chametz law teach us that when it comes to our relationship with G‑d, it is this fifth element He seeks.

Jan 10, 2024


 

THE SECRET OF JEWISH SURVIVAL

A Merger between Human Commitment and Divine Intervention

Many wonder what makes the Jewish nation keep on ticking like the Energizer bunny. Answers abound, but one thing is for sure: we remain committed to our faith, and G‑d keeps on providing the miracles to make it happen.

Jan 17, 2024


BECOME A JEWISH INFLUENCER

It’s Not Just for Rabbis, Scholars, and Activists

For one fateful battle in the desert, an aging Moses did not personally lead the battle, opting to send his younger, stronger deputy instead. And for that, he was punished. Because when it comes to defending Judaism, everyone is on the front lines, no matter your age or stature.

Jan 24, 2024


OUT OF THREE, ONE

Unity and Love Within—Not Above—Division

The number “three” pops up frequently in Judaism, with G‑d, the Jews, and the Torah as the ultimate three-way partnership. There’s a reason for it: One gets a lot of airtime as the ultimate number of unity, but there’s something special when three brings one and two together.

Jan 31, 2024


JEWISH PREPPING

Take the Time to Invest in Your Jewish Experiences

Some complain that Jewish experiences just “don’t talk to them.” A curious instance of recording the Torah before the Torah was even given teaches us that to maximize the experience, investing time and energy into preparation makes all the difference.

Feb 7, 2024


 

IF YOU KNOW ALEF, TEACH ALEF

Lessons from an Upside-Down Cup Shaped the Wrong Way

The Temple Menorah had golden goblets fashioned on it. The funny thing is, they were all wrong: upside-down and too narrow at their base. But they broadcast an important message: pour out whatever you know, however narrow or small it may be.

Feb 14, 2024


 

THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS AN ISOLATED JEW

You’re an Integral Part of the Community, Whether You Like It or Not

Some get exhausted at or intimidated by the prospect of actively participating in the Jewish community. But the laws concerning which garments the High Priest wore in the Temple teach us that the choice has already been made: you’re in! It’s time to embrace this wonderful reality.

Feb 21, 2024


ALL TIED UP

If You Care, You Don’t Forget

That’s what your mother and your teacher probably told you, and surprise!–they were right. Judaism wishes to teach this to us with multiple mitzvot associated with tying knots, because when you’re all tied up with something, you’ll never forget it.

Feb 28, 2024


THE ULTIMATE ROI

Doing What’s Right Isn’t Always about Right Now

Any investor understands that it takes risk, effort, and a long time of seeing no return to really reap the benefits later. As we continue our millennia-long Exile and look at our Temple in ruins, think of all this time as an investment: amazing returns are coming our way.

Mar 6, 2024


WE DON’T ALWAYS FOLLOW THE RULES

When It Comes to Teaching Judaism, We Take an Unconventional Approach

“Slow and steady wins the race,” they said. And it’s usually true. But sometimes we can’t afford slow and steady. When teaching our children—or even ourselves—about Judaism, we must be bold and ambitious–above and beyond what would usually make sense.

Mar 13, 2024


WHEN ORDINARY IS EXTRAORDINARY

Finding Meaning, Purpose, and Wonder in Everyday Moments

Jewish holidays are all on fixed dates. But curiously, when it comes to Purim, it seems that certain aspects of the holiday can be observed on a number of different days. This interesting fact tells us that not only are holidays uniquely special; any day can be unique if we look carefully.

Mar 20, 2024


TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE

Every Moment Is Creation All Over Again

Popular conception imagines Creation as a one-time thing, millennia ago, and just running on autopilot ever since. Chasidic thought busts that myth, teaching that Creation is a dynamic event occurring each second anew. With that in mind, every day is truly a new opportunity.

Mar 27, 2024


DON’T BE A GOOD PERSON

Be a G‑dly Person. It’s a Lot Harder–And Better

Religion can be attractive to many for one simple reason: it makes you a better person (hopefully). While not a bad argument, this isn’t the extent of Judaism’s majesty at all. The life of the hardworking and quick-to-die worker bee teaches us this valuable lesson.

Apr 3, 2024


A SLICE OF PERFECTION

The First Feather in Your Cap Is Already Reason to Celebrate

To a perfectionist, it’s “all or nothing,” right? But for the pragmatist whom Judaism champions, partial perfection is already a remarkable achievement. The matzah ball soup on the last day of Passover teaches us why.

Apr 10, 2024