Archive for 'Holidays'

The Haman Archetype Lives On

The joke is as old as the hills.

A Chinese man and his Jewish friend were walking along one day when the Jewish man whirled and slugged the Chinese man and knocked him down. “What was that for?” the Chinese man asked. “That was for Pearl Harbor!” the Jewish man said. “Pearl Harbor? That was the Japanese. I’m Chinese.” “Chinese, Japanese, you are all the same!” “Oh!” They continued walking and after a while the Chinese man whirled and knocked the ...

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Purim Memories and Reflections

Purim is here once more. For me it is a bitter-sweet holiday.

The year was 1996. Earlier that day, I went to the hospital to wish my father a “Freilach Purim” (Happy Purim).  I was reading the Megillah for my synagogue, when suddenly, somebody informed me,”Rabbi, your father just died.” Feeling stunned, I could not finish reading the Megillah.

Death is as mysterious as life; I believe we have to find meaning in the events that occur around us.  Psychologist Victor Frankl ...

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When Haredim go drag

Whenever I celebrated Purim in Me’ah Sharim, the Haredi epicenter of Jerusalem, I always marveled at the costumes the Haaredim used to wear. Every year, the Haredim participate in cross-dressing. Haredim in drag. What a sight to behold. Haredim and Hasidim literally let their hair down.

Any good Christian bible reader knows that cross-dressing is forbidden in the Torah. Men are forbidden to dress as women, since the proscription reads, “neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment, neither may a ...

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The Hasidic origin of “Simcha Monica” formerly known as, “Santa Monica”

Some time ago,  I had a friendly discussion with Rabbi Yisrael Goldberg, a young Chabadnik who lives in Israel. In the course of our talk, he mentioned that in California, the late Rabbi Avraymo Levitanski   (a former teacher of mine) had recently died. Avraymo was a great man; he was a brilliant scholar as well and an exceptional human being. He was definitely one of the finest Chabadniks I have ever known. On a light note,  Yisrael told me how Avraymo ...

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Rediscovering the Soul-Breath of the Sabbath

While it is true that many translations of the Bible such as the New Revised Version Standard (NRSV), the King James’ Version (KJV) and others render the verb וַיִּשְׁבֹּת (wayyišböt) as “rested,” a more accurate translation is “ceased,” i.e., “God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because He ceased from all His work which God created to make” (Gen. 2:2). Ramban (12th century) interprets these words to mean “He ceased performing all His creative work.” Hence, for God, the ...

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