Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Mikeitz (Genesis 41:1-44:17) Chanukah and Your Ability to Be A Role Model

 Pharaoh had two disturbing dreams, neither of which could be explained by anyone in his court. Pharaoh’s wine steward had seen Joseph’s ability to explain dreams when the two were cell mates in prison. He suggested that Joseph, a young Hebrew slave, might be able to explain Pharaoh’s disturbing dreams. Desperate for a suitable interpretation, […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Vayishlach (Genesis 32:4-36:43)

How to Deal with Anti-Semitic Supermodels (Introduction: After living with his deceitful father-in-law for twenty years, Jacob decided to depart with his family. He was informed that his brother—Esav—was on route with 400 to kill him.) If you were Jacob, what would you do when hearing about the impending danger? He did three things.  1) He […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha—Vzot Habracha (Deuteronomy 33:1–34:12)Become the Person You Chose to Emulate.

 And the sons of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab…. (34:8)The men mourned when Moses died but when his older brother, Aaron, died sometime before that, the entire house of Israel cried over his loss, then, everyone, both men and women, mourned his loss. This Parsha occupies itself with the praise of Moses, and […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly: Yom Kippur 5782-2021 Why is it So Hard to Change?

Rabbi O’s Weekly: Yom Kippur 5782-2021Why is it So Hard to Change? For Jews, this is the season we talk about repentance. Although that word might entail negative connotations, it is derived from the Latin, and literally means regret. Most people, honest people, look back at their day, week, month, year, or life with some level of regret. […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Nitzavim (Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20) How to Read Your Life’s Book Behold, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil…(Deut. 30:15)

Doing good is a choice, but it is not limited to acts of beneficence, it also means that you see the good in your life, health, family, friendships, sustenance and so many other blessings that many people overlook. We choose whether we will feel entitled or blessed. An extreme example of how we choose to […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly: V’etchanan (Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11) Planting Your Family Tree

 The Talmud relates that one day Choni HaMagel (1st century BCE) was traveling on the road when he encountered a man planting a carob tree.                  How long does it take for this tree to bear fruit?                 Seventy years.                 Are you certain that you will live another seventy years?                 I found ready grown carob trees in the world; as my forefathers                              planted […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Pinchas (Numbers 25:10-30:1)[This is an edited version of CTC weekly-Heir Flow– 5774-2014]An Heir with Due Care

When Moses asked G-d to appoint a successor, the Midrash says that G-d answered Before you command Me concerning My children, command My children concerning Me. Moses proceeded to command the Jewish people concerning the laws of the daily and holiday sacrifices. What quality must a Jewish leader possess? When the Jewish people feared that Moses would not […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Balak (Numbers 22:2-25:9)Don’t Sweat It

He perceived no iniquity in Jacob, and saw no perversity in Israel” (23:21)The Hebrew word amal, translated here as “perversity,” has a second meaning, “toil.” It is an expression for work, especially laborious and exhausting work. Ohr HaChaim (1696-1743) uses this translation to give a unique interpretation to Balaam’s words: “He saw no exhaustion in Israel.” Balaam perceived that […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Nasso (Leviticus 4:21-7:89) Thirsty for Reality

In 2018 a study conducted at Ghent University (Belgium) demonstrated that people act differently when presented with a hypothetical moral decision than when faced with a real-life situation. Participants were presented with the “trolley dilemma,” which involves the following hypothetical scenario. A runaway trolley is about to hit five people on the tracks. They can take no […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Achrei Mot-Kedoshim (Leviticus 16-20)Our Natural Habitat

The authors of Pandemics and the Great Evolutionary Mismatch  discuss a scientific conundrum inherent in social distancing. Although social distancing is effective in slowing the spread of the disease, history and neuroscience have shown that in times of crisis, people do best when they have social interactions as a support system. When you remove that option, people have […]