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 […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Tazria-Metzora (Leviticus 12-15)Creating Possibilities

This week’s Parsha continues discussing the harmful effects of lashon hara, senseless negative speech. Many people don’t take speech seriously, speaking about others without regard for their feelings or the potential damage it can cause. King Solomon wrote, Life and death are in the hands of the tongue. One explanation in the Talmud is that negative talk has the […]

The Final Days of Passover 5781-2021The Freedom Challenge—Are You In?

Here’s the challenge: It’s 1922 and you are a Rabbi in oppressive, human rights violating, Communist Russia. What words of wisdom or encouragement would you give to your flock on Passover? How could you talk about freedom when some of their basic human rights were being denied? R’ Moshe Feinstein was in this situation 99 […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Vayikra (Leviticus 1-5)Set a Margin so Life doesn’t Just Barge In

Margin/märjən/the edge or border of something. Although margins are important for books, we don’t talk enough about the need to leave space for margins in life. In The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients, Irvin Yalom, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Stanford, says that he never schedules back-to-back appointments. […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Vayakhel-Pekudei (Exodus 35-40) (Parshat HaChodesh)Unlocking Your Potential without Destroying It

Unlocking Your Potential without Destroying It[The following idea is from a classic 19th century Chassidic work called Mei HaShiloach (Living Waters) addressing one of life’s great challenges: On one hand we need to realize our significance and that we were created for a unique purpose but at the same time we should realize that our accomplishments ultimately come […]

Rabbi O on Purim: The Masks of Purim and COVID

 Wearing a mask was once child’s play but one year ago, the role of masks changed dramatically. We now understand that wearing a mask can be a matter of life and death – for us and those around us. In the book Simple Words: Thinking About What Really Matters in Life, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz devoted an entire […]