Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20-30:10)

Diamond in the RoughYou shall place both stones on the shoulder straps of the ephod, remembrance stones for the Children of Israel. (Exodus 28:12)Moses was commanded to make garments for the Cohen Gadol— ‘high priest.’ Included in these was a piece of clothing similar to an apron called the ephod. It had two shoulder straps and held precious […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Teruma (Exodus 25:1-27:19)

Putting in Your Personal Touch Have you ever put together something from Ikea? Their instructions are a series of pictures without any accompanying explanatory text. It would have been helpful if we had been given even minimal textual prompts, but the decision was made that this is how they are going to instruct their customers, and […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Mishpatim (Exodus 21-24)

What’s Your Bribe Linguists are at a loss to find an origin for the word bribe. It was first used in 14th century old French, but it means “steal.” By the mid-15th century its meaning had shifted to “gift given to influence corruptly.” No one knows where “bribe” came from or how it ultimately came to have […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Yitro (Shemos /Exodus 18-20)

Unsung Heroes and Your Unique ContributionSince the breakout of the war, we have heard so many stories of heroism. Some involve a hero with a name and a picture. Some involve an anonymous hero who makes a donation or performs an act of chesed (kindness) and then disappears. And then there are stories that we never even […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Bo (Exodus 10:1-13:16)

Killing Your Options Syrian Jews have a custom to sing a Hebrew poem at a brit milah (circumcision).People worry about their wealth being, but not about their days fleeing         (Odam doeg al ibud domov v’einu doeg al ibud yomov)Money will not help their yearning; the days that pass will not be returning.    (Damov einum ozrim, yomav einum chozrim).Life is about making […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Vaeira (Exodus 6:2-9:35)

The Solution to Your Problem isn’t Complicated–It’s DifficultThe sinking of the Titanic on her maiden voyage was a great nautical catastrophe but the real tragedy is that it could have been avoided. One of the most foolish mistakes was that the ship’s radio operators received 21 warnings of ice, all of which were ignored. The Titanic serves a metaphor […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Shemos (Exodus 1:1-6:1)

To Thine Self Be True (Derech Eretz kadmah l’Torah) Imagine a U.S. army General telling a soldier on kitchen duty he would like to speak with him after dinner about an important covert mission. Would this soldier need permission from his Sergeant? Whether it is the head football coach changing a play or a CEO overruling a […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Vayigash (Genesis 44:18-47:27)

How to Motivate Yourself to do Good ThingsAnd Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph; is my father still alive? And his brothers could not answer him because they were terrified at his presence. (45:3)Instead of simply stating, “I am Joseph,” he added “Is my father still alive?” Anyone following the story knows that he […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Mikeitz (Genesis 41:1-44:17)

Learning to Recognize the Right People [While Joseph is still in prison, Pharaoh dreams of cows and sheaves and demands that someone interprets his dreams. The wine steward remembered Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams, mentioned it to Pharaoh, and Joseph was freed and brought before Pharaoh, who acknowledges the truth of Joseph’s interpretation (about the impending […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly: Vayashev (Genesis 37-40)

How Do You Wrap Your Chanukah Gifts?Here’s a rarely discussed Chanukah topic: How should one give a Chanukah present? Sometimes it’s sufficient to simply ship it with an attached note but usually we have to wrap it and hand deliver it. A group of researchers (https://theconversation.com/the-science-of-gift-wrapping-explains-why-sloppy-is-better-128506) set out to find out what impact wrapping has on a recipient’s appreciation […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Chaye Sara (Genesis 23:1-25:18)

Kindness Explained This week’s Parsha begins with the sad tiding of Sara’s death. Abraham goes through a complicated negotiation in order to purchase a burial spot for her as well as delivering a eulogy. The Midrash applies a verse to these kind deeds: He who pursues charity and kindness will find life, charity, and honor. (Proverbs 21:21). […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Vayeira (Genesis 18:22)

  Don’t Write a Check, Make the TrekQuestion: Who is the oldest person in the Bible to have been circumcised and how old was he? Answer: Abraham was 99 years old when he circumcised himself. Even though he was in a lot of pain, he was distressed that no visitors were coming his way. Finally, […]

  Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Vayeira (Genesis 18:22) Don’t Write a Check, Make the TrekQuestion: Who is the oldest person in the Bible to have been circumcised and how old was he? Answer: Abraham was 99 years old when he circumcised himself. Even though he was in a lot of pain, he was distressed that no visitors […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha Lech Lecha (Genesis 12-17)

Are You Trading Your Happiness? We don’t need modern research to tell us that money can’t buy happiness, yet when an article comes out that provides concrete data or insights into the relationship between money and happiness, it is worthwhile to pay attention. Four years ago, Arthur Brooks wrote in an article documenting that while consumption has […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Noach (Genesis 6:9-11:32)

What Does Your Ark Look Like? These are the offspring of Noah; Noah as a righteous man, perfect in his generation…(Gen. 6:9) Was Noah truly righteous OR was he righteous only in his generation? If he had lived in the generation of Abraham, he would not have been considered anything of significance. According to this explanation, […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Breishis (Genesis 1-6:8)

Shine Your Light: Reaction to the Tragedies in IsraelMost years the Haftorah this week contains the famous verse that the Jewish people will be a light to the nations (Isaiah 42:6). The light we have given the world has been made apparent due to the tragic events of this past week. If you want to get an indication […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Breishis (Genesis 1-6:8)

Shine Your Light: Reaction to the Tragedies in Israel Most years the Haftorah this week contains the famous verse that the Jewish people will be a light to the nations (Isaiah 42:6). The light we have given the world has been made apparent due to the tragic events of this past week. If you want to get an […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Sukkot 5784-2023

A Woman goes to her therapist and complains that she doesn’t want to marry but her parents are pressuring her to do so.Woman: I am educated, independent, and self-sufficient. I don’t need a husband.Therapist: Due to your intelligence and track record of achievement, you will undoubtedly be a success but it’s inevitable that not everything will […]

Rosh Hashanah-5784/2023 Using Feminine Energy to Transform Ourselves

Rosh Hashanah-5784/2023 Using Feminine Energy to Transform Ourselves  A careful study of the holiday of Rosh Hashanah reveals that it is closely associated with women. Let us cite a few examples. (1) When the Talmud seeks to relate to the power of prayer on this day it illustrates this by noting that three women […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly: Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8) Compassion Leads to Long Life 

 Compassion Leads to Long Life It’s clinically proven and also common sense that being a kind, compassionate, and generous person contributes to good health and longevity. According to a recent study, people who are compassionate have less stress, and a reduced the chance of heart failure, which leads to longevity. Compassion might not always be the cause for […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly:  Re’eh (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17)

Deliberate Self-Harm You are children of the Almighty, your G-d. You shall neither cut yourselves nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead. For you are a holy people to the Almighty, your G-d. (Deut. 14:1, 2) There is a Torah prohibition against cutting oneself or tearing out one’s hair when grieving over the […]

Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Eikev (Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25)

Doing Ritual Without Being Habitual This Parsha is a long speech given by Moses reiterating the basic deal the Almighty offers us: if we observe the mitzvot—even the “small” mitzvot—He will keep the promises made to our ancestors. A public speaking evaluator might analyze it in one of two ways: Moses’ speech was meticulously prepared with conscious […]