Here it is – The Social Sermon!

The purpose of the Social Sermon project was to see if there is an obvious and constructive way that we could harness the social element that we value in our shul. Hence: The concept is to have people from all over the world sending in their favorite jokes, favorite stories, and favorite Divrei Torah. After several months we collate the best of each. Several months later we narrow down the playing field into one speech. Your joke, your story, your Torah, our Sermon. The response was overwhelming. I want to thank everybody who took the time to submit Torah to the Website. I also would like to thank the following individuals whose jokes, stories, and divrei Torah made up the content of this speech: Shana Weinstein of Tokyo Japan, R’ Ally Ehrman of Jerusalem Israel, R’ Shalom Baum of Teaneck New Jersey, Alison Hanard of Covington Kentucky, Ellie Ryzman of Los Angeles California, Simmy Webber of New York New York, and R’ Efrem Goldberg of Boca Raton.

Here is the sum total:

[Note: There is absolutely no way to determine what d’var Torah is best and what is second best. There were thematic considerations and also certain emotional connections that aided in the selection process]

The State of Israel decided that they wanted to get in to the International Rowing Competition. And they put together a team and they entered into a bunch of tournaments, all of which they lost by a huge margin. It wasn’t even close. So they sat down to figure out what they can do. They decide why don’t we send one member to the United States and have him observe the team at Columbia, Penn State, etc. He’s been gone for a couple of weeks and there’s been much anticipation about his return and he does come back – they hope he’s got a clue for them. They sit down and they say “nu, Moish, what did you find out?” He says “I did find out the solution”. So they said “what are we doing wrong?” He says “in America, everybody rows AND Only ONE GUY YELLS.”

I had no choice but to use that joke as it was sent to me from Japan. But the message is a good one. We all seek to be heard. In a day and age of ATM’s, EZ Pass, and Check-out lines that don’t need a clerk – we still long to connect to other people. In 2012 it’s clear that we still need friends.

The Pnei Menachem (see Matos) points to the Gemara in Makkos which teaches us that if a student has to go to a city of refuge (ערי מקלט) – his teacher goes with him. Why? Because it says “וחי”, and the Torah is life. But based on that logic why isn’t his friend commanded to join him? Don’t we say או חברותא או מיתותא -give me my partner or give me death (Taanis 23a)? Why didn’t the Gemara require his friends to join him? The answer is that if he is a real friend he doesn’t need a ציווי, he will go on his own. A friend picks up and is there by your side before you even ask.

I would like to share some advice from the Rabbinic side of the coin. If you are ever unsure about doing a chesed, or whether somebody wants you by their side, err on the side of doing too much. Just go, don’t ask questions. If you see somebody sitting alone in shul, don’t assume they want to be alone – be a friend and join them.

Our relationships, our social interactions, they are the key to our Judaism. They are the key to our Torah.  

There’s a classic contradiction between the notion that “Talmud Torah K’neged Kulam” (Torah study is the primary value) vs. “Derech Eretz Kadma L’Torah” (Being good to others precedes the Torah). Which one is the primary value? It is said that the Satmar Rebbe used to take attendance when giving shiur and while doing so he would kibbitz with the students. The students once asked their Rebbe why he does it. Isn’t it bitul Torah? The Rebbe answered that Derech Eretz is the matir (the trigger) which enables us to focus on our primary value – Torah. It’s why the Talmud begins on page 2a, because 1a is derech eretz.

Our connections, they’re the beginning of a burgeoning Judaism. And the key to any relationship – whether with others or whether with G-d, it all begins and develops with sincerity, temimus.  Listen to this story sent to me from Kentucky –

A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business. Instead of choosing one of his directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together. ”It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO,” he said. “I have decided to choose one of you.”

The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. “I am going to give each one of you a seed today – a very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO.”

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed.

Every day, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn’t have a plant and he felt like a failure.

Six months went by – still nothing in Jim’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn’t say anything to his colleagues, however. He just kept watering and the soil – he so wanted the seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick at his stomach. It was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right.

He took his empty pot to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his laughed. A few felt sorry for him!

When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives. Jim just tried to hide in the back.

“My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have grown,” said the CEO. ”Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!”

All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the financial director to bring him to the front.

Jim was terrified. He thought, “The CEO knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!” When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed. Jim told him the story. The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then

announced to the young executives, “Here is your next Chief Executive! His name is Jim!”

Jim couldn’t believe it. Jim couldn’t even grow his seed. How could he be the new CEO the others said? Then the CEO said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead – it was not possible for them to grow. All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers.

“When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive!”

We crave relationships, but not any relationship, the real one’s, the sincere and simple connections. That’s what G-d wants in our relationship with Him.

A student of the Beis Yisroel was once going through a difficult period. He wrote a letter to his Rebbe and he told his Rebbe how much he loved getting lost in the hypnotic lomdus and intellectual rigor of Talmudic study, but lately he has been having some questions in matters of faith. And those questions are impacting his general observance. What can he do? The Beis Yisroel looked over the letter and replied that the key is the Gemara in Shabbos 119b. The Gemara there says “whoever answers Amen Yehei Shmey Rabbah with all of their strength, their sins are forgiven.” Three lines later the gemara adds “even traces of idolatry are forgiven”. Asks the Beis Yisroel – what does this Gemara mean? The common explanation is that saying Amen Yehei… out loud is powerful enough that even a sin as grave as idolatry can be forgiven. But the Rebbe said “no, that’s not what it means”. Rather the Talmud is teaching us that G-d wants to hear us scream out to Him, “even with traces of idolatry”. G-d wants to hear us in all of our states. Because the key to our relationship with the Creator is not the shtick, it’s the temimus, the sincerity.

And the fact that we are trying our best is significant to the Creator. Like any good relationship, the bond is defined by what you put into it.

In Shemos (31:16) it says לעשות את השבת. What does that mean “to make the Shabbos”? Shabbos is made and is there whether we like it or not. The 7th day is Shabbos. Perhaps the meaning of this line can be understood by the subsequent line: לדורותם ברית עולם (to future generations as a covenant) If you want your yiddishkeit to pass over to the next generation – you need to make Shabbos. That means that you need to put your heart and soul into making it special. Telling stories, singing zemiros, inviting guests – make the Shabbos.

And when you put your essence into the relationship, it blossoms and grows.

There is no telling where a connection is going to develop. Sometimes, it comes in the oddest of couples.

During World War II 24 Rabbis were being held in Italy and faced the threat of return to Nazi occupied Europe with sure death facing them. The famous Rabbi, Aharon Kotler, founder of Lakewood Yeshiva, turned to the well-known Orthodox Jewish activist Irving Bunim and asked him who could intercede on behalf of these 24 Rabbis.  Irving Bunim suggested the Italian mafia.

Rabbi Kotler urged Mr. Bunim to contact them immediately.  After contacting them he asked Rabbi Kotler who are we sending to the meeting?  Rabbi Kotler replied “you and I are going”. Off they went to meet the Godfather of the Mafia, Joe Bonnano.  Rabbi Kotler did not speak English so it was Mr. Bunim who explained the problem of the 24 Rabbis trapped in Italy.

The mafia chief asked Mr.Bunim “who is the elderly man sitting next to you?”  He told him that he is the Godfather of the Jewish people. “Of all the Jewish people?” asked the mafia chief. “Yes”, replied Mr.Bunim, “of all the Jewish people”. “Tell him I want a blessing.”  Mr. Irving Bunim turned to Rabbi Aharon Kotler and in Yiddish told him, “Ehr vill a Brocha fun de Rav” (He wants a blessing from the Rabbi)”. Rabbi Kotler replied, “Zog eim ehr zol leiben lang un shtarben in bet”.

Irving Bunim turned back to the mafia chief Joe Bonnano and told him “the Rabbi blesses you with long life and that you should die in your bed”. Upon hearing this the mafia chief replied, “I like that” and promised within weeks to arrange the freedom of the 24 Rabbis stuck in Italy (which he did).

A number of years later a black stretch limo drove up to Lakewood Yeshiva in Lakewood, New Jersey.  Two well-dressed men got out and walked up to the office. They were looking for Rabbi Kotler. Out came Rabbi Shneur Kotler and told them that he is Rabbi Kotler. “No” said the two Italian guys. “We are looking for an older man.”  “That was my father but he has since passed away” stated Rabbi Kotler. The Italian guys went on to relate that their father always attributed his long life to his saintly father’s blessing. His age is especially rare in that line of business. Now that he retired in 1964 we are taking over the business and we came here for the same blessing. Sorry said Rabbi Kotler, that was my father, but I am not on that high level.  With that the mafia sons bid farewell to Rabbi Kotler.

For saving 24 Rabbis, Joe Bonnano-The Mafia Godfather lived to 97 years old perhaps on account of Rabbi Aharon Kotler’s blessing.  And he died in his bed.

Relationships emerge in places we least expect. But the real connections, the real friendships take place with deep conversations, with simple sincerity, and develop to the extent of what we are willing to put into it. 

Social Sermon this Shabbos

This Shabbat – The Social Sermon is Unleashed

Your Joke, Your Story, Your D’var Torah

Our Message

Only at WSIS

Date: Saturday, June 2nd
Time: 10:45am (during the 9:00am Shacharit)

Gala Kiddush to follow Davening

Controversial and powerful idea

Check out this controversial and powerful idea sent to me by Russ W:

My 8-year old daughter shared an insight she had learned in school about Parsha Vayeira. When Sarah learns she will have a child, she laughs at the prospect of she and her husband, given their respective old ages, having children. But when Hashem speaks with Avraham, mention of Avraham being too old is omitted. My daughter explained to me that this was, in essence, a white lie (of omission) by Hashem to spare Avraham’s feelings, omitting the reference to Avraham’s advancing years that would have been hurtful to Avraham. She took away from this story the supreme importance of taking care to avoid hurting somebody’s feelings, if at all possible.

I was wondering if this principle might apply to this week’s parsha, Toldos. Can we explain the events that transpire when Isaac is tricked into blessing Jacob instead of Esav as an effort to spare Esav’s feelings?

As both a son with two siblings, and a father of three children, I have learned that there is nothing more hurtful than the disappointment and disapproval of a parent. We want approval from our parents. And nothing is more hurtful than to be judged unworthy by a parent, especially as compared to another sibling, particularly a sibling with whom there is a bitter rivalry.

We learn in Genesis 25:28, “and Isaac Loved Eisav, and Rivka Loved Jacob” and in Genesis 27:33 “when Isaac realized that he didn’t bless Eisav, he got frightened a very big fear…” These words make clear that Isaac and Rivka each preferred different children, and that in order to elevate Jacob over Esav, Rivka engineers the deception of Yitzchak, seemingly without regard for the fact that it will fuel Esav’s hatred of Yakov.

As we review the story of the deception of Yitzchak by his wife and youngest son, we are told that Rebecca (the paragon of kindness, whose very selection as Isaac’s wife came about through her welcoming acts on behalf of Isaac’s servant Eliezer) has formed a plot to deceive her husband. She cooks two kids which Yitzchak is tricked to think is a wild animal caught by his son Esav and dresses Yakov in skins to further deceive Yitzchak. The narrative describes how Yitzchak hears Yakov’s voice and is wary, but Yitzchak’s suspicions are allayed by the hairy arms and neck and he proceeds to give blessings to Yakov which he intended to give to his firstborn Esav.

Does any of this make sense?

The beauty of these biblical stories is that they show the patriarchs and matriarchs at their best and at their worst. But this is pretty severe stuff. If true, it means that Rivka simultaneously has deceived her husband on a matter of utmost importance, undermined her eldest son and set her youngest son, Yakov, to be hated by his powerful, scary brother.

Does this seem in character for Rivka? Perhaps my incredulity is driven by the fact that I simply cannot conceive of my wife ever orchestrating such an elaborate con against me and my family. But Rivka could certainly rationalize this by viewing herself as an instrument of Hashem’s will. In fact, Hashem had told her in Genesis 25: 23 that “Two nations are in your womb;two regiems from your insides shall be seapratedl the might shall pass from one rigime to th oher, and the elder shall serve the younger.” And in 25: 33 “thus, Esav spurned his birthright.”

But what about Yitzchak? Maybe we can understand why Rivka would want to elevate Yakov over Esav, but why would Yitzchak do this to his favorite son who he loves? Should we assume that his physical blindness he was also blind to Esav’s deficiencies?

Yitzchak is a thoughtful man likely desperate to avoid scarring his son Esav the way he was affected by the near-death trauma of the Akeidah. Would this man of quiet contemplation, who we credit for creating the mincha prayer, be unaware that Yakov has greater merit than Esav? Has he been so swayed by his love of delicious game that he is blind to his children’s very different nature? Has he never spoken with his beloved Rivka about his children?

If the simple narrative is implausible what could explain the story and the events which follow? Could the entire back and forth between Yitzchak, Rivka and Yakov be part of a sham to deceive Esav? If so, why would Yitzchak and Rebecca hatch such a plan? Didn’t the parents understand the enmity that they would create between their sons?

Is it possible that this charade was orchestrated by both of the parents for the sole purpose of minimizing pain to Esav? Surely Yitzchak and Rivka must have agreed that Yakov was better suited to be the honored son who would lead the family forward, that Esav was unsuited. Eisav may be Yakov’s favorite son, but that does not mean he was blind to Esav’s deficiencies.

The text makes clear that Yakov was a thoughtful, sensitive and deferential young man. Esav was the opposite, an impulsive brute who reveled in the outdoors and who sold his birthright for a bowl of porridge; the opposite not only of tent-dwelling Yakov but also the opposite of his kind and thoughtful parents Yitzchak and Rivka.

Clearly Yakov and Rivka were faced with a dilemma. Esav was their firstborn. I can imagine them sitting over the dinner table speaking in hushed tones about Esav not being suited to lead the people forward, but as parents they must have wanted desperately to spare him the dual pain of rejection by his parents and the humiliation he would experience in their community if they elevated Yakov over Esav. What to do?

There were no neat solutions available, but I put forward that the best they came up with was an elaborate hoax to pin the blame for Yakov’s ascension on Yakov’s act of trickery. So they hatched this scheme, with the words of Rivka’s conversation with Yakov and Yakov’s conversation with Yitzchak precisely recounted, all for the purpose of easing Esav’s pain. While Esav would certainly be outraged, at least in this way Esav would not feel the pain of rejection from his parents and the community would not think less of Esav for being swindled.

Were the parents successful? If this interpretation of what actually took place is correct, then the outcome was successful from the parents’ point of view. Esav was outraged at his brother, but there is no mention of anger toward his parents. Esav does not view the chain of events as rejection by his parents. He bides his time, waiting for the day when he can get revenge on his brother. He is furious, but his spirit is unbowed. In short, he has been spared the pain and humiliation of rejection.

Thank you for considering this alternative interpretation.

New Torah question

Here is a posting from Arthur:  (let me know your thoughts)

Rabbi   ….  Why in the Torah when it refers to a famine in the land
does it always stress that it was not to be confused with the other
previous  famines ….why the need to always distinguish this famine
from the others.
Thanks in advance …not to be confused with my previous thanks to you
for answering the question about why Hashem sent a Malachto undue the
akeydah and didn’t undue it himself.



Jokes from my mother

1. ” Don’t be sad,” says Finkelstein on his deathbed. ” I’ve had 80 good years.”
” But you’re 98!” says his wife.
” I know.”
2. ” Oy,” says Sophie.
“Oy Vey,” says Esther.
“Oy veyizmir.” says Sadie
” I thought we weren’t going to talk about the children,” says Mildred.
3. G-d agrees to grant Hyman a wish, with the condition that whatever he asks for,
his brother-in-law will get double.
” Okay,” Hyman says, ” I wish I were half-dead.”
4. Klein brags to Cohen about his new hearing aid:It’s the best one made-
I now understand everything!”
” What kind is it?” Cohen asks.
” 3:15.”
5. What does a Jew hope people will say about him at his funeral?
” Look! He’s moving !”

Hi there: here is a great post from Evan –
Great idea Rabbi!  The website looks great!
Here are two quick ideas that are always on my mind, and may make for a good sermon:
1) “Sameach B’chelko” (be satisfied with what you have): Much easier said than done, especially for one with ambition and desires for both spiritual and professional growth.  It’s quite common in our Jewish communities to look around at what others have and try to compete.  The “Keeping up with the Joneses” mentality is pervasive in the Jewish world and its communities, and is quite difficult to rid.  Many over-extend themselves trying to impress others, instead of living within their means and being satisfied, as Tradition teaches.  This is one of the fundamental tenets I try to live by, but it is much easier said than done.
2) Value of a Jewish Education: Is a Jewish day school education worth $25 k a year? (this is more of a major Jewish issue, not sure its well suited for a sermon, but i know many in the congregation are incredibly concerned about this issue, to the point where some people are pushing back having children, or planning on having fewer children than they would otherwise desire).
Sorry for the stream if consciousness.  Hope it helps!
Good luck with the project!

Our first Torah post – thank you Ian

The Kee Teytzai Connection:

Desire, Romance, and Attachment, by Rabbi Ian Bailey,

This article discusses the mechanism by which we from close relationships and marry, and provides psychological backing from contemporary sources for the Biblical injunction that a groom must spend extra time with his wife during the first year of marriage. It also underlines the the Torah-based mechanism for which couples can maintain romance in their relationships after the first few years of marriage, clearly dispelling common opinions and methods on the matter.

Psychologists discuss the underlying psychological and biological (“biobehavioral”) ways in which we form close relationships with the opposite gender. Once someone has found and spends time with the type of partner whom he or she prefers (correct temperament, mannerisms, background, etc.), that person is likely to develop fond feelings for the partner and find his- or herself with what is labeled as drive or desire for the other person. This is often coupled with or followed by what is called romantic love. The former is more deeply rooted in biology, but is connected to actions and thoughts, while the latter is something that may occur in such unhealthy ways as a quickly created obsession or, hopefully, grow healthily and naturally over time, as the couple spends time together and relates.

What is missing from this list is a third, well-known and intriguing biobehavioral system called attachment. When a couple initially connects, they may feel passionate feelings or the desire to connect physically, and these feelings can be healthy, proper feelings and lead to a healthy relationships and marriage, but they still are missing the healthy, true bond of attachment that is present in real relationships. This attachment is essential, because after this bond is created, the tone of the romance and desire components of the relationship are dictated by the quality of the relational bond of the couple (!). In other words, it is normal for intense feelings of romance to dwindle in a relationship, because those feelings by definition only last in relationships that have a real healthy bond. (All who want to work on themselves and their marriages will have more romance and love- it’s not something you can buy or order up!)

In their comprehensive but politically biased work on the family life cycle, McGoldrick, Carter and Garcia-Preto, (2011) discuss this bond, and explain that it is usually created after a year or two of a couple living together, specifically when romantic love wanes to near non-existence. This observation by well known psychologists – who clearly do not derive their psycholigical insight from Biblical sources – is the biobehavioral background for what Jews know centuries ago, “Shana Rishona” “The first year” that a couple spends together (based on Duet. 24:5). Newlyweds spend down-to-earth quality time together during this year, with the husband not traveling or risking his life in war, so that the couple can form a healthy bond (after that, risk away!). This quality time has been demonstrated to be essential to healthy marriages by Dr. John Mordechai Gottman, who has penned his findings in practical advice and digestible content in The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work (Gottman & Silver, 1999) and other books.

It is up to the couple to spend quality time together and rid themselves of unhealthy attachments, in order to properly connect.

“Therefore, a man will forsake his father and his mother and attach to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”

(Gen. 2:24)

This sentence, which many of us have heard and read on numerous occasions, has much significance, when understood in the light of Jewish tradition and contemporary psychological theory. The sentence does not read ‘a man will have left’ ‘ne’ezav’ in the passive, but ‘will forsake’. The sentence is saying that it is not a description of but an imperative for a man to forsake the unhealthy attachments from his youth, in order to actively form the bond with his wife “davak”.

Anyone who is married can attest to the fact that these attachments are what couples deal with for some time, especially at the beginning of marriage (Why do you need your food so badly? Why do you speak with your mother so often, it hurts our relationship? We need the money, why can’t I take this new job and move away from your family? We need to be independent). Also, new attachments are what each spouse picks up on in their partner and naturally rejects (Honey, you just quit smoking but replaced it with drinking caffeine. Is everything ok, since we moved away from your sister, you call me very often, when I am at work?).

There is a very interesting law that a Jewish soldier is allowed to take a women from a non-Jews enemy nation and perform a conversion process on her and marry her (Deut. 21:10-14). During her conversion process, he must have her look disheveled and mourn her former family. After a man marries such a woman, he may he may end up staying married to her, or if he finds himself

“…not desiring her, he can send her ‘self’ [lenafsha] away…”

Scripture heralds that [his] destiny is to hate her.

(Deut. 21:24, with Rashi)

The Torah and Rashi are explaining that when a man is compelled to send away a woman such as this, that his attachment to her was solely to her appearance. Lenafsha is an extra word here; it means her ‘self’ in a very deep way. It is the same word as soul, and is often used to describe something that is living (as in the story of Creation). In conjunction, the Torah did not use a more common word for desire ratza ‘to want something’, but chafetz, which has the connotation more of desiring an object (which is why the noun c’hefetz’ means ‘object’). He is essentially sending away an object that he was attached to, not the woman that she truly is.(1)

This soldier doesn’t really like her inner self, her true essence as a person. This section of the Torah, as has been said (Devarim Rabbah), is attempting to drive this woman away from the man, because, for some reason that needs explanation, our sages say that soldiers cannot help but desire these types of women during battle, and the Torah, consequently, made a mechanism to attempt to remove her from his life (Rashi, Talmud Kiddushin). With our understanding of attachment, this mechanism works quite well. It will dissolve this man’s attachment to her, through making her do these mournful actions and removing romantic love and desire; the couple has no real attachment, and, if they do, they will stay married (King David has many such wives, so one cannot fully disparage the idea). The analogy to relationships in life’s everyday interactions is clear. As with Amnon and Tamar, looks alone are not what form a healthy connection; they create but a romantic obsession.

May we all detach from unhealthy attachments and create healthy ones with healthy people and constructive concepts.

Ian Bailey

(1) Rashi sounds like he is saying that every person who does this will hate the woman. He may mean this quite literally: that anyone who actually succeeds in marrying her totally changed his attachment to the woman, but always ran the risk of hating or did hate her.


McGoldrick, M., Carter, B., and Garcia-Preto, N., (2011). The Family Life Cycle: Individual, Family, and Social Perspectives . Boston: Allyn and Bacon

Gottman, J., Silver, N. (1999). The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. New York: Crown Publishers

Our first inspirational post – thank you Judy Shapiro

Great idea and I, for one, love the idea of this experiment. No moving story but just a comment on today’s sermon about a different perspective.

I have observed that I am stuck on a problem – the best way to break through is to turn it around. Here is a picture to demonstrate my point that I happen to post just last week!

The power of the different perspective…


Our first joke

So we officially have our first joke: thank you to therapydoc

It’s a great idea, rabbi. (I saw you on Twitter, somehow, social networking is weird). The best ones have the little stories in them, like the one about the kollelnik, who doesn’t make it to minyan. The R”K confronts him, says, “Nu, Yankel, you’re not making it to Shachrit anymore. What’s up?” Yankel tells him that there’s this woman in his building with four little kids, and she can’t get them off to school on time, and they are dawdling and crying and need lunches, and she’s overwhelmed, so he helps her.

“OMG,” shouts the R”Y (or something like that). “Who is this woman? We’ll try to help!”

“This woman, the young man replies,” is my wife.

Gut vach, Rabbi. I’ll follow your blog.

Let the Torah begin!

Hi all! We had a great talk today in shul. I shared with you my counterintuitive sermon. My words today were inspired by my amazing congregation that teaches me to think a second time.

So let’s get posting. For the next month comment on this main page with your best divrei torah. Send me the best Torah idea you ever heard. It doesn’t need to relate to any Torah portion specifically. Send me something your grandmother told you. Anything. Send me your best thoughts. Let’s get some discussion going. In a month or so – we’ll vote on the top divrei torah.

If you’re wondering how you can post:

1) Comment directly on the page by hitting the comment button.

2) Email me at

See you in shul!