Archive | July, 2014

Free Love!

28 Jul

As we “go to press” (publish our weekly words of Torah), a de facto ceasefire has taken hold in Gaza.  We have not heard that Israel officially accepts this “truce,” that was literally forced upon it by the “OK duo” of Obama and Kerry, but it is nevertheless in force.  We hope that Israel manages to destroy all the tunnels that Hamas burrowed under Israeli territory in order to kill and terrorize the Israeli population.  In the meantime, we turn our attention to other matters – today is Rosh Hodesh Av, the first day of the Jewish month of Av.  On this day, Aharon the high priest died, and the timing is no coincidence.  Aharon embodied the concept of Ahavat Yisrael – love of a fellow Jew, regardless of his status, abilities or views.  Love of our fellow, and especially of our Jewish brothers and sisters, is a very important component of bringing the ultimate redemption of all of mankind.  The Temple was destroyed precisely because of lack of love, and it will be rebuilt as the result of “free love” among Jew, and among all peoples.  For the next nine days or so, it is a very serious time of introspection and minimizing of ourselves and our egos.  Let it be for the good and result in good news for all of us…for something on the weekly Torah portion, go to  To delve more deeply into the subject of prayer and meditation, go to, and finally for a bit of history and color on Chabad in Jerusalem, go to 

And don’t forget to have a look at, as well as  A little something for everyone!

Our Way

16 Jul

A couple of weeks ago, we read the prophecy of a non-Jew (Bilam) and what he had to say about the Jews. Among other things, he described the Jews as “a nation that dwells alone.” That can be an intimidating thought, but these days it seems to be true. As Hamas shows its true colors, shooting from civilian quarters and beseeching its population to remain in place as the Israeli army enters, we Jews know that we “march to a different drummer.” For example, we go way out of our way to avoid harming Gaza civilians, even though by willingly remaining in the line of fire they become accomplices to the conflict. Some of the world sympathizes with us, but only so much and only for so long. So, is there anything wrong with blazing our own path, with being a nation that “does things our way”? I for one am becoming very comfortable with the idea. We’re on our own national journey and we can be quite proud of that. Want to know more about the Jewish journey? Go to Feeling like praying, cause the situation calls for it? Go to Want to know more about Chabad in Jerusalem? is for you!
And if you’re an avid reader of Jewish spiritual matters, you’ll enjoy both as well as That should keep us all busy for awhile!

Where were you when the missiles fell?

9 Jul

Where were you when the missiles fell? All of us here in Israel have a miklat, or bomb shelter nearby. Whether we run there or not when the sirens go off, is another question. As a friend of mine said, “I’m not one to run away from a fight.” So, he does not run to the shelter. But, how can you fight? Here’s a suggestion from this week’s Torah portion. Take a spear. That’s right, you heard me, take a spear in your hand. “Spear” in Hebrew is romeach, and it has numerical value of 248. There are 248 words in the shema and 248 commandments from the Torah. Our bodies contain 248 organs, and we protect ourselves by saying the shema and fulfilling the commandments. So, I’m not saying to avoid the shelters, they are still a good idea if you live in this neighborhood. But, grab a spear while you’re at it and give yourself some real protection. Say the shema twice a day and do a few mitzvoth. It improves your risk/reward ratio. There’s much more to be said about this, but for that, you’ll have to go to And if you want to delve even deeper and develop some techniques of prayer and meditation, go to Or just go to and you will find out about some great events in Jerusalem. If you’re into chasidut and prayer, check out and for a whole magazine on spirituality, go to Lots of ways to fight the missiles…

The Holy Ones

1 Jul

 Today is Gimmel Tammuz, the twentieth anniversary of the passing of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. I was emotionally numb since receiving the news of the three kidnapped and murdered boys last night, but that changed when I went to pray today. Chabad meditative prayer is intellectual, it’s all about soaring on the wings of lofty spiritual concepts. But as I focused and meditated and my thoughts took me to where they are supposed to go, the tears also came. I can’t explain it. All of a sudden the senseless loneliness and sorrow of the boys and their families hit me like a ton of bricks. The tears started and they haven’t stopped.
As if the news of the boys was not enough, a dear friend called me last night and told me that he lost his mother. The levaya is today, gimmel Tammuz. His family is not just another noble Jewish family. They are the rabonim and poskim of the largest congregation in London and hence in all of Europe. Meaning, they do not live for themselves, they are dedicated to all of the Jewish people.
Taken altogether, we begin to get the picture. There are days when the kedoshim, the holy ones of the Jewish people, are taken back to their source. Whether the Rebbe, whether the three boys, whether my friend’s mother, for some reason known only to Him, they are needed more upstairs than they are down here. They can do more for us from Above than they can down here in this physical world. No longer limited to a physical body, their souls can have an unlimited influence on the rest of the world. If I can, I’m going to the levaya of the boys. They are holy.

For more words of Torah on the weekly portion, go to  If you would like to learn a method and technique of meditative prayer, go to, and if you just want to know what’s going on with Chabad in Jeruslaem, check out  Plus here are a couple more sites for your educational benefit: and  A little something for everyone…