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Archive for March, 2017

SERMON: How Much Would You Pay Me to Pray for You?

How much would you pay me to pray for you? Those of you who have observed me over the years would not pay much! You know prayer is not my strong suit and your return on the investment might not be worth it. But you should know that there are thousands of Jews today –perhaps tens of thousands or more – who are spending their money for rabbis to pray for them. READ MORE

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SERMON: Anti-Semitism: Do We Have a Problem?

Benny was right all along … I should have known it!

Rabbi Benjamin Blech is one of the most widely regarded teachers and preachers within the Orthodox Jewish world. He is a professor at Yeshiva University, the author of books on topics ranging from the Sistine Chapel to the mystical meaning of the Jewish alphabet! His book, The Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Judaism, is the clearest and easiest explanation of the fundamentals of Judaism that I know of. Even I understand the book!

The truth is, I understand most anything and everything Rabbi Blech has taught me. In a very real sense, he has been my most important teacher. Our connection goes back all the way to when I was in the 6th grade at Yeshiva Toras Emes and his father, of blessed memory, was my rebbe. Just about the same time, at summer camp, I fell in love with my beautiful waitress who turned out to be his girlfriend and now his wife! For many summers, he was a teacher at Camp Morasha while I was a teacher at nearby Camp B’nai B’rith. I would spend hours with my tape recorder just listening to him expound on Jewish topics. What did he have to say? You already know it! You’ve heard it in my sermons over the years. Strangely enough, in recent weeks, I kept thinking about something he wrote more than 40 years ago in New York’s Newsday newspaper, words that I could not identify with at the time, and thought were off base. I called and asked Benny to send me a copy of the article and after reading it, I realize how right he was. READ MORE

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SERMON: I’m Not Going to Talk about Donald Trump …

President Donald Trump advocates revoking the Johnson Amendment. And that could
make all the difference in the world for me!

The Johnson Amendment, named for then Senator Lyndon Johnson, is a provision in the U.S. Tax Code that prohibits non-profit organizations, most especially religious institutions, from endorsing or opposing political candidates. If the amendment is revoked, finally, finally, I’ll be able to discuss politics in my sermons! The fact of the matter is, a good case can be made for revoking the amendment. Does it really make sense that under the present law, Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian can express their moral and ethical views on political issues, but rabbis, priests and ministers cannot? The truth is, contrary to popular opinion, rabbis have always discussed politics. When Napoleon’s army invaded Russia, a bitter battle broke out amongst major rabbis. The Lubavitcher Rebbe felt the freedom that Napoleon would be offering the Jews would cause Jews to assimilate. So he supported the Czar. The Chernobler Rebbe saw the French Enlightenment as a hope for Russian Jews to no longer have to be attacked, tortured and murdered by the Czar’s henchmen. So he supported Napoleon. READ MORE