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
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
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
This is the time of year when pundits make predictions for the future. I am definitely not going to do that! Who would have predicted at this time last year that the so-called “civilized world” would stand by when hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians were being gassed and bombed? Who ever imagined that Britain would vote to pull out of the European Union? And then, of course, there’s Donald Trump. Many still can’t believe it! We are living in a world in turmoil, and there is really no way of predicting what the future may bring. I, for one, can do little – if anything – to set the world straight. But I can do something regarding the Jewish people! I can have an effect on the future. Not by predicting it – even I don’t claim to be a prophet – but by correcting some of the mistakes that our people have made in the past year in the hope that it won’t happen again in the year ahead. READ MORE
It’s beginning to look a lot like ____________. You fill in the blank! Tonight, Jews usher in Chanukah and Christians usher in Christmas. That has only happened four times in the last 100 years! It’s good when it happens because things seem to be easier and work out better when these two holidays come out at the same time. The children in our day school can be told they have no school during the last week in December because it’s Chanukah. We are singing when Christians are singing. We are giving gifts when they are giving gifts. We can celebrate when they are celebrating!
That is the good side of when the two holidays come out at the same time. The flip side is that when they come together people tend to mix them up, thinking that they are both basically the same. I remember once reading of a service available for Jewish children at this time of year to write Bubbie and Zaide in the North Pole asking for Chanukah presents! Why Bubbie and Zaide are in the North Pole and not Miami Beach at this time of year is beyond me! The fact is, while Chanukah and Christmas are very different, Chanukah does have a unique meaning to Christians … while Christmas, over the centuries, had a special meaning for Jews. READ MORE
I know you will love this story and I know you’ll find this story hard to believe. But it appeared on two of the most popular Orthodox websites, Yeshiva World News and Matzav, and was referred to in numerous other Jewish blogs, because, if nothing else, it made Orthodox Jews look good. The story goes as follows:
Mr. Sol Werdiger, CEO of Outerstuff, a company that produces sports apparel, received a phone call from Mr. Oh Joon, the South Korean UN Ambassador, asking to meet him for lunch at a kosher restaurant in Manhattan. Although Sol did not know the purpose of the meeting he agreed to meet with Mr. Joon. READ MORE
I am about to make two brief statements that, in my wildest dreams, or worst nightmares, I never thought I would say. The first is: God bless Donald Trump. The second is: I want to talk to you today about the genius of Donald Trump.
I say “God bless Donald Trump” because he has given me a treasure trove of topics to discuss in my sermons. I speak of the “genius” of Donald Trump because we welcome our guests who are participating in the Weiner Tournament, and I feel that Trump has a lesson for all of them, and you, to learn. READ MORE