Observance and Outlook

14 Items

Although faith is central to Judaism it is ultimately based on action; we learn in order to do. This is why the concept of Tikun Olam, rectifying the world, is such an important idea. The mitzvot, are much more than commandments, they are ways in which we connect to others and the world we live in, as well as to our inner selves and ultimately to God. Along with, and behind the actions we do, are the attitudes and the world view we adopt. How we approach others and God goes hand in hand with our actions. Therefore, Judaism strives for an ideal where our thoughts, speech and deeds reflect a unity of purpose and our inner belief system.

Comparing the Educational Strategies of the Ba’al Shem Tov and Reb Shlomo Carlebach (An excerpt from the book “What Do We Know” an anthology compiled by Rabbi Joseph Schonwald)

  In this brief article I will compare the essential teachings and educational philosophy of the Ba’al Shem Tov (1698–1760) to those of Reb Shlomo Carlebach (1925–1994). Although they were born 227 years apart, the spirit of their respective generations, their life missions, and the specific strategies they used to impart their messages reveal uncanny […]

Kashrut and Health: The Signs of a Kosher Animal

Signs of a Kosher Animal As with all the teachings of the Torah the signs of a kosher animal can be understood on many different levels. The ten kosher animals listed in the Torah all have both split hooves and chew their cud. What all these animals have in common is that they all graze […]

Kashrut and Health: Eating Dairy Foods on Shavuot

Many answers are given to this question – from the practical to the mystical. During the fifty day period from the departure from Egypt to the day the Jewish people received the Torah at Sinai certain laws were already being given. Among these were the laws of kashrut. Since this was such a new and […]

Kashrut and Health: The Prohibition of Eating Blood

Along with the laws governing which animals can and cannot be eaten and how they have to be ritually slaughtered, the Torah commands us to not eat the blood of animals. In fact, the Torah repeats this many times in order to emphasize the importance of not ingesting blood. The reason given is that the […]

Joy: Depression

There is a big difference between an initial or short term emotional reaction and long term depression.

Joy: Our Lot in Life

There is no doubt that achieving happiness despite difficult circumstances in life is an enormous challenge

Joy: Religion and Joy

The answer to whether being religious makes it easier to be happy is typically Jewish – yes, no and maybe. It would be easy to say that becoming religious and adopting a Torah life style will bring a guarantee of happiness and the truth is that it really should accomplish this for a number of […]

Joy: Joy and Adversity

King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes: “To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven…a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance…” The Zohar, the classic work of Kabbalah, describes the inner psyche of man as “crying being on one side […]

Joy: Who is Rich?

It is obvious to anyone who has seen a bit of the world and known people from all strata of society that money is no guarantee of happiness. It may even be true that the more money the more problems and in many cases the more unhappiness. In fact, this sentiment was expressed clearly in […]

Relationships: Soul Mates

A general spiritual principle states that certain things we want to occur in our lives only actually manifest when we are ready for them to happen. This holds true for finding one’s soul mate as well. If a person is not ready for a life long loving relationship, the likelihood of meeting someone who is […]

Relationships: Free Love and Commitment

We live in a world of the fast lane, of immediate gratification and the communications revolution. We are bombarded 24/7 with media, stimulus and breaking news. We can be bi-sexual, gay, transsexual, all the above or just live with someone, go bar hopping or have an illicit affair now and again. So with all of […]

Relationships: Love at First Sight

Kabbalah most definitely recognizes the reality of love at first sight. When soul mates meet there is sometimes, though not always, an immediate recognition that this is the one I am destined for. In fact, the Torah describes some of the most famous examples of this phenomenon. Adam, when first seeing Eve after she was […]

What Do We Know?

According to Jewish tradition when saying the Shema, (Hear Oh Israel, God is our God, God is One) the cardinal statement of Jewish faith, we not only close our eyes, we also put our hand over them. Among the countless explanations for this custom is the understanding that, as the Talmud states, this world is […]

The Secret of Mitzvot

The usual translation for the word mitzvah is commandment. While this is certainly correct, it is explained in the Talmud that the root of the word mitzvah means “connection.” A mitzvah, like the ladder in Jacob’s dream, has the power to connect earth to heaven. A mitzvah is a conduit connecting God and man, and […]