Thoughts on Birthing and the Ideal Era

Well, I get a mazal tov. We just had a baby boy on Tuesday, thank G-d! (we Chassidim say Thank G-d not just when getting through danger, but whenever we see a blessing in our lives). He is 6 pounds and beautiful and I am so grateful we got through fine. Every baby is truly a miracle. According to our tradition, we do not officially give a boy a name until the baby is circumcised, eight days after birth. But I will speak about the name and naming in general when this day arrives G-d willing after next Tuesday. I … Continue reading

The Silly and the Sacred

The basis for all of our mistakes is foolishness, says Schneur Zalman of Liadi, but what can we do about this foolishness? How can a vicious cycle of behavior be transformed into something productive, and is it necessary to uproot bad habits or to redirect impulses? Today marks 57 years since Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn accepted the leadership of the Lubavitcher Chassidim whose headquarters are in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. After his predecessor, Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, passed away a year earlier, his son-in-law refused the position of Rebbe for an entire year until the day after the anniversary of the previous … Continue reading

Jesus, Our Promised Messiah

There are many people and religions out there that recognize Jesus as a good man but don’t believe Him to be the promised Messiah (anointed one). But, either Jesus is who He claimed, or He’s a liar. What honor, if any, does a liar deserve, whether they are good or not? When looking at the Old Testament prophesies of Jesus you can see there are some pretty specific events that had to take place in order for us to know He is the Messiah. In fact, there are over 360 prophesies that Jesus fulfilled! He was born where scripture said … Continue reading

Is the World More Peaceful?

I see it often expressed that we are living in a world of increased darkness and chaos. Fears of terrorism reach a diversity of people, regardless of ethnic background, location or social class. People are afraid to ride the subway, sit down in a café, and this isn’t just in the Land of Israel, but the fear penetrates even in former safe havens, such as Middle America. Right now, we are worried about Iran and its nuclear capabilities; its declared enemies are the U.S. and Israel, which it plans to “wipe off the map (but we are approaching the holiday … Continue reading

Israel’s Miracle Baby

Every child is a miracle, as any woman who has given birth, any father who has cradled the tiny breathing body in his hands, and every midwife knows. However, in Naharia, Israel, a birth, which was intended to be a termination of a pregnancy resembled the kind of miracles we see when the Jewish Messiah comes; when the dead will rise again. A woman in Naharia, a town in the far North of Israel, was having a difficult pregnancy. Five months pregnant, she had gone to the hospital for tests which showed she was experiencing some intrauterine bleeding and the … Continue reading

Why a Jewish Burial?

An elderly woman came up to her rabbi and told him that she was planning to be cremated and to have her ashes spread over a shopping mall. When the rabbi asked her why she wanted her ashes scattered over a shopping mall, the woman answered, “At least I know my daughters will visit me at least twice a week.” What are the advantages of a traditional Jewish burial over cremation? Many people say they want to be cremated because it is more convenient for the family, or they don’t feel any connection with the ritual of burial. However, a … Continue reading

Tu B’Shevat is (almost) Here

I love Tu B’Shevat, because it always brings warmth and sweetness to the winter, and is a much tastier reminder than Groundhog’s day that winter is nearly over. Tu B’Shevat is called the Rosh Hashana for trees, and many celebrate this holiday by eating a lot of different kinds of fruit particularly fruit associated with Eretz Yisroel. We make special blessings on 7 kinds of food that characterize the Land of Israel, including figs, pomegranates, dates, barley, grapes, wheat and olives. Although not all of these foods grow on trees and not all of them are fruits, it is a … Continue reading

Going Forward Through the Sea

This week’s Torah portion describes one of the greatest miracles ever recorded: The Splitting of the Red Sea. It is said that even the simplest handmaid who saw this event experienced the highest level of prophecy. The Lubavitcher Rebbe has said that the we are currently in the era of the messiah and the Ultimate Redemption. This redemption will resemble the redemption from Egypt, which we read about in the Book of Shemot, or Exodus. Since the coming Redemption will be even greater than the exodus from Egypt, we can expect to see miracles even more astounding than the splitting … Continue reading

Shevat: Bearing Fruit

We are currently in the month of Shevat (today is the 4th), and according to Jewish Astrology, this is the month during which we examine the spiritual aspect of eating. The main holiday in the month of Shevat is Tu B’Shevat (the 15th) when we celebrate the new year for trees. It is traditional on this holiday to eat a variety of fruits, particularly those associated with the land of Israel. Pomegranates, dates and figs are favorite fruits for this holiday. Shevat is associated with correct eating, and the letter characterized by Shevat is the Tzaddik. The word “tzaddik” in … Continue reading