What is Your Gut Reaction?

How do you react when you hear bad news involving other people? Do you feel sorry for them and what they are experiencing? Do you try to help them in some way? Do you pray for them? Our first gut reaction is who we truly are.

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The Four Mitzvot of Purim

There are four mitzvot on Purim that we must follow: Mikra Megillah, Seudat Purim, Mishloach Manot, and the most important one, but unfortunately, also the most forgotten one, Matanot La'evyonim.

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Trust in God and Not in People in Power Says King David in Psalm 146

After directing us to give passionate and life-long praise to God (vv. 1, 2), Psalm 146 instructs, "Do not put your trust in princes" (v. 3). This is a clear command, followed by some powerful rationale. So while we pray for our elected officials every shabbat and seek to live respectful, law-abiding honorable lives of kiddush Hashem, we must embrace the truth that people are not the object of our hope. Here are the reasons:

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Trust in God

Most of us make much effort and planning in mapping out our material success, taking the right courses at the right school, going to counseling etc. Whereas, in our spiritual endeavors we don’t plan ahead. Most people don’t have a spiritual plan.

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Meaningful Judaism Does Exist

The vast majority of Jewish youth have been brought up estranged from a vibrant, spiritual Judaism. In North America, they have been brought up to view Judaism as a bagels and lox religion. Judaism at best, is viewed as a ‘social’ phenomenon, with quaint customs, a different diet, and a lot of fund raising. At worst it is viewed as being totally incomprehensible, out of touch with the realities of modern day existence

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This World or the Next

If you were offered a choice of having the best of everything in this finite physical world, or the very finest of an infinite spiritual world that you have never seen but has been described to you vaguely by your ancestors which would you choose?

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On Using Foul Language

Have you ever sat by someone on the train or subway either talking on the phone or to someone else and just spewing out four letter words, I have.

Although we generally think of speech as just a superficial act, in truth, it has a strong impact on one’s inner self.

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Collecting Candy on Halloween: Harmless Pastime or Halachic Prohibition?

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Halloween originated with the pagan Celtic festival of Samhain, a day on which the devil was invoked for the various divinations. 'The souls of the dead were supposed to revisit their homes on this day', Britannica says, 'and the autumnal festival acquired sinister significance, with ghosts, witches, hobgoblins .. and demons of all kinds said to be roaming about.' In the early Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church instituted All Hallow's Eve on October 31 and All Saints Day on November 1 to counteract the occult festival.

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Hadash & Yashan

One of the laws that has been neglected, outside Israel, until now, and is just starting to come into vogue is that of ‘hadash and yashan,’ literally ‘new and old.’ Today one may notice many kosher bakeries in the New York and greater metropolitan area that have signs posted marked ‘we use yashan flour.’ For many, these signs have no meaning and draw blank stares, even people who understand Hebrew may be baffled by these signs. This article will explain what ‘hadash and yashan’ flour is, and will strive to delineate the halakhic basis for this law. It will also examine the various diverse opinions that exist and guide the reader to practical observance.

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