“Psalm” Choices Are Better Than Others

by Rabbi Jeffrey Adler As Rosh haShanah comes around with its emphasis on repentance, it is well to heed the message of the 1st Psalm. A major factor in character development is the choice or choices of the influences to which we expose ourselves. The 1st Psalm addresses this: “Happy is the one who has…

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Law And Grace In Eden

by Rabbi Jeffrey Adler God’s creation of Man occurred on the 6th day of Creation. This act of creating Man in His Image capped off the entire creation project, resulting in His assessing all as “tov m’od”, “very good”. Adam was the capstone, God’s best and favorite, the pinnacle of what He had made. (8)…

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An Inexhaustible Constant

by Rabbi Jeffrey Adler Psalm 115 is the 3rd of the Hallel Psalms, so often associated with the Passover season, but, so appropriate at any time, any circumstance. The Exodus from Egypt followed hundreds of years separated from our promised homeland, from our divinely determined destiny. It culminated in many years of oppression and slavery…

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Jephthah, the Bandit Judge

by Rabbi Jeffrey Adler Very often, the people Adonai chooses would not make our list of acceptable candidates. Judges 11 tells us of one such individual. In the 10th chapter, Israel had, again, fallen into idolatry. 10:6 begins, “Then B’nei-Yisrael again did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes. They worshipped the Baalim, the Ashtaroth, gods…

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Where Is the Lamb?

by Rabbi Jeffrey Adler The Akedah, or “binding”, is one of the most gut-wrenching incidents in Scripture. It is usually associated with the High Holy Days in the Autumn, as it is the Torah portion for Rosh haShanah, but, there are definitely aspects seriously relevant to Passover. We find the Akedah narrative in Genesis 22….

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A Covenant Out of Despair

by Rabbi Jeffrey A. Adler Genesis 15 begins with a despairing Avram. We often think of the Biblical heroes as being almost superhuman, certainly untainted by the same kinds of struggles faced by the rest of us. Instead, we find that these remarkable people were aided by the even more remarkable God. The chapter begins,…

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Instructions to a Son

by Rabbi Jeffrey Adler One of the dominant patterns in Mishle, or Proverbs, is Solomon’s giving counsel to a son, possibly Rehoboam, his eventual successor, but, with his 1000 wives and concubines, one cannot be certain how many sons he had and could be addressing. In chapter 3, one of the better known passages of…

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Home With His People

by Rabbi Jeffrey Adler Last week’s parshah was “T’rumah” (Exodus 25:1-27:19). The title comes from the dominant theme of the portion that Moses was to receive from the people of B’nei-Yisrael an offering, a “t’rumah”, literally, a “lifting up”. It was to be from “anyone whose heart compels him”, leaving it to individual conscience and…

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A Day When “Diversity” Is Exalted

by Rabbi Jeffrey Adler We live in a day when “diversity” is exalted. To a certain extent, this can be a good thing, as people are individuals and not stamped out of a divine cookie mold. However, there is also a propensity for people to develop their own rendition of truth, totally ambivalent to the…

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The Real King On The Throne

by Rabbi Jeffrey Adler In Isaiah 6, the prophet is dealing with the death of Judah’s king, Uzziah. Uzziah had been Judah”s king for 52 years, the second longest reign of all the rulers of Israel and Judah. He had also been very successful, establishing Judah as a major commercial and military force. Yet, at…

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