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About the Author

Nesanel Yoel Safran

Nesanel Yoel Safran, originally from Boston, is an Israel-based writer, as well as a student and teacher of Jewish spirituality. A graduate of Brandeis University, he is author of a wide variety of children’s and adult features, and currently at work on a full-length novel exploring personal transformation and spiritual awakening.

The Secret to Happiness

The Secret to Happiness

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Happiness has a secret formula. On Sukkot - the Jewish 'happiness festival' - the Torah asks us to try our best to be in a happy, joyful frame of ...


Wake Up and Make Up

Wake Up and Make Up

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If we get into an argument or fight with someone (and everybody does, at least sometimes), it’s important to try to make-up with the person ...


Don't Be Spoiled

Don't Be Spoiled

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We have to be careful that good things and good fortune don't make us spoiled. In this week's Torah portion (Deut. 32:15-16) we learn how having a ...


Courage of Convictions

Courage of Convictions

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True courage is the strength to stand up for our values. In this week's Torah portion (Deut. 31:6), Moses tells the people not to be afraid of the ...


Nobody's Fool

Nobody's Fool

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Purposely fooling people or giving them bad advice is wrong. In this week's portion (Deut. 27:18, see Rashi) the Torah instructs us not to lead ...


Keeping Clean

Keeping Clean

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Keeping ourselves and our surroundings clean is an important Torah value. In this week’s Torah portion (23:14) we learn about the extra care ...


It's No Joy To Destroy

It's No Joy To Destroy

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We shouldn't destroy, deface, damage or waste things for no good reason. In this week's Torah portion (Deut. 20:19) we see how even an army in the ...


Only Imitate the Great

Only Imitate the Great

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We have to be careful not to copy people's bad behavior. In this week's portion (Deut. 12:30-31) the Torah instructs the people not to imitate the ...


Take Success In Stride

Take Success In Stride

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We shouldn't let success go to our heads. This week's Torah portion (Deut. 8:11-14) reminds us that when things are going our way, we shouldn't ...


Junking Jealousy

Junking Jealousy

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It's natural to feel jealous when we see that someone has something that we don't. But jealousy only makes us feel bad and can ruin relationships. ...


Just Ask

Just Ask

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We don't have to be embarrassed to ask for help. In this week's Torah portion (Deut. 1:9-13) Moses mentions how he'd asked for help when leading ...


Accidentally On Purpose

Accidentally On Purpose

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There's a difference between doing something by accident and doing it on purpose. In this week's Torah portion (Num. 35:16-25) we learn that while ...


Commit To It!

Commit To It!

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We should keep to our commitments and not try to get out of them. In this week's Torah portion (Num. 32:6), Moses tells the leaders of the tribes ...


Family Ties

Family Ties

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A caring family is more precious than gold. In this week's Torah portion (Num. 27:4) a man's daughters care enough about him - and their family - ...


Temper Control

Temper Control

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We always lose when we lose our temper. In this week's Torah portion, Bilaam makes a fool of himself when he loses his temper at his donkey. If we ...


Being Generous

Being Generous

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We shouldn't be stingy or mean. In this week's Torah portion (Num. 20:14-20), Moses and the Jewish people needed to pass through the land of Edom ...


Peace Keeping

Peace Keeping

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We can all be peacemakers or warmongers - it's our choice. In this week's Torah portion, Korach makes the disastrous choice to unjustly rebel ...


Don't Be Afraid

Don't Be Afraid

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We shouldn't be intimidated. In this week's Torah portion, instead of bravely entering the land of Israel as God had instructed them, the people ...


Persistence Pays

Persistence Pays

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When something's important to us, we shouldn't give up easily. This week's Torah portion (Num. 9:6-14) tells of how some people who wanted a ...


When 'No' Means 'Yes'

When 'No' Means 'Yes'

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Sometimes saying 'no' to ourselves can make us even happier than saying 'yes.' In this week's portion, we learn about a Nazarite - someone who ...


The Right to Help

The Right to Help

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Helping isn't a burden—it's a privilege. In this week's portion, we learn that it was the Levites—the special tribe with the highest ...


A Little Respect

A Little Respect

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It's great to be respectful. The upcoming day of Lag B'Omer is special for many reasons. One of them is that it celebrates the end of a terrible ...


Watch Out For Words

Watch Out For Words

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Words can be weapons. In this week's Torah portion (Lev. 25:17) the Torah teaches us the important value of being careful not to hurt or embarrass ...


Family First

Family First

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Families are important and we should be willing to go out of our way for ours. In this week's Torah portion (Lev. 21:2), we see how the ...


Revenge Is NOT Sweet

Revenge Is NOT Sweet

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Just because someone isn't nice to us, it doesn't permit us not to be nice to him. In this week's Torah portion (Lev. 19:18), we learn the ...


Don't Follow the Herd!

Don't Follow the Herd!

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It's natural to act like the people around us - but sometimes we shouldn't. In this week's Torah portion (Lev. 18:3) God instructs the Jewish ...


You're a Success!

You're a Success!

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What makes a person a winner? In this week's Torah portion (Lev. 14:21) we learn how someone with less money would get as much credit for bringing ...


Bite Your Tongue

Bite Your Tongue

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Our mouths are powerful weapons - they can be used either for the good or for the bad. In this week's Torah portion we learn about a spiritual ...


Speak Up!

Speak Up!

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When is it right to get involved in other people's business? When we can help them. In this week's Torah portion, (Lev. 10:16-20) although Moses ...


Don't Get Offended

Don't Get Offended

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The less we let ourselves feel insulted by other people's comments or opinions of us, the happier we'll be. In the Purim story, Haman was so ...


Forgive Mistakes

Forgive Mistakes

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Everyone makes mistakes - sometimes even big ones. In this week's Torah portion (Lev. 3:20) we see how God is ready to forgive even the biggest ...


Rays of Praise

Rays of Praise

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Don't just tell people when they've done something wrong - tell them when they've done something right! In this week's Torah portion (Ex. 39:43), ...


Everyone Can Teach

Everyone Can Teach

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Every one of us is a teacher. In this week's Torah portion (Ex. 35:34), God gives Betzalel the ability and mission to teach others his special ...


Danger: Anger

Danger: Anger

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A short fuse makes a person lose. In this week's Torah portion (Ex. 34:6) we learn that God is extremely patient with us and is slow to get angry ...


Rules Are Tools

Rules Are Tools

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Nobody likes to be told he has to do something. Yet rules and obligations are often necessary and a part of everyone's life. The name of this ...


Making a House a Home

Making a House a Home

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A home is more than just a building with walls, ceilings and floors. It's a place to live, learn and grow. This week's Torah portion tells us ...


Welcome!

Welcome!

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It's hard to be a newcomer - a new kid in class or the neighborhood - amongst old friends who already know each other. How we treat someone new ...


Dignified Inside and Out

Dignified Inside and Out

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The way we act and dress says a lot about who we are. This week's Torah portion (Ex. 20:23) instructs the Jewish Cohanim/priests to be sure to ...


Facing Fear

Facing Fear

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We all get afraid at times, but we don’t have to let our fear get the best of us. In this week’s Torah portion (14:10-14) the people ...


On the Fast Track

On the Fast Track

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It's a good trick to know how to be quick. In this week's Torah portion, God takes Jewish people out of Egyptian slavery so fast that they don't ...


Believe You Can Do It!

Believe You Can Do It!

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We can do more than we think we can. In this week's Torah portion (Ex. 6:12), Moses lacks the self-confidence to try to free his people from ...


You Have the Right ... Not to Do Wrong

You Have the Right ... Not to Do Wrong

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If somebody tells us to do something we think is wrong to do, we don't have to do it. In this week's Torah portion (Ex. 1:17), the powerful king ...


Promises, Promises...

Promises, Promises...

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Keeping promises is an important Torah value. In this week's Torah portion (Gen. 47:31), Joseph makes a promise to his father, Jacob, that he does ...


Patch Things Up

Patch Things Up

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Just because we had a quarrel or fight with someone doesn't mean we can't make up. In this week's Torah portion, Joseph and his brothers reconcile ...


Real Greatness

Real Greatness

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What makes someone a winner? Is it your looks, talents and accomplishments, or is it your values and how well you treat others? More than 2,000 ...


No Tall Tales

No Tall Tales

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We shouldn't make up stories about people that make them look bad or can cause them to get into trouble. In this week's Torah portion, Potiphar's ...


Take Care of Your Stuff

Take Care of Your Stuff

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Taking proper care of our possessions is an important value. In this week's Torah portion (Gen. 32:25, Rashi), Jacob forgets some of his ...


Shame on ... Nobody!

Shame on ... Nobody!

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Not embarrassing people is a major Torah value. In this week's Torah portion, Rachel gives up something very important to her to save her sister, ...


Siblings, Get Along?

Siblings, Get Along?

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Why are the people closest to us, our siblings, often the hardest to get along with? In this week's Torah portion we learn of the brothers, Jacob ...


Speaking With Parents

Speaking With Parents

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A parent is more than just another person and should be treated with special respect. In our Torah portion, the disrespectful way Laban treats his ...