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About the Author

Rabbi Yehuda Appel

Born in New York City, Yehuda Appel was director for many years of Aish HaTorah’s Discovery Program in Jerusalem before founding Aish Cleveland in 1990. In addition to his teaching and administrative responsibilities in Cleveland, his recent focus has been establishing Aish programs on college campuses throughout the Midwest. Yehuda is married to noted speaker Hannah Appel and they have eight children.

The Wandering Jew

The Wandering Jew

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Any botanist will tell you that the "Wandering Jew" is a unique species of plant which - when given minimal sustenance - will nevertheless spread ...


The Arrival of Rosh Hashana

The Arrival of Rosh Hashana

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The story is told of a king who would go out to the towns and villages and visit the citizens one month out of the year. At that time, he was ...


Joseph Interprets Pharaoh's Dreams

Joseph Interprets Pharaoh's Dreams

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The Chafetz Chaim, the leader of European Jewry in the early part of the 20th century, was known as a particularly righteous and saintly man. Once ...


Adam and Eve Eat the Apple

Adam and Eve Eat the Apple

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The story of Adam and Eve's eating of the forbidden fruit, a major topic in this week's Torah portion, is perhaps the most famous of Biblical ...


Centrality of Shabbat

Centrality of Shabbat

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Several years ago, a distinguished theologian was honored by a prominent organization for his crusading efforts on behalf of civil rights. However, ...


Serious Soul Searching

Serious Soul Searching

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Some years ago, while I was visiting my rabbi at his home in Jerusalem, a group of elder scholars stopped in to consult with him. It seems there had ...


Sorting through Mitzvot

Sorting through Mitzvot

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As a seminary student in Israel, my wife and her friends had to cook their own meals. One evening, as my wife was about to broil a chicken, a ...


Tell Your Children

Tell Your Children

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Every Passover, in keeping with the theme of Divine intervention and redemption, my family has a custom at our seder table for each person to tell ...


Jewish Education

Jewish Education

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Judaism has always understood that a people's future is only as great as the values it manages to inculcate into its youth. In line with this, the ...


Asking Forgiveness

Asking Forgiveness

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Some years ago, an organization asked me to collect stories for a book they hoped to publish. After putting the collection together and giving it to ...


Spiritual Passion

Spiritual Passion

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Do we run to Torah the way we run for pizza?


Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment

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Rabbi Paul Seiger, former chaplain at a Missouri prison, tells the tragic but true story of a homicide that might have been prevented. It seems ...


King of Israel

King of Israel

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Ronald Reagan once made an interesting observation about the Soviet constitution. He said that although most of its provisions were being ignored, ...


Logic Versus Faith

Logic Versus Faith

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Many people are curious as to how Jewish tradition foresees "the end of days" -- the coming of the Messiah. While there are many descriptions ...


The Mezuzah

The Mezuzah

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Some years ago, when my wife and I were living in Israel, we bought our apartment from a fellow who (at the risk of severe understatement) was ...


Ban on Idolatry

Ban on Idolatry

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At the end of World War Two, Winston Churchill was asked if he was concerned about how historians would view his role in the war. He replied that he ...


Fulfill Your Potential

Fulfill Your Potential

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In a popular film some years ago, the main character dies and goes to the "next dimension" where he is asked to defend his life down here on earth. ...


The Wandering Jew

The Wandering Jew

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Any botanist will tell you that the "Wandering Jew" is a unique species of plant which - when given minimal sustenance - will nevertheless spread ...


Dying a Good Death

Dying a Good Death

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Perhaps one of the greatest of human tragedies is when a person who has lived a fine and upright life turns to evil in the twilight of his days. The ...


Human Dignity

Human Dignity

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A recent study was undertaken to see how parents interact with their children. The study found that for every positive comment a parent makes to a ...


To Give or Not to Give?

To Give or Not to Give?

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One of the most difficult dilemmas human beings face is weighing our own needs against the needs of others. This issue takes many forms, for ...


For the Sake of Peace

For the Sake of Peace

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Rabbi Isser Zalman Meltzer was a great sage in Jerusalem 100 years ago. Once, during one of Rabbi Meltzer's Talmudic lectures, a young man who did ...


Hope For the Future

Hope For the Future

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In the years prior to World War Two, it was known that two Chassidic sects – the Belzer and the Munkatch Chassidim – did not get along ...


Jacob's Elderly Appearance

Jacob's Elderly Appearance

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Jacob's life was shortened as a result of his complaint.


Joining up with the Jewish people

Joining up with the Jewish people

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A few years ago, Vitaly, a Russian Jew living in Minsk, faced the difficult decision of whether or not to undergo a circumcision. After expressing ...


Kohanim Priests

Kohanim Priests

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A prominent member of a congregation came to his rabbi and said, "I would like to become a Kohen." The rabbi, careful to avoid offending the ...


Unified Nation

Unified Nation

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The Talmud reports that the generation of Yehuda Bar Illai represented Torah study at its best. What was so striking about that generation? The ...


Repairing the World

Repairing the World

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Judaism recognizes that everyone has a particular role to fulfill in this world. The mystical teachings state that with each waking hour God grants ...


Sabbatical and trust in God

Sabbatical and trust in God

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The story is told of a European Jew at the turn of the century who, tired of the constant grind of poverty, determined to solve his plight by ...


Counting the Omer

Counting the Omer

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A famous parable describes how a poor man, desperate to find the means to support his family, sets sail to foreign shores. Tragically, his ship is ...


Retirement

Retirement

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For many years, America had lost its most capable and knowledgeable people to ... retirement. In universities as well as business, there were ...


All About the Mikveh

All About the Mikveh

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A few years ago, my wife was teaching about Taharat Hamishpacha, the laws of family purity, at the Solomon Schechter school in Cleveland. In the ...


Kosher Ideas

Kosher Ideas

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Many people find dieting to be quite a challenge. Indeed, Jewish tradition found the entire enterprise of eating to be filled with obstacles and ...


Saving Others Embarrassment

Saving Others Embarrassment

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For many years my wife worked in Jerusalem as a volunteer collecting and distributing clothing to the poor.Experience had taught her that it was too ...


Humility of Moses

Humility of Moses

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A wonderful passage in the Talmud describes the greatness of Sages of previous generations. In poetic prose, the Talmud states: "The death of Rabbi ...


Proper Hygiene

Proper Hygiene

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During the Middle Ages, it was not uncommon for Jews to be accused of poisoning wells and infecting the gentile populace with plagues. Lending ...


Beauty and the Kohanim

Beauty and the Kohanim

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The Talmud tells the following story: The great sage Rabbi Yehoshua was the epitome of wisdom and kindness. Which is why a Roman countess was so ...


God Dwelling on Earth Below

God Dwelling on Earth Below

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Some years ago, while teaching Jewish Ethics at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, I gave my students a difficult assignment: They were to go through ...


All About Dogs

All About Dogs

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As a little girl, my wife often asked her father for a pet. And she always received the same answer: "What do you need a pet for? You have ...


Why is Adultery So Bad?

Why is Adultery So Bad?

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Some years ago a rabbinic colleague of mine in Chicago was giving a class on the Ten Commandments to a secular audience. Not one given to ...


Balance in the Metaphysical Realm

Balance in the Metaphysical Realm

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In a fascinating essay, the Maharal (16th century Prague) discusses the importance of maintaining a balanced lifestyle. He posits that ingrained in ...


Taking Gold and Silver from Egyptians

Taking Gold and Silver from Egyptians

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In the aftermath of World War II, Germany offered to pay reparations to victims of the Nazi regime. This offer was met by an incredibly heated ...


Miracles and Magic

Miracles and Magic

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Over the centuries, many religious adherents have tried to prove that they possess the "true" religion by performing miracles. However, Maimonides ...


Moses at the Burning Bush

Moses at the Burning Bush

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In her novel, "Briefing for a Descent into Hell," Dorris Lessing makes the point that perception is largely dependent on what we expect to perceive. ...


Respect for the dead

Respect for the dead

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It has been said that one can measure how civilized a culture is by the way its dead are treated. One rabbi I know has found a novel way to give his ...


Showing Favoritism to Children

Showing Favoritism to Children

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Why there is no place for showing favoritism to one child.


Jacob returns to his roots

Jacob returns to his roots

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Some years ago, an elderly woman I know traveled with friends in a car across America. For this woman, Denver was the highlight of the trip, for ...


Employer-Employee Relations

Employer-Employee Relations

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Some years ago, while living in Jerusalem, I had a friend who worked as an official in the Ministry of Education. My friend was meticulous in his ...


What Makes a Criminal?

What Makes a Criminal?

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I recently read a report which focused on the nature of evil. The report stated that, for the most part, those guilty of the most heinous violent ...


The Holiness of Hebron

The Holiness of Hebron

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Understanding Hebron's place in Jewish thought.


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