Suddenly Sinai

With Palestinian propaganda aimed at severing the Jewish Biblical connection to the Holy Land, the revelation at Mount Sinai has suddenly been thrust into the spotlight.

Courage Versus Chutzpah

Boldness and brazenness are two sides of the same coin. What leads to great acts of courage, the other can render great harm. But both can be turned to do good.

Kabbala #20: Netzach and Hod: Means to an End

Just like a loving parent may seem cruel when harshly disciplining a child in order to instill good values, the "tactical" sefirot of netzach and hod are often not what they seem.

Prayer #8: Hear O Israel: Part 3 - Jewish Unity

Embodied in the first verse of the Sh'ma, and its accompanying praise of God's kingdom, is a profound allusion to the unity of the Jewish people.

Legalizing Assisted Suicide

Last week, the Dutch Parliament officially legalized what has been common practice in the Netherlands for many years: the killing of patients by doctors.

Alice's Cake

Israel is traumatized when a terrorist bomb maims three children, but one woman is catapulted to a new level of gratitude.

Prayer #7 - Hear O Israel Part II

If we look at the Sh'ma, the quintessential Jewish prayer, through the eyes of gematria, we can see encoded the mission of Jews in world history.

Trusting God

When reading reports of hair-raising cruelty, trusting God means knowing that the answers to why Israel is under attack are there, even if they are not obvious at the moment.

Prayer #6 - Hear O Israel: Part 1

The message of the Sh'ma is applicable to every Jew at all times, at every conscious moment. It embodies one of the most profound concepts known to man: the Oneness of God.

Lieberman's Connecticut Wasn't My Connecticut

I was a Jewish kid who didn't know what it meant to be Jewish, who was painfully, earnestly trying to fit in by concealing the Jewishness I knew nothing about.

Witchcraft and Judaism

If magic and the occult do exist, why are they so evil?

Kabbala #19: History of Kabbala Part II

The imagery of Kabbalah, which examines God's actions through metaphor, can never lead to the creation of images or the suggestion that the One God exists in fragments.

Prayer #5 - Prayer Role Models

Abraham and Moses knew how to turn every action into an experience of communicating with God. Their very existence became synonymous with "prayer."

Kabbala #18: Center of the Earth

The sefirot of chesed, gevurah, tiferet -- kindness, strength and beauty -- have an interrelationship that serves as a model for understanding the relationships between the other sefirot.

Olympics and Kavanah

Eons before anybody ever heard of Marion Jones or Tiger Woods, Judaism recognized the importance of mental focus. In the case of Judaism, however, the stakes are weightier than any gold medal.

Life is Beautiful

About two years ago, we had an unplanned growth in our family -- a large cancerous tumor.

Praying Big, Praying Small

Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are a time of concentrated prayer. But how does one pray effectively if one isn't even sure how to begin or what to pray for?

Bad Attitude: A True Story For Yom Kippur

"My career was still stuck in neutral. I wasn't working. I wasn't doing anything to get things going either, except blaming my roomate for ruining my life with his success."

Kabbala #17: History of Kabbala: Part 1

A mysterious dialogue between Moses and God gives us clues to the "ways of God" -- revelations of a deep mystical knowledge which enriches our understanding of the Torah.

Micros and Macros

How do we face the challenges of these most significant days?

The Secret Formula

I spent six years marketing a parade of pleasures, only to find out that God throws theme parties all the time.

Prayer #4 - Feeding the Universe

The physical universe contains a spiritual counterpart that acts as its soul. To thrive, the soul of the universe needs to be nourished by prayer.

It's So Hard!

It's today's mantra. But there are times when even super-human effort isn't hard. How do we get over that hurdle?

Lost in Berlin

Deiter turned Ben on to German beer. They were having an amazing time. Until Ben got lost with no money and no map...

6 Constant - #4 - Love God

A passionate desire to connect with the Almighty is a constant human striving. How do we know if we're connecting?

Prayer #3 - Praying With Purity

Purity has the power to transform prayer into a focused, uplifting experience. Here are a few simple tools.

Nike and the Purpose of Life

What is the purpose of existence? Let's first answer: What is the purpose of the Nike shoe factory?

What's A Nice Cosmo Girl Like You Doing With An Orthodox Husband?

Once upon a time, she lived in Beverly Hills, wrote for Teen Magazine and had a personal trainer.

Prayer #2 - In Search of Meaningful Prayer

The difference between the words in the seemingly incomprehensible Siddur and those in your heart is your understanding. Here's how to make them one and the same.

Going Home

"I always considered myself to be pretty independent. So why, in the back of my mind, was I dreading the inevitable return home with a strange new kippah sitting on my head?"

The Light of the Life Force

The stories of the Bible contain ancient, timeless secrets for living an empowered life. From the very first words, we are inspired to connect with the light.

Kabbala #16: Beauty as Mercy

The dynamic of interaction between the three sefirot of "action" can be compared to a courtroom where kindness, chesed, is the defender and judgment gevurah/din the prosecutor.

To Save A Life

This week in Jerusalem, a grove of trees was planted in honor of Ron Johnson, the British janitor who donated his lung to try to save a life.

Prayer #1: In Search of God and Self

Does prayer seems like a meaningless chore? Here is a fresh look at prayer and what it can do for you.

Confessions of a Creationist

I always thought creationists were Bible-belt fundamentalists. Denying evolution would put me on their side, and jeopardize my self-image as an East coast Jewish intellectual...

A Canadian Jew In Australia

Plunked into the strange world of kangaroos, Aborigines and cricket, a Canadian discovers that Jews all over the world have lots in common.

Kabbala #15: Tiferet: Beautiful Synthesis

Of the Ten Sefirot, tiferet -- which literally means "beauty" or "glory" -- is the most central as it mediates between chesed ("kindness") and gevurah ("strength").

Principles of the Soul: #13 - The Communication Lie

Spouses don't feel alienated from each other because they can't communicate; they feel alienated because all they are communicating is negativity.

Big Families: Desired or Undesirable?

A frank discussion with a mother of 11 on the pros and cons of large families.

Kabbala #14: Love and Awe

The sefirot of "action" engender love and fear on our part, the two "wings" which we need to soar up to the heavens.

Thank You for Assateague Island

Sometimes God takes one small, seemingly insignificant event to teach us all we need to know about life -- though it may take years to find that out.

We Are What We Say

Appreciating the immense impact of those little words we utter.

Soul Matters: #5 Prayer Made Practical

Prayer can be difficult. Here are some practical exercises on how to use it to our advantage.

Kabbala #13: The Interplay of Matter and Form

Creation of raw matter is an act of chesed-kindness. Giving form to creation requires the restraint of gevurah-strength.

Seven Wonders of Jewish History (audio)

Explore 7 remarkable milestones of Jewish history that defy historical patterns and fulfill ancient prophecies.

Knee Deep

When playing in a band produces a high that never lasts, one is forced to look elsewhere for fulfillment. But how can Judaism compare to Fuzzy Walter?

The Design Argument

Does the intricate design of the universe serve as evidence for the existence of God?

Happiness: the Fuel for a Meaningful Life

How to find happiness by living in the present and anticipating the future. An excerpt from the new book "Powers of the Soul".

Kabbala #12: Chesed and Gevurah: The Two Sided Approach

Chesed-kindness and gevurah-strength work in tandem, defining God's interaction with the world as a right/left pull/push phenomenon.

First Fruits

Shavuot, the holiday of the giving of the Torah, has many names. But for me, this year, it is Hag HaBikurim, the Festival of the First Fruits.

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