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Mar 12, 2020, 8:26 PM
The plague and the half-shekel cure
This week’s Torah portion, Ki Tissa begins with the threat of a plague. God orders a census to be taken, and then says that we must use a half shekel to be counted in order that “no plague may...
Aug 26, 2019, 10:31 PM
Reaching Out and Reaching up: How to Talk in Shul
It's a classic joke: A child asks her grandfather, “Zaidy, why do you go to shul every Shabbos?” The grandfather answers, “What kind of a question is that?” The child responds, “But Zaidy, you’re an atheist! You don’t believe in God! Why...
Jul 4, 2019, 2:37 PM
Korach – Defeating Demagoguery
The Torah is political. The Torah is not Democratic or Republican, Likud, or Meretz. The Torah is not partisan. The Torah does not tell us for whom to vote, or have secret codes that foretell who will win the Presidential election in...
Nov 5, 2018, 9:26 AM
Remembering Life and Confronting Hate: Chayei Sara
Today, shivas in Pittsburgh are paused; our tradition teaches us to pause public mourning on Shabbat. Yet we gather as Jews, here and across America, with so many strong and difficult feelings: sadness, anger, vulnerability, and determination. I share those...
Sep 11, 2017, 9:29 AM
Many Waters Cannot Drown Love — Responding to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma
Rebbe Nachman of Breslov had been brooding silently for many long minutes at his Shabbos tish, when he suddenly shouted: “Gevalt! Ein shum yeush ba’olam klal!” “There is no such thing as despair in the world, at all!’ “Really?” His chassidim must...
Aug 20, 2017, 10:06 AM
When the Light Is Hidden: Responding to Hate
On Monday, at 11:54 a.m., the temperature in Skokie will begin to drop. Winds will pick up. Strange shadows will emerge, and things will get darker, and darker. And then, by 1:19 p.m., the sun will go dark. Eclipses, for...
Mar 23, 2016, 9:04 PM
Night and Day — Reading Megillah in Uncertain TImes
Tonight, millions of Jewish people across the globe will gather, in costume and good spirits to hear the reading of the Megillah. And then, in smaller groups, with much less fanfare, we will read it again tomorrow. Most of us...
Jul 8, 2015, 12:34 AM
Can Orthodox Jews Support the Legalization of Same Sex Marriage in America?
For many Americans, the reaction to the Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage was simple. For some, pure joy and celebration. For others, especially from many in the religious world, protest and anger. For modern, open orthodox Jews who are committed...
Dec 25, 2014, 4:07 AM
Getting Back on the Wagon – Failure and Hope in Parashat Vayigash
At the beginning of this week’s parsha, Yaakov is in dire straits. His family is suffering from famine, his sons are begging for the release of their brother from an Egyptian prison, and Joseph is presumed dead. The epic...
Dec 16, 2014, 9:46 AM
Shining In, Shining Out
If you were forced to pick between only having Shabbat lights or only having Chanukah lights, which would you choose? Would you choose the light of Chanukah, the light of good chasing away evil, the light of mysticism, the light of...
Rabbi Ari Hart is the spiritual leader of Skokie Valley Agudath Jacob, a modern orthodox synagogue in Skokie, Illinois.