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Rabbi, Maimonides Kehillah; Dean, Maimonides School
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Oct 5, 2023, 5:42 AM
The Goat who Studied Talmud
Students of the Mishnah and Talmud are well acquainted with one of the basic rules of Succah construction: the walls of a Succah must reach close to the ground, but are still Kosher so long as they come within...
Jun 17, 2023, 4:35 PM
Sponge, Funnel, Strainer, Sieve: Four Students
“The are four measures of those who sit before the sages: the sponge, the funnel, the strainer and the sieve (Avot 5:15).” The Tractate Avot, fathers, contains many religious teachings: moral and ethical guidance, some basic principles of Jewish philosophy,...
Mar 9, 2021, 11:21 PM
Thinking about redemption through the Piyutim of Parshat ha-Chodesh
Four New Year’s month. The presentation in the Talmud of the Arbah Parshiot, the four special weeks that lead up to Purim and Pesach, gives the impression that these weeks are dry, law-focused preparation, teaching the Jewish people the...
Sep 1, 2020, 10:33 PM
“End this year, with its curses!”
This Shabbat at Maimonides, we will have the unusual experience of reading 147 curses as part of our Shabbat morning Torah reading. Ever since our shul reopened to read Parshat Bamidbar, following our shut-down in the early days of the...
Jul 8, 2020, 7:38 PM
On this Fast Day – Remember to Recite the Prayer for Epidemics
G-d please now heal the sick of the flourishing vine Embarrassed and disgraced and of weakened fruit Redeem her from the pit or from a wet wound Answer us as You answered Avraham on Mount Moriah We turn to G-d and ask him...
Jun 24, 2020, 7:01 PM
The Religio-Emotional Significance of Wearing a COVID mask
There are many different ways to think of the religious significance of wearing a mask during COVID-19. One could file mask-wearing in the category of Mitzvot we perform towards our fellow human being (such as “Ve-Ahavta Le-Reiacha Ka-Moecha,” Love...
Jun 2, 2020, 3:07 AM
The morning we returned to shul
This morning we returned to shul, for the first time in months. With Davening outside – in the interest of safety – you could not envision a day with better weather. The deep green leaves of the trees radiated...
May 14, 2020, 8:09 PM
Learning Arachin – while in Quarantin’
Studying Arachin While Staying in Home Isolation When we all entered home isolation two months ago, my family and I – searching for a new learning project – decided to study Talmud Arachin together, which we completed earlier this week. ...
Apr 24, 2020, 10:29 PM
Metzorah: Emerging from spiritual quarantine – for a higher purpose
This week’s Parsha describes the complex set of sacrifices offered by a Metzora after he has been cured from the spiritual disease of tzaraat/leprosy: 2 birds, a combination sin-burnt offering, concluding with an Asham lamb with extra oil. The...
Apr 1, 2020, 10:34 PM
The prayer for dew in the era of the coronavirus
This Pesach, we will all recite the prayer for Dew, Tefilat Tal, in the privacy of our own homes, bereft of the drama of the prayer in synagogue. Last year, the Chazan would be wrapped in a Talit and...
Rabbi Dr. Yaakov Jaffe is the Rabbi of the Maimonides Kehillah, and the Dean of Judaic Studies at the Maimonides School in Brookline, Mass. He is the author of Isaiah and His Contemporaries, now available from Kodesh Press.