The heavens will always remain heavens. But the earth we can elevate and make heavenly. Kotzker Rebbe [1] HOLINESS AS A MORAL IMPERATIVE G-d gave us 613 commandments. These are precise activators of holiness. In addition, G-d created man with physical and other needs — taking care of our health or earning a living, for... Read more »

Be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Exodus (19:6) THE SWEEPING BREADTH OF HOLINESS Leviticus 19 is one of those chapters that totally changes our perspective on how to live our lives. Moses gathers the entire nation together, [1] and he transmits G-d’s instruction: “Be holy, because I, the Lord your G-d, am... Read more »

When you buy a gift for a loved one, you’re buying something for yourself as well. A meaningful experience. Maybe you’re buying the renewed closeness your gift will bring. Or the security of knowing you’ve made your loved one happy. Or the ability to fulfill their expectations. Whatever it is, you’re getting something out of... Read more »

Adapted to English from the Sefer Be’er Yosef by Rav Yosef Tzvi Salant. Esther called to Hasach, one of the king’s attendants who was assigned to assist her, and commanded him regarding Mordechai, to know what this was, and what this was about. [1] After Haman and Achashverosh’s harsh decree to exterminate the Jews was... Read more »

During an exciting opening Shabbos dinner of the fall semester 24 years ago, two freshmen, whom we’ll call Molly and Susan, introduced themselves and asked if they could stop by my office one day during the week. A common request seemingly to fine-tune their orientation to Jewish life on campus,
<<Dial tone>> <<Dial tone again>> <<You’ve reached the voicemail box of…>> You’ve just called a donor. They didn’t pick up. What do you do now? So many possibilities. You could leave a voicemail. You could leave no voicemail, but call back later. You could try reaching them by email. By text. By whatsapp. But what... Read more »

“The world doesn’t revolve around you.” “Believe it or not, you’re not the center of the universe.” We’ve all heard these lines. We’ve (hopefully) all spent the time between babyhood and the present learning to accept them. But in the process, we’ve lost something. Because in a certain sense, they’re false. The world really does... Read more »