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Fighting for the World

Rabbi Yehuda Septimus

"War is an ugly thing,"   John Stuart Mill reminds us…  “but not the ugliest of things…  the decayed and degraded state of moral… feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war is much worse.

In last week’s parshah Avraham had to fight an ugly war, triumphantly saving the day in the War of the 4 Kings against the 5 for no reason other than his loyalty...Read more...

The Prophecy of Faith in Others (Parshat Beshalach)

Rabbi Yehuda Septimus

The Prophecy of Faith in Others
(Parshat Beshalach)


וַתִּקַּח מִרְיָם הַנְּבִיאָה אֲח֧וֹת אַהֲרֹ֛ן אֶת־הַתֹּ֖ף בְּיָדָ֑הּ וַתֵּצֶ֤אןָ כׇֽל־הַנָּשִׁים אַחֲרֶיהָ בְּתֻפִּ֖ים וּבִמְחֹלֹֽת׃

And...

Rosh HaShanah 5781

Heeding the Call of the Angel

It was the test of all tests.  The command to slay his beloved son. Avraham's entire world must have seemed to be crashing down. My son! Our family. Our legacy.  The nation we were supposed to build.  The lessons of ethical monotheism that we have been spreading throughout the land.  In asking Avraham to sacrifice Yitzchak,...Read more...

The value of output and the output of values -  Parshat Naso

Rabbi Yehuda Septimus

At the end of Parshat Naso, there is a long passage detailing the sacrifices of the Nesiim, the princes, as part of the dedication of the Mishkan.  In introducing the role of the Nessiim offering these sacrifices the verse reads as follows:

וַיַּקְרִ֙יבוּ֙ נְשִׂיאֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל רָאשֵׁ֖י בֵּ֣ית אֲבֹתָ֑ם הֵ֚ם נְשִׂיאֵ֣י...

The Opposite of Addiction

Rabbi Yehuda Septimus

If you think about what television was like 20, 30, or 40 years ago and what it's like now, there is very little in common between the two. But there is one small line at one fixed hour that has been standard since the 1960's and has stood the test of time and hasn't changed: "It's 10 pm; do you know where your kids are?"

The line is important. But there is a problem...

Drinking and Striving

Rabbi Yehuda Septimus

I still remember receiving the call from my office in the Gruss Talmudic Law section of the NYU Law School Library.  I was doing a yearlong post-doctoral fellowship, and I had recently delivered an apparently well publicized lecture about Tikkun Chatzot and, among other things, the correlation between its rise in Tzefat and the spread of coffee in the Ottoman Empire.  I believe I had given the lecture a...Read more...

Shifting the Clutter

Rabbi Yehuda Septimus

I was standing right near the doors on a crowded train back to Rosedale from the city on Tuesday afternoon. A VERY crowded train. Next to me stood a man with two boys. The younger of the two boys was complaining incessantly to his father that he was tired and his legs were hurting. The complaints mounted, only rising in volume. The travelers were getting annoyed. The father was getting...Read more...

Mei Noach and Mayim Bialik

Rabbi Yehuda Septimus

Rabbi Jeffrey Miller sent an email to his listserv this past week with the heading, "One of my Rebbeim said that you can always find something in the news relating to daf yomi and/or parsha."  The email itself was a link to a news story of two men in Brockton, MA, who robbed a city convenience store this past week while armed with large knives. The article goes on to say that the men could face penalties much...Read more...

How Did I Come To Love Torah?

Rabbi Yehuda Septimus

“How did I come to love Torah?” is a question worth answering, because not every Jewish child does love Torah, even those whose parents want nothing more for them.

The answer for me is simple. My father is the reason I love Torah. The joy on his face every time he shares a...Read more...

Rabbi Yehuda Septimus

During the eclipse this past week, the YINW chat group was buzzing about what beracha to make on the event.  I guess not everyone heard Rav Jeff's derasha from weeks ago.  At the same time, there was talk about when the next eclipse would be taking place: Scott Taub whatsapped - "next total solar eclipse in 2 years... in Argentina!" Alexander Libkind whatsapped - "In upstate NY in 7...Read more...

Sat, May 18 2024 10 Iyyar 5784