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Beating the Branches

Beating the Branches

The Torah does not provide explicit reasons for every mitzvah (commandment) and, especially for the negative commandments, we do not have definitive explanations why the Torah prohibits wearing mixtures of wool and linen, eating meat with milk, etc. But for positive...
Lulava

Lulava

Rabbi Shammai Parnes is one of the principal rabbis of the Israeli army. He is a deeply religious man who descends from a long line of Jerusalem families. This story took place during the Yom Kippur War in 1973, when the Israelis were caught by surprise and attacked...
The Mourning Light

The Mourning Light

It was the saddest day of the year. I sat on the cold, hard floor with hundreds of fellow Jews, hungry, thirsty and unshaven. Together we mourned the destruction of Jerusalem, studying Lamentations, the haunting words of Jeremiah the Prophet. For six straight hours we...
Afikoman: Concealment and Discovery

Afikoman: Concealment and Discovery

In most families, the joy of Passover is remembered as a simple drama played out by the children: the stealing of the afikoman. On Pesach even the drowsiest child’s attention is riveted to the Seder table and to the afikoman’s every movement. From the...
The Four Sons

The Four Sons

Judaism encourages inquiry. However, this must be inquiry with a sincere intent to learn and to gain knowledge, and not provocation or derisive scoffing. The question posed by the wise person is: Why are so many and varied mitzvot related to the Exodus? What is so...