How Do We Respond to Tragedy? Dr. David Frankel on Parshat Shemini


When tragedy strikes what do we say to God? In Parshat Shemini Aaron’s sons, Nadav and Avihu, die suddenly.  Dr. David Frankel, senior lecturer in Bible at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, examines Aaron’s silent response and contrasts it with The Book of Job and the outrage Job expresses when faced with suffering. When is the time for silent submission and when is outraged protest appropriate?

What Offerings are you Bringing to God? Rabbi Reb Dr. Mimi Feigelson on Parshat Yayikra


As we begin the Book of Leviticus the language of sacrifices becomes more prominent in our Torah reading. Rabbi Dr. Reb Mimi Feigelson, Mashpiah Ruhanit (Spiritual Mentor) and senior lecturer of Rabbinics and Hasidic Thought at the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, examines what sacrifices the Israelites are bringing to Tabernacle and to God. In the modern day how do we bring ourselves and the next generation into God’s presence?

Yom Kippur: Awareness of Our Human Vulnerability


There are probably numerous reasons people have for coming to shul for Kol Nidre, not least as stated in the prayers themselves: “We sanction prayer with the transgressors.” This phrase reflects the encounter of Jewish men and women who, on this night, are as transgressors who have come to ask forgiveness and atonement. But the heart of Kol Nidre does not deal with transgression; rather it pierces the human heart and highlights our vulnerability as humans, separate from our Creator.

Maximizing the Day of Judgment: From Repentance to Self-Worth / Rabbi Arie Hasit


The holiday that falls on the first two days of the Hebrew month of Tishrei has many names. Most famously, it is known as Rosh HaShana, the beginning of the year. Yet it is also called Yom Zikaron Tru’ah – the day of remembering the blast of the shofar, Yom Harat Olam – the day of the world’s beginning, and Yom HaDin, the day of judgment.

Two Women Who Clung to the Shechinah


Within ancient Hebrew manuscripts, scattered among libraries throughout the world, one can find some surprising treasures, like previously unknown and unpublished pieces of writing. The unusual midrash we will examine here is one of these. It appears in a manuscript that is part of the Firkovich collection, which resides in the Russian National Library in St. Petersburg.