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The Talking Donkey and the Non-Jewish Priest #634

07/03/2020 04:42:00 PM


Rabbi Irwin Huberman

The Talking Donkey and the Non-Jewish Priest


Earlier in my career, I became friends with someone who built houses for a living.

Like most developers, he began by constructing one house at a time, until one day, an opportunity presented itself — to build a series of seven townhouses tightly positioned around a crescent.

“I know this is a ridiculous question,” he asked, “but is there a Jewish way to...Read more...

Ego vs. Humility #633

06/26/2020 05:14:00 PM


Rabbi Irwin Huberman

Korach vs. Moses – Ego vs. Humility 


In the small town of Peshischa, Poland, Rabbi Simcha Bunim (1765-1827), struggled with two, opposing philosophies:

“Is each one of us the center of the universe — or are we merely dust in the wind?”

As Rabbi...

Israel, Freedom and Choice #632

06/19/2020 05:37:00 PM


Rabbi Irwin Huberman

Israel, Freedom and Choice


About five years ago, during a trip to Israel, I ran into trouble with my laptop. I panicked: “OMG,” I thought, “I’ve lost all my files.”

A friend remembered that at the nearby Dizengoff Mall, there was a guy who repaired computers.

So — laptop tucked under my arm — I walked over to the mall, past the street performers, the cafés and the Israelis rushing to and...Read more...

Extra E-SErmon: God Expands the Torah

06/13/2020 01:00:00 PM


Rabbi Irwin Huberman

Every few months, Rabbi Irwin is asked to write a D'var Torah — words of Torah — for the Academy for Jewish Religion — the seminary he graduated from. We are sharing it with you this week, as we conclude our discussion of the Torah portion titled Beha'alotekha — (when you light the lamps).

Is it true that God can change the Torah when asked to do so?

God Expands the Torah by Rabbi Irwin...

The Torah Deals with Gossip #631

06/12/2020 06:06:00 PM


Rabbi Irwin Huberman

The Torah Deals with Gossip


In 1967, the Brothers Gibb (Bee Gees) recorded what would become their fourth most popular song of all time. The chorus begins with the refrain, “It’s only words, and words are all I have…”

The sentiment conveys that no matter what exists in our hearts — good or bad — the way we express ourselves affects our relationships with the rest of the world. Our words are the engines...Read more...

Thoughts on George Floyd's Death #630

06/05/2020 05:50:00 PM


Rabbi Irwin Huberman

Thoughts on George Floyd's Death


In this week’s edition of The Forward, leaders from 24 Jewish organizations shared their reactions to the brutal killing of George Floyd.

Of those contributions, I was most proud and inspired by the Biblical quotation and comments contributed by the Academy for Jewish Religion — the seminary from which I graduated exactly 10 years ago.

The quote, shared by CEO and...

Shavuot - The Holiday Without a Hook #629

05/29/2020 05:48:00 PM


Rabbi Irwin Huberman

Shavuot: The Holiday with a Hook


Today, my mind is blank, because I don’t quite know how to inspire on this Shavuot — one of the most important, but least celebrated, days on the Jewish calendar.

Everyone knows Passover — it’s about freedom, matzah, Seders and family.

On Sukkot, we dwell in simple huts, ponder our fragility and focus on humility. On Yom Kippur we fast,...Read more...

Judaism's Newest Tribe #628

05/22/2020 05:16:00 PM


Rabbi Irwin Huberman

Judaism's Newest Tribe

What is it about Judaism that so many feel they don’t belong? 

Within a religion where there are...

Torah, Pandemic and the Environment #627

05/15/2020 06:00:00 PM


Rabbi Irwin Huberman

Torah, Pandemic and the Environment

Probably one of the most important, yet overlooked, lines in the entire Torah appears in its early chapters.

The Torah instructs us about the environment.

Over the years, with all of the discussion in Genesis about whether God created the earth in six days, or whether the world evolved over time, we have tended to gloss over God's instructions to humanity — to protect and guard the...Read more...

Coming out of our Caves #626

05/08/2020 05:45:00 PM


Rabbi Irwin Huberman

Coming Out of Our Caves?

There is a story in the Talmud about how Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai — perhaps Judaism's most renowned ancient Kabbalist — achieved his great spiritual understanding.

In 126 CE, when the Romans ruled Israel under Emperor Hadrian, the study of Torah was forbidden. Many of our most famous rabbis died defying that order.

But Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his son Eliezer had a better idea. They...Read more...

Sat, July 4 2020 12 Tammuz 5780