MEMORIALS MAY NOT BE MEANINGFUL

By Rabbi Shawn B. Zell Memorials are great “sanitizers”, especially when it comes to the Holocaust. As incredible as it sounds, Holocaust memorials go one step further than the Torah. “Our hands did not shed this blood” proclaim the elders who live closest to where our corpse has been found (Deuteronomy 21:7). Holocaust Memorials proclaim that while we bear no […]

NO CIGAR

By Rabbi Shawn Zell No cigar for the Torah personality of this coming Shabbat, the heathen diviner Balaam son of Beor. As exceptional as he was with his enduring Mah Tovu, when he exclaimed, “How goodly are your tents O Jacob. Your dwelling places Israel”, Balaam would have been even more prophetic, had he proclaimed, “Hinei Mah Tov U’Mah Na’im […]

DIETY DENIER

By Rabbi Shawn Zell I read obituaries. Every so often, I find material useful for a Dvar Torah. Rarely does an obituary grate on my nerves. Recently, I came across one of those rare obituaries. A month ago,  Richard Rubenstein, a rabbi, theologian, and a denier of G-d’s existence, died at the age of 97,  in Bridgeport, Connecticut.The death of […]

DISPATCH FOR KORACH

By Rabbi Shawn Zell At roughly the same time the Roman poet and philosopher Titus Lucretius Carus was sharing his thought that“One man’s meat is another man’s poison,” the sages of the Talmud were handing down essentially the same teaching. Regardless of its source, we would benefit greatly, if we were to pay heed and revisit the unfounded allegations of […]

TWENTY-FOUR LIGHT-YEARS FROM TULSA

By Rabbi Zell One of the earlier works for Burt Bachrach and Hal David (What the World Needs Now, I’ll Say a Little Prayer for You) was the rarely remembered “Twenty-four Hours from Tulsa”. Although it centers around falling in love, the song is pitiful and pathetic, in that it is addressed to one who was needlessly wronged. Furthermore, the […]

THE ROCKETS RED GLARE

By Rabbi Shawn Zell Because my formative years were spent in Canada, it wasn’t until after I moved to New York City, that the American national anthem took on special meaning in my life. Thanks to Hamas and its desire to turn everyday life into a living hell for Israelis, there is one particular phrase in the Star-Spangled Banner, that […]

Two by Rabbi Zell

Ever wonder why the Ten Commandments were handed down in two tablet form? All joking aside, wouldn’t it have made more sense, for all Ten Commandments to have been inscribed in smaller letters on one tablet. Perhaps, HaShem could have handed down the Ten Commandments in ten separate forms, much like charms on a charm bracelet. Better yet, if the […]