by September 11, 2020
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In contrast to a physical ailment, where a person actively seeks help, when it comes to mental illness, addiction, and spiritual maladies, it is rare that a person has the self-awareness of the problem. That is why those issues can be so insidious.  Why does this happen? The power of rationalization creates blind spots.  A person has too much ego to view himself in an unfavorable light, and therefore, he can’t admit to his failure.  Knowing this is crucial for being an effective Rabbi. Moses wa...
by August 28, 2020
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A common critique of Judaism is that the Rabbis added a significant amount of additional rules to what was an already overloaded system.  Kosher is one thing, but you have to take away my chicken parmesan on top of that?! I hear that. It can seem frustrating.  The short answer to that question is that nothing ‘new’ was added; rather, protections were made in order to ensure that the mitzvoth would be observed. Human beings tend to cut corners just about whenever they can.  And just like basic st...
by August 14, 2020
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We’ve all had great moments when giving charity where we feel good about it.  There is a feeling of accomplishment that we’ve earned enough money to now give to a person not as fortunate as our self. Then, there are times when we give with  resentment where we feel that we’ve been forced into giving and it isn’t fair that I have to give of my sweat to this person.  It could be that both ways of giving are mistaken and fundamentally misunderstand what tzeddekah is all about.  One would expect th...
by August 7, 2020
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Last I checked, fear is an emotion we like to avoid most of time outside of a short thrill ride or at most two hours of tension during a frightening film. Even then, the fear is only acceptable because I’ve chosen to experience it.  However, fear that is put upon me, such as shaky turbulence on a plane, I can’t wait for it to end so that the tension is released.  Given our pejorative relationship to fear, it becomes difficult to understand why fear becomes the focus of G-d’s relationship with us...
by July 24, 2020
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We are a week away from the darkest day in Jewish history. Every year we hope it will be the last, but despite our hopes, it appears to be back and stronger than ever this year. Apart from the worldwide pandemic, the Jewish security situation in many parts of the world is as precarious as ever.  We don’t believe the situation is random.  If things are chaotic in the world that means something is chaotic inside of us. What are we missing that we can’t get right year in and year out?  A hint in th...
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Rabbi Shlomo Landau began working for Torah Links (the outreach arm of the Lakewood Yeshivah) in the summer of 2000, and he was instrumental in founding Torah Links of Middlesex County located in East Brunswick, NJ. Torah Links of Middlesex County began with a few home-based study groups and has blossomed into a full service kiruv organization serving 400+ Jewish families in the area. From Sunday school to Hebrew High, from numerous daily classes to High Holiday programs, the organization works flat-out to create inspiring programs. The results speak for themselves. Thousands of Jews from all walks of life have been positively impacted by the uplifting and inspiring Judaism provided by Torah Links. In addition, countless individuals and families have found their way back to complete Torah observance, and Torah Links is proud to have graduates of its youth programs in top yeshivos and kollelim. Through Rabbi Landau’s tireless efforts, Torah Links is about to commence construction of the Torah Links of Middlesex County Community Learning Center; a 15,000 sq. foot beautiful state-of-the-art full service Kiruv center. Additionally, since the fall of 2002 Rabbi Landau has been a high school rebbi in various Modern Orthodox yeshivot. He is currently a beloved faculty member of the Ray Kushner Yeshiva High School (located in Livingston, NJ). For over a decade, Rabbi Landau has succeeded in inspiring hundreds of young men to investigate and appreciate Jewish living and learning. Rabbi Landau has built long lasting relationships with very many of his students – relationships that have lasted past graduation and continue to flourish today, when he is often called on to act as ‘mesader kiddushin’ at their weddings.
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"I thought I would do this [ponzi scheme] for just a short time and then extricate myself and my clients from it" —Bernie Madoff, during his sentencing hearing in court. We can imagine the temptation, the first time Madoff's investments turned sour, to use the money from new investors to pay the old. What harm could there be in borrowing in hard times and paying back when things improved? ...
by June 19, 2020
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It is hard to see the world in the way we are supposed to- with a lens of optimism and positivity. This is especially true now with all of the tumult in society today.  But the reality is that it is always challenging to see the world correctly. The Torah records the initial visual impairments when the spies sent to Israel to scour the land.  This one episode led to a thirty eight year extension in the desert.  Apparently, Jewish vision always had its issues.              After a taste of giant...
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Jewish mysticism is often perceived as ethereal abstract and beyond the ken of all but a select few. It is often considered to have little relevance to the day-to-day life of an ordinary Jew. Indeed, the laws and commandments found in the Torah and Talmud which form the framework of Jewish living can be understood and followed without any knowledge of the mystical literature. Chasidic philosophy teaches, however, that there is an essential, fundamental interrelationship between all levels of Jew...
by May 8, 2020
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Jews are credited with a plethora of creativity in the fields of arts, science, economics- basically any field under the sun. Unfortunately, we are not always credited with our most creative and productive work, sanctifying G-d’s name. What does it means to give sanctity to G-d’s name and why is it our most creative work?               To begin, we need a working definition of sanctity.  One way of defining sanctity is the ability to do an act purely for its own sake. In other words, our world ...