by January 15, 2021
2 Views
An article in the Harvard business review tracked an interesting change in our culture over the last 100 years. In the old days, being able to afford leisure time was a status symbol. It meant that a person was wealthy enough not to work and it was viewed favorably. A new trend, however, has changed all that. What is now perceived as high status is when a person says they are busy. It is a sign of success and value that a person is constantly busy. It must be they are always wanted for their tal...
by January 8, 2021
2 Views
The origins of our greatest hero is shrouded in mystery. An anonymous Jewish man meets an anonymous Jewish women from the house of Levi and they have a child who is described by the general adjective as ‘good’. The Talmud wonders what this multi- purpose adjective alludes to and settles on five different possibilities. Interestingly, the first two possibilities are that this was Moshe’s actual name- Tov or the other opinion, Tuvia. But why were these names hidden in the Torah and never spelled o...
by December 25, 2020
2 Views 1 Like
How did Jesus get off the ground according to the Talmudic tradition (there is some debate as to whether this was the Jesus, but the simple reading is that it is)? The Talmud states that the issue was that the Rabbi didn’t communicate properly to Jesus.  When Jesus erred (he accused his Rabbi of having improper thoughts), he was too harsh in his rebuke and didn’t bake into the rebuke a hint of love that if Jesus were to repent, he’d be welcomed back with open arms.  The Talmud is quite critical ...
by December 4, 2020
2 Views 1 Like
If we think getting the land Israel has been difficult, perhaps, as difficult was getting the name Israel.  It took a dusty wrestling match and an acute injury. But the real question is why the name change and why the name Israel?  Granted, Abraham needed to change names from Avram to Avraham because his name came from a place of idolatry.  But Isaac born into holiness didn’t go through any name changes, and ostensibly, Yakov was born into holiness too, so why did he undergo a name change? If ...
by November 20, 2020
3 Views 1 Like
Isaac called over his eldest son Esav and told him, ‘grab your hunting gear, your sword and bow and go to the field and trap me a hunt.’  There are many strange things about this. We have known for quite some time that Esau was a capable hunter- he spent his youth in the field trapping. Why did his father need to remind him to grab his hunting gear and then spell out the weapons?  But even stranger, why ask Esav to hunt at all? Isaac is a wealthy man and has his own flock that could be eaten.  W...
by November 7, 2020
4 Views 2 Likes
There is a strange way we describe our silent prayer- the standing prayer. Aside from the fact that many traditions do just the opposite, Buddhists sit and Muslims kneel, it is a strange moniker for the prayer. Standing happens to be how we do the prayer, but isn’t the content of the prayer a more telling aspect of what it is?   Furthermore, if we contrast that with the beginning with the service we see a major difference. The service begins almost intentionally with sitting when we say the ...
by October 31, 2020
2 Views 1 Like
The Torah is mum on how Avraham gets his start. Why him? What did he do to merit the greatest mission mankind has ever seen? Once he is picked we admit it is a fine choice. His tent is open, he stands up even for those who appear evil, and he is willing to follow G-d to the frontiers of human morality. But prior to that the Torah stays silent on why Hashem decides to set him on the most consequential journey in human history.   ...
by October 23, 2020
3 Views 2 Likes
What went so wrong that the world needed to start over? The stated reason is because of robbery. As some explain, if even something as logical as property rights were lost, then the world could not be sustained.  Slightly more hidden in the verses is that humans had ‘destroyed’ the world. That hints at more severe problems such as murder, idolatry, and sexual immorality- the three cardinal sins.  However, what was behind that? Why did human beings descend to such chaos?                There is ...
by October 16, 2020
2 Views 1 Like
As we start the Torah over again, it is important to look at old stories with fresh eyes as new discoveries are always lurking. This year, I took an in-depth look at the first quarrel of mankind between two brothers.  Although we find relationships between groups to be complex, those overt differences are not necessary. There is plenty to fight about within the family, which is sadly all too common as well.  The first criminal act between two people occurs between two brothers- Kayin and Hevel. ...
by September 11, 2020
2 Views 2 Likes
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...
Top Bloggers
7 Entries 1 follower
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.
Most Viewer Blogs
6 Views
"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
6 Views
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...
5 Views
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
5 Views
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 ...