In search of happiness

In search of happiness

By: Brandon Blumenau We are commanded to rejoice on Pesach, Shavuos, and Sukkos. We refer to these festivals as yomim tovim, or “good days”, on which we dress well, eat well, and daven well. These are times we celebrate with family, friends, and even Hashem Himself. Pesach and Shavuos are undoubtedly happy times for the Jewish People, but only Sukkos is described by our Rabbis as zman simchaseinu, the time of our happiness. The obvious question is what’s there to be so happy about on Sukkos? We have a very…

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Something to celebrate on the birthday of the world

Something to celebrate on the birthday of the world

By Professor Nathan Aviezer Creation and Science Where did the universe come from? A person of faith would probably answer that the universe was created out of nothing, as stated in the first verse of the Torah. Such an answer was long considered a scientific impossibility, because it contradicted the law of the conservation of matter and energy. According to this law of science, which was established in the middle of the nineteenth century, matter and energy can be changed from one form to another, but something cannot come from…

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Making mitzvos possible

Making mitzvos possible

By Ilan Preskovsky So important is the establishment of a mikvah (a ritual bath) in Judaism that our great Sage, the Chofetz Chaim, said, “The building of a mikvah takes precedence over the building of a shul, the buying of a sefer Torah, and all other commandments” in any Jewish community. The laws of family purity, for which the mikvah plays a essential role, are rather complicated, but so elemental is the building of a mikvah that any Jewish community without one can be said to be lacking its very…

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Remembering Mr Fitz

Remembering Mr Fitz

By David Sommer Fredy Sommer, a”h, was born in 1910 in Langenselbold, a small town close to Frankfurt, Germany. As the oldest of four children, he shared in the responsibility of taking care of the family. His parents were too poor to afford to send him to high school so he began working in the family bakery at the tender age of twelve. Initially, the “bakery” involved renting an oven in one of the four corners of the town where bread and rolls were baked. Fredy’s job was to deliver…

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So that you shall know

So that you shall know

By: Dovid Samuels “For seven days you shall dwell in sukkahs…so that your generations shall know that I made the Jewish people live in sukkahs when I took them out of Egypt.” [1] Apparently we build sukkahs to remind us of how Hashem gave us huts to live in as we became a newly formed nation from the furnace of Mitzrayim (Egypt). Homeless and wandering, Hashem provided housing for us, and we need to remember this miracle for all generations, so we should never think that our safety and protection…

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Think before you click

Think before you click

By: Sara Gila Margulies As the High Holy Days draw upon us, we begin to take stock of all our deeds this past year. We each hope to be signed in the Book of Life and thus to be granted a new year of health, peace, and prosperity. Every one of us has surely earned much merit for the many mitzvos we have performed, and all our positive actions will hopefully outweigh any misdeeds on our slate. Yet, if we wish to be granted a sweet judgment, it would only…

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Swimming against the tide

Swimming against the tide

By Chandrea Serebro I had the chance to chat recently to a prominent businessman and member of the religious community the other day, and I told him I was doing an article on the challenges of being religiously observant in the corporate world. How hard it must be, at times, but how it must also bear amazing rewards to be that beacon of light. A great responsibility, which I am sure, can be very tough at times. A chozer b’teshuva (someone who was not raised religiously), he told me the…

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Paving a new path

Paving a new path

By: Robert Sussman It is well known that Moshe Rabbeinu spent forty days and forty nights on Har Sinai (Mount Sinai) receiving the Torah from Hashem, only to descend from the mountain after all that time, tablets in hand, to find the nation committing the terrible Cheit HaEigel (the sin of the golden calf), at which point he made the decision to throw down the tablets that were in his hands, smashing them to pieces. What followed was another forty day and forty night period on Har Sinai during which…

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A love affair with the machzor

A love affair with the machzor

  By Richard Shavei-Tzion Those were days of awe. The Shul in Cape Town was packed to the brim with generations of families in their finery. The men, many topped with formal hats, wore dark suits and solid ties while the women, resplendent in variations of the season’s fashionable colours, glittered with a sense of the occasion. The elders appeared stern faced, some leaning on carved walking sticks while the little boys and girls, shoes unusually polished and ties slightly askew, strained on tip toes to get a glimpse of…

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Real teshuva

Real teshuva

By Eliezer Ohr* Teshuva (lit: return), aka repentance, is an incredibly powerful concept, requiring us to look at the effect of our negative actions and calling us to return and make things right. From my experience, the concept of return applies not only within the context of our relationship with Hashem, but also within the constellation of all the relationships in our lives. Every relationship is affected by our actions, both positive and negative, and all of those relationship requiring repair when we choose the wrong path. This is what…

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