Divrei Torah

Some Fairy Tales Begin With: “If I Am Elected” [Parshat Emor By Rabbi Zalman Lent]

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Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few – George Bernard Shaw “Daddy,” a little girl asked her father, “do all fairy tales begin with Once upon a time?” “No, sweetheart,” he answered. “Some begin with If I am elected!” The beauty of democracy is that despite all the polls,(…)


IDF And Chabad Miracle Work in Nepal And Parshat Tazria – Metzora By Rabbi Zalman Lent

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Israel is around five years old now, and hopefully growing into a happy young child. The Israel I am referring to, of course, is the baby delivered at an IDF field hospital in Haiti, after the earthquake back in 2010. At the time the IDF treated over 1100 patients and delivered sixteen babies. One of(…)


Priestly Blessing, Startrek, Mr. Spock And Seats On The Bus For A White Passengers [Parshat Ki Tissa By Rabbi Zalman Lent]

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Last Friday (February 27, 2015) a famous Jewish actor passed away… Leonard Nimoy of Star Trek fame. Recognisable to fans by his pointy ears and trademark Vulcan salute (as pictured above), Nimoy was always proudly and staunchly Jewish, confident in his roots and fluent in his Yiddish. To his fans he will always remain Mr(…)


…Every Day We Increase The Light, Never Content With What We Achieved The Night Before [Hanukkah By Rabbi Zalman Lent]

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There are two schools of thought in Jewish tradition as to how the Chanukah menorah is to be lit. The Talmud tells us: Beit Shammai rules – On the first day of Chanukah, we light eight candles; each day thereafter, we decrease the lights by one. Beit Hillel rules – On the first day of(…)


The Heavy Sound Of Silence [Parshat Va’etchanan By Rabbi Zalman Lent]

The Talmud in Tractate Pesachim (50a) tells the story of Yosef, the son of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, who had a near-death experience, but miraculously survived. When he came to, his father asked him what he had seen in Heaven. His son replied, “I saw an upside-down world. Those people we regard as important down(…)


Do Not Be Broken Or Afraid Of Them [Parshat Devarim By Rabbi Zalman Lent]

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One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the L‑rd, many scenes from my life flashed across the sky. In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand, sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there were only one.  This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods(…)


Anti-Semitism Is As Old As The Jews, And Is Here To Stay [Parshat Mattot By Rabbi Zalman Lent]

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In 1891 Theodore Herzl moved to Paris to work as foreign correspondent for the Neue Freie Presse based in Vienna. He was 31 years old. At the time, his working theory on anti-Semitism he encountered was that it was because Jews were “different.” His solution to the problem was total assimilation and even conversion out(…)


Jews Have Returned From Exile To Their Ancestral Homeland, And Are There To Stay [Parshat Pinchas By Rabbi Zalman Lent]

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In July 2011 I was asked to help lead an ECJS Taglit-Birthright  group to Israel, made up of young Jewish singles, aged 18-26. Participants came from many European countries, including Ireland, France, Finland, Germany, Italy and Spain, who in the main were not religious and had never visited Israel before. The few who had been to(…)


Jew, Muslim And Christian Can Work Hand In Hand To Make A Safer Place For All [Parshat Balak By Rabbi Zalman Lent]

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The dictionary definition of an obsession is a “persistent and disturbing preoccupation with something.” Obsession is usually seen as being negative, an unhealthy fixation with something, and when humans get obsessed with things we begin to act differently, less rationally. Let’s look at some obsessive behaviour in the parsha. Balak, King of Moab, is obsessed(…)


Tracht gut vert sein gut. Think Positive And Things Will Be Good [Parshat Chukat By Rabbi Zalman Lent]

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A professor of psychology was beginning a course on stress management. To begin his lecture he asked everyone in the class to fill a glass with water to the halfway mark and then hold it out in front of them on an upturned palm. The students expected him to ask whether the glass was half(…)


We Need An End To Pain For All Nations And For All People – #BringBackOurBoys [ Parshat Korach By Rabbi Zalman Lent]

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Almost exactly eight years ago, on the 25th of June 2006, a young IDF soldier by the name of Gilad Shalit was captured by Hamas terrorists and held captive for over five years. Jews and Israelophiles remember vividly the day he was captured and the day he was released, the anguish and the joy. Those(…)


We Cannot Afford To Forget Our Roots – All Set To Flight Mode (Parshat Shlach By Rabbi Zalman Lent)

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Calev alone went (to Hebron) to prostrate himself at the graves of the Patriarchs Rashi, Num 13:22 On  an  ELAL  flight recently the hostess asked if I wanted dinner. “What are the options,” I asked.  “Yes or No,” she replied.  The Torah reading this week contains one of the longest recorded delays in the history of(…)


Humans Are Programmed For Synchrony (Parshat Nasso By Rabbi Zalman Lent)

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Those that live or have toured in Dublin will know of the famous landmark in the centre of the city, the Millennium Spire, which was originally planned for installation in the year 2000 but only went up in 2003! Funnily enough there is another Millennium project which was also delayed for a couple of years,(…)


There Is A danger In Torah Studying (Parshat Bechukotai, Erev Lag Be’Omer By Rabbi Zalman Lent)

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This Sunday is a day of great celebration, Lag Be’Omer, 33rd day of the 49 day stretch between Pesach and Shavuot. The day commemorates two greats of Jewish history, Rabbi Akiva and his student Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (known by the acronym Rashbi). Both of these great sages, who lived around the time of the(…)


Let’s Build The Beit Hamikdash And Offer The Sacrifices [Parshat Emor By Rabbi Zalman Lent]

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There are two small paragraphs in this week’s parsha which carry a powerful message about our attitude to others, and the need for sensitivity, not just to other people, but to all of G-d’s creatures. One of these short paragraphs talks about the mitzvot of Leket and Peah, ensuring that when we harvest a field(…)