Torah To Go

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

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,(…)

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

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]

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]

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]

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]

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(…)

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

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]

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(…)

Shabbat Hagadol, The Great Shabbat. First Steps To Freedom [Parshat Acharei By Rabbi Zalman Lent]

On this day, thirty-three hundred years ago, the Hebrew slaves made their first tentative move in the direction of mental and physical freedom from Egyptian oppression … they took into their homes the animals they were going to eat as a final meal before leaving Egypt for good. Each and every family made sure to(…)

Tabloid Press, Twitter, Family Parrot And Tzaraat [Parshat Metzora By Rabbi Zalman Lent]

This shall be the law of the person afflicted with tzara’at, on the day of his cleansing, he shall be brought to the Kohen – Lev 14:2 I don’t at all like knowing what people say of me behind my back.  It makes me far too conceited – Oscar Wilde  This week’s Torah reading portion(…)

No Matter How Much Time You’ve Wasted In The Past, You Still Have An Entire Tomorrow [Parshat Tazria, Shabbat Ha’Chodesh By Rabbi Zalman Lent]

(G-d) showed Moshe a new moon and said to him, “When the moon renews itself, that will be a new month for you.” – Rashi Ex 12:2  Did you hear about the trial restaurant NASA set up on the moon? It closed after a month – the food was excellent, but there was no atmosphere. This Shabbat(…)

Judaism Is Not A Package Deal, All Or Nothing [Parshat Shemini By Rabbi Zalman Lent]

Moshe goes to see his Rabbi. “Rabbi, last week I missed saying Grace after Meals.” “Why,” asked the Rabbi. “Because I forgot to wash my hands before the meal.” “That’s twice you’ve broken the law but you still haven’t told me why.” “The food wasn’t kosher.” “You ate non-kosher food?” asked the Rabbi. “It wasn’t(…)

What Golda Meir, Richard Nixon, Esther And Mordechai Have In Common [Parshat Vayikra By Rabbi Zalman]

This Shabbat we begin reading the third book of the Torah – Sefer Vayikra, which deals in great detail with things we are largely unfamiliar with nowadays; the different offerings brought in the Beit Hamikdash,whether animals, birds or grain offerings. Our Sages discuss at great length the whole concept of animal offerings and sacrifices, and they propose(…)

Two Dollars For Every Person On The Planet, Shabbat Shekalim And WhatsApp, Dude [Parshat Pekudei By Rabbi Zalman Lent]

One bekka per head; [which is] half a shekel according to the holy shekel for each one who goes through the counting – Exodus 38:26 Talk of money is in the air this week, and even the most lofty and immaterial amongst us would be aware that vast sums of cash are changing hands in the hi-tech(…)

Meditation, Abstinence, Silence, Frugality, Solitude, Roman Emperor And Shabbat [Parshat Vayakhel By Rabbi Zalman Lent]

Six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have sanctity, a day of complete rest to the L-rd (Ex 35:2)  An elderly Jewish woman from Brooklyn goes in search of a famous guru. She takes a plane to India and then a boat up a river, and then hikes into the(…)