Hungering for What Was

by Rabbi Yisrael Kaniel – February 21, 2016 Five times during the course of the year, aside from the Biblically enjoined day of Yom Kippur, observant Jews the world over engage in fasting: Tzom Gedaliah, Asara b’Tevet, Ta’anit Esther, Shiv’ah Asar B’Tammuz and Tish’ah B’Av.  On Ta’anit Esther, we limit our physical pleasure as Esther…

Praise the Good L-rd

by Rabbi Yisrael Kaniel – December 16, 2015 On a daily basis, observant Jews the world over praise the Al-Mighty G-d as they bless Him for all the good that they enjoy.  Our Sages tell us (Babylonian Talmud, Berakhot 35a), “Whoever derives benefit from this world without a blessing [whereby one recognizes the source of…

We Have G-d in our Corner

by Rabbi Yisrael Kaniel – November 15, 2015 On the holiday of Chanukah, observant Jews round the world declare their appreciation to G-d in the Shemona Esrei prayer: “For the miracles, and for the salvation, and for the mighty deeds, and for the victories, and for the battles which You performed for our forefathers in…

Mixed Up Priorities

by Rabbi Yisrael Kaniel – October 13, 2015 In his comments on the Torah portion of Noach (VeHigadeta, Bereshit pp. 137 – 140), R. Yaakov Galinsky wonders about the verse (Bereshit 9:20), “And Noah, the man of the earth, debased himself and planted a vineyard.”  As Rashi points out ad locum, the Sages opined that,…

Best Wishes before a New Beginning

by Rabbi Yisrael Kaniel – October 1, 2015 In the supplication preceding the obligatory passage of Shema read in the morning by religiously observant Jews the world over, we find, “Our Father, the merciful Father, Who acts mercifully, have mercy upon us, instill in our hearts to understand and elucidate, to listen, to learn, and…

Strive for Consistency

by Rabbi Yisrael Kaniel – September 16, 2015 In the Torah portion of VaYelekh, amongst Moses’ parting words before his passing, we read (Devarim 31:12-13), “Gather together the people – the men, the women, and the small children, and your stranger who is in your cities – so that they will hear and so they…

Stop and Think

by Rabbi Yisrael Kaniel – September 7, 2015 In the beginning of the Torah portion of Nitzavim, Moses, before he passes on, addresses a gathering of the People of Israel and begins to tell them (Devarim 29:9), “You are standing here today.”  On this verse, Rashi comments that Moses gathered together the people to stand…