Living in Isolation

by Rabbi Yisrael Kaniel – April 20, 2020 The Torah portion of Tazria begins with a small section on the procedure to be followed pursuant to the birth of a child: “When a woman conceives and gives birth to a male, she shall be contaminated for a seven-day period … On the eighth day, the […]

Late to Base

by Rabbi Yisrael Kaniel – October 28, 2019   A story is told of a group of soldiers who were on leave from the Israeli Army.  This group was given a number of hours, perhaps a day or two, to be away from base.  The soldiers were ordered to return by a given time on a given […]

With the Crooked You Act Perversely

by Rabbi Yisrael Kaniel – November 29, 2016 In the beginning of the Torah section of Toldot (Bereshit 25:27), we read, “And the lads grew up and Esav became a man who knows trapping, a man of the field; but Jacob was a wholesome man, abiding in tents.”  Regarding these descriptions, Rashi comments that “a […]

Beginning of a Rivalry

by Rabbi Yisrael Kaniel – November 8, 2016 The Torah section of Lekh Lekha marks the beginning of a rivalry – a long standing rivalry that continues to this day.  We read in this Torah section that our forefather Abraham and his wife Sarah are childless for many years (Bereshit 15:2-3).  Sarah then offers her maidservant Hagar […]

Appreciating the Simple Life

by Rabbi Yisrael Kaniel – October 14, 2016 On Pesach, we celebrate G-d’s forging us into a free and independent nation with no one to answer to except for Him.  A couple months later, we celebrate G-d’s bequeathing us His own personally crafted constitution for life.  And, as we begin our New Year, we confirm and fortify […]

Turn Over a New Leaf but Do not Burn Down the Tree

by Rabbi Yisrael Kaniel – October 6, 2016 Every year, after we begin a new Jewish year, as we come to the tenth day of the Jewish month of Tishre, we encounter a very special opportunity in our lives.  In His holy Torah (Vayikra 23:27), G-d proclaims, “On the tenth day of this seventh month [Tishre] shall […]

Understanding our Position

by Rabbi Yisrael Kaniel – September 22, 2016 A concept central to the holy day of Rosh HaShana that marks the Jewish New Year is, as found in the second mishna of the tractate Rosh HaShana, that “On the first of the year, all humankind pass before Him.”  The Supreme Being, sole ruler and Creator […]

For the Love of G-d

by Rabbi Yisrael Kaniel – May 27, 2016 The venerated father-in-law of this essay’s author, R. Hersh Rosenhan, one of the earliest devoted students in America of the illustrious Torah luminary R. Aaron Kotler, who imbibed much of his beloved mentor’s wisdom, has voiced on various occasions an apparent anomaly.  At the beginning of the […]

A Question of Joy

by Rabbi Yisrael Kaniel – May 6, 2016 As the 18th day of the Hebrew month of Iyyar approaches every year, hundreds and thousands of Jews in Israel and even many from abroad prepare for what is seen as a joyous trek and stay in the northern Israel city of Meron at the location of the […]

Redemption Can be Swift

by Rabbi Yisrael Kaniel – March 25, 2016 After Joseph’s being exiled to a foreign land, enslaved, falsely accused of a crime and imprisoned, we read (Bereshit 41:14), “And Pharaoh sent and summoned Joseph, and they rushed him from the dungeon.”  Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, had a disturbing dream that could only be interpreted […]