Angel for Shabbat

Rabbi Marc D. Angel offers thoughts for discussion at your Shabbat table. Please visit this column each week, and invite your fa

Holiness in our Synagogues? Thoughts for Aharei Mot-Kedoshim

A story is told of the great Hassidic master, Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev. He had been visiting a town and attended prayer services in the local synagogue. One day, he stopped at the synagogue door and did not enter the sanctuary. The many people who were accompanying him were perplexed. Why did the Rebbe not enter the synagogue? Rabbi Levi Yitzhak told them: “I am not entering the synagogue because it's too crowded.” But the synagogue was empty! The Rebbe explained: “The synagogue is full of prayers, there's no room left for us.

Lessons from Elijah: Thoughts for Shabbat HaGadol

When the Talmud asks a question for which no satisfactory answer is evident, it uses the word "teiku" as a way of indicating that we'll have to wait for the coming of Elijah--messianic times--to receive the correct answer. Elijah will resolve our questions and difficulties.

A question is raised: why will we bring our questions to Elijah? After all, the messianic era will include the miraculous resurrection of the dead. That means that Moses will also be among us. Why don't we bring our questions to him, rather than to Elijah? Moses is our ultimate and greatest teacher of Torah.

Remembering Rabbi Paul E. Schuchalter

“A constant fire shall be kept burning on the altar; it shall not go out” (Vayikra 6:6). This week, our family is observing the eleventh anniversary of the passing of my father-in-law, Rabbi Paul E. Schuchalter, of blessed memory. He had served for many years as rabbi of Congregation Sons of Israel in Suffern, New York. He also served as Jewish Chaplain of the Good Samaritan Hospital. Upon his retirement, he remained active in his rabbinic work, teaching and counseling.

When Silence is not Golden--Thoughts on Parashat Vayikra

As a rabbi active in the community, I've attended many dinners and events in support of worthy causes. I well remember attending dinners on behalf of Yeshiva University, Yeshivot Bnei Akiva, Manhattan Day School etc.--and I was impressed by the fact that I would meet a particular man at each of these dinners. He was always very gracious to me, and would come to greet me at the smorgasbord as though we were old friends. I assumed he was a great philanthropist, who was a generous supporter of all these worthy institutions who were sponsoring the fundraising dinners.

Synagogue Jews: Thoughts for Shabbat Vayakhel-Pekudei

What role does the synagogue play in people's lives? Here are several models.

THE "HOSPITAL" SYNAGOGUE:  This refers to people who come to the synagogue in emergencies--at a time of crisis, illness, death of a loved one. Normally, they avoid the synagogue; but they turn to it in moments of need. The synagogue is akin to a hospital--a place they generally avoid, and only attend in dire situations.