Dave Gordon
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The unsolved mystery of the menorah
20 December, 2015
What most of us know about the holiday of Hanukah is the Jewish revolt against the ruling Greeks to fight assimilation, the miracle of the eight-day oil, and the rededication of the holy Temple. ...
Who was the Pharaoh of the Exodus?
26 April, 2015
We know him as the tyrant who governed Egypt and who enslaved the Jewish People – Pharaoh. He’s the evil ruler who refused to free the Jewish slaves, and saw his country lying in ruins after God un...
Do not launch words of mass destruction
11 October, 2014
I’ll say it with certainty: if given the choice between smacked hard in the head with a baseball bat, or a personal detail of mine being revealed to many people, I’d choose to have my head whacked. ...
Jay Leno headlined UJA Toronto fundraiser
11 September, 2014
UJA Federation of Greater Toronto launched its 2015 fundraising campaign Sept. 10 with an event at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, featuring standup comedy from former Tonight Show host Jay...
Poor get passed over on Passover
3 April, 2012
 Walking through the supermarket this time of year can be particularly daunting for the kosher consumer. The prices of non-kosher items at times can be half the price of the Passover items. ...
Of Tombraiders and the hunt for Jesus
11 March, 2012
 When a bulldozer razes acres in Israel, it’s not just another day of construction. A typical story means stumbling upon treasure – be it artifacts, bones or documents long buried in an area r...
Over-board with overaccommodation
21 September, 2011
If The Thornhill Liberal's offices ran like the York Region public school board, there would be no newspaper produced on Rosh Hashanah. Shellfish and ham sandwiches would be prohibited in th...
Theft at Auschwitz reverberates for local Jews
18 December, 2009
 Holocaust survivors and Jewish educators were aghast upon hearing Friday of the theft of the Nazis' infamous iron sign over the entrance of Auschwitz, in Poland.Those entering the still-standi...
Ontario's Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit generates a war of words.
31 July, 2009
 Israel, always the centre of controversy, has been for some time trying to win a war on the battlefield, as well as a war of words. This time, the words coming from Israel are two millennia ol...
The holy city belongs to Jews
3 July, 2009
Religiously and historically, Jews have always pointed to Jerusalem as the epi-centre of Jewish spirituality. As for legal ownership, however, there is confusion for many in the haze of recent Unite...
Glorifying one God doesn't make us the same
15 June, 2009
 What God Really Wants You to Know , by C. David Lundberg (Heavenlight Press, softcover, 448 pages, $24.57). Pope Benedict XVI’s recent visit to the Holy Land emphasized the idea that the t...
B’halot’cha – The punishment for shaming another
12 June, 2009
  This week’s parsha teaches how serious an offense it is to publicly shame someone through speech, even when it is done unintentionally. We can learn much about how severe a crime is by und...
Bamidbar – Everyone Counts
22 May, 2009
  Aptly called “Numbers,” the fourth book of the Torah begins with a census of the Children of Israel. In Hebrew, it is called “Bamidbar,” which shares the same root word of dvar (speak)...
BEHAR-BECHUKOSAI – Strengthening Oneself, and Helping to Strengthen Others
15 May, 2009
  1. “If your fellow becomes impoverished, and his means falter, you shall strengthen him…”   Even though it is a tremendous mitzvah to help somebody out of hard times, and “str...
EMOR – Bad Representation
8 May, 2009
A friend of mine once told me the story of a question he posed to his rabbi. He asked whether it was a good idea to take on a certain stringency with milk products, halav yisrael, as part of his gro...
ACHREI – KEDOSHIM – The Rest is Commentary; Now Go Learn
1 May, 2009
 Kedoshim - nothing holier than ten of the basic ethical imperatives outlined (see below), one of which is “love your fellow as yourself,” the central line in the Torah, according to two of Jud...
TAZRIA-METZORA – Words As Swords
24 April, 2009
 There is an old, perhaps apocryphal, story which goes something like this: A man confesses to his rabbi that he is guilty of talking badly about others, and asks the rabbi what is required to...
SHMINI – Animals: Sacrificing and Eating Them in a Kosher Way
18 April, 2009
Two main themes I see in this parsha are that there is a kosher way to eat animals, and a kosher way to sacrifice them. There is much written about the concept of the spiritual power of what we cons...
A 21st Century Formula to Improve Shul
16 April, 2009
After this three-day Passover yomtov, I began to think about the twelve hours I spent at shul services. It was a long haul, reminiscent of Rosh Hashana. I got to thinking: Need it be so much? I can’t...
Tzav – Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor
3 April, 2009
 1. Why is there an everlasting flame on the sacrificial altar? It is a flame to recognize that, even if the “office hours” of the Temple were during daylight, the visual symbol of atonement is...
PARSHAS VAYIKRA –Many Lessons from the Altar
27 March, 2009
 Short random thoughts on the Torah portion: 1. No sacrifice must be without salt. In a combination of honouring the miracle of the two manna on the Sabbath, as well as the holiness of the ...
Veyakhel-Pekudei - A different kind of home improvement
20 March, 2009
 In these weeks leading up to Passover, Jews around the world spend a great deal of time cleaning out their homes. It is not only so that we can be rid of chametz; so much as a speck in our pos...
Union boycotts Israel
17 March, 2009
 Resolution supporters "extremist": Kenney. Ontario's largest public sector union, CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees) Ontario, has passed a controversial resoluti...
Conference examines trends in anti-Semitism
17 March, 2009
News from countries around the world tells of growing anti-Semitism. From Holocaust-denying bishops to Canadian union boycotts of Israel to the usual tirades from Middle East dictators, hatred of J...
KI TISA – Holy Cow, Take Two Tablets, and Have a Listen
13 March, 2009
  Impatient for Moses to descend from Mount Sinai, the Israelites took their gold earrings to melt into a calf, which they danced around and worshiped. Rabbi Isaac of Slonim brings in an ...
Tetzaveh - Where In the Parsha is Moses?
6 March, 2009
 Curiously, this is the only parsha in Exodus that does not include Moshe. The Sages teach us this can be traced to the sin of the Golden Calf, foreshadowed to the next parsha, when God told Mo...
TERUMAH – The Temple: what’s between our ears, and The Holy Centre
2 March, 2009
 We tend to enjoy gifts when the giver has given us something we like. This also applies to the giver, who tends to enjoy giving when they know the receiver will like the gift. It is one reason w...
Mishpatim - Hearing is Believing
21 February, 2009
 The punishments for breaking the Ten Commandments are outlined in Mishpatim. Most of the big ten, if found to be intentionally violated, are punishable by death (in the times of the Temple). T...
Yitro: Ten Comments on the Ten Commandments
14 February, 2009
 The Ten Commandments and ten micro commentaries. 1. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery…” The first Commandment is to recognize ...
BeShalach – The Miracle Bridge
7 February, 2009
 No question, the most outstanding part of this parsha is the Reed Sea splitting, and the pursuing Egyptian army swallowed up by the closing walls of water. Soon after, God provides daily ratio...
Bo – On invasion of privacy, the Stockholm Syndrome, and new Laws
31 January, 2009
 Rabbi Gershom ben Judah (960 –1040), Rashi’s mentor, was someone who was so infuriated by invasion of privacy issues, he handed down a ruling for his community that reading a another’s mail w...
Vayera – On Poker, Pharaoh, Palindromes and Gremlins
24 January, 2009
  In a poker game, there are times when a player realizes he holds a lousy hand, but either through pride, thrill addiction, or vain hope, he keeps gambling money on his hand. Rather tha...
Shmot: Pointless Pain versus Purposeful Pain
16 January, 2009
  The beginning of the book of Exodus tells of the land of Egypt filling with the descendants of Joseph and Jacob. A new Pharaoh takes over, and fears the Jews’ increasing numbers, who he b...
Vayechi – Looking at Your Zits in the Mirror
9 January, 2009
  A window washer stood on the sidewalk on a windy day, a cloth in one hand, and a chemical cleaner spray in the other. Standing arms length from the building, at eye level he sprayed the c...
Vayigash – What’s Said is As Important As What’s Not Said
2 January, 2009
  There was a seventeen foot tall tree that grew near the apartment building I lived in when I was young, that stood near the local children’s’ popular play area. It was said to be the v...
Miketz – Indeed, a Time for Light and Reflection
27 December, 2008
I  have often maintained that the pain of indifference is one of the worst, if not the worst, kind of pain a person can experience. An example of this is the time I befriended a homeless man wh...
Vayeshev: Eight Behavioural Paths to Good Character
20 December, 2008
A propos for the day before erev-Chanukah, I have come up with eight ethical lessons – each for a night of Chanukah - from this parsha:  1. While every child has different and unique ne...
Vayishlach – Choosing between a heel, and heaven
13 December, 2008
  When is a fight necessary, and when it is right to avoid a fight and pursue peace? There are three battles in this parsha: There’s a war of vengeance with Shechem, a human/angel battle ...
Vayeitzei – Veils of Deceit
6 December, 2008
Dateline: Canaan. With wire services.                   This is Jacob’s cautionary tale, befitting of a s...
Toldot – Earning and Selling Spiritual Greatness
30 November, 2008
  This parsha includes the famous story of Yaakov finagling his brother’s birthright, and receiving the blessing from his father Yitzchak. Esav “sold” Yaakov his birthright for a bowl of r...
CHAYEI SARAH – It’s the Little Acts That Get Attention
21 November, 2008
                  This happens to be my bar mitzvah portion, and by sheer coincidence, speaks of the life and d...
Parshat Vayeira - The Art of Negotiation
14 November, 2008
  Zodom and Aemorah and the five surrounding cities are about to be destroyed due to their terribly evil inhabitants. This is 400 years after the Great Flood, also brought on by a world...
Lech Lecha – An Obligation to Help Others See Goodness
10 November, 2008
              If you saw someone doing something unethical, immoral or illegal, would you take the time to point it out or try to s...
Noach - Rainbow Warrior?
31 October, 2008
  It is rather peculiar that Noach means “comfort.” It’s hardly comforting that tens of thousands of people were drowned in a flood. Perhaps it is of some comfort to know that God was le...
Bereishiet - We are Abel To Improve
29 October, 2008
  There’s so much to the opening of the Torah that whole books have been written on the basic themes of Creation, the first man and woman, the first sin, and the first murder. This p...
V’Zot Haberacha – United Flight 10 & 3 To Israel
28 October, 2008
  The Torah explains why Moses could not enter the land, because he “broke faith” at the waters of Meribath-kadesh, in front of the Children of Israel. The phrase the passage begins with...
Haazinu – Justice and Revenge
10 October, 2008
 Fresh off of Yom Kippur, this parsha is a poetic recap of how God has created the world, is angered by sin, yet giving and benevolent even to those who go astray. God has many attributes, b...
Are Government sent Rosh Hashanah cards “offensive”?
3 October, 2008
  Each year for the past few years the Conservatives have sent out Jewish New Years cards to tens of thousands of Jewish homes in Canada.   And for years some Jews have felt ...
Don’t boycott the election because of Sukkot
2 October, 2008
  Many observant Jews have voiced objection against the choice of the federal election date, Oct. 14, the first day of Sukkot. Some have reported plans to stay home in protest, or they p...
Netzavim - Healing Words
27 September, 2008
 An interesting parable from the Hasidic masters on recognizing another’s point of view: There was a dialogue between a rabbi and his pupil. When his pupil says to the rebbe, “Rebbe, I love you...
Ki Tavo - The Heart Is Not So Smart
19 September, 2008
 A few outstanding imperatives in this parsha: do not take advantage of the orphan or widow; do not strike a person stealthily; have fair weights and measures; and don’t move your neighbor’s fe...
Parsha Ki Teitzei- RANDOM THOUGHTS
14 September, 2008
 1. This parsha has the most number of mitzvot of any parsha – 74. “Aed” (witness) and its backward spelled “Da” (know) were discussed in the last parsha. The numerical value of those words is ...
SHOFTIM: Righteousness Shall You Pursue
5 September, 2008
Being meticulous, fair, and ethical in judgement is so important that this parsha, called “Judges,” outlines that we are to appoint judges in every city, and never to pervert justice, such as with b...
PARSHAT RE’EH: No Tax Deductible Receipt for Doing What is Just
29 August, 2008
  The parsha explains the responsibility to give to the poor, and to lend them money if necessary, even if the shmitah year – the seventh-year cycle, when debts are cancelled – is approaching...
EIKEV INSIGHTS: The Road To Heel Is Paved With Good Intentions
23 August, 2008
 Why are we obsessed with noise pollution, air pollution and water pollution, but almost never think about soul pollution?     Eikev has us think about the commandments, and the p...
Parshat V’etchanan: God is 1, and the Big 10
15 August, 2008
In the beginning of the parsha, Moshe prays to God to ask him to reconsider letting him through to the Promised Land. God said no. It hardly seems fair. The holiest man of that generation, and the g...
Parshat Devarim: Words, And How Best to Use Them
8 August, 2008
 After reading this parsha, I am reminded of the greatest advice for offering criticism I have ever read: “A man convinced against his will, will be of the same opinion still.” Dale Carnegie wr...
Parshat Massei: Land of Reward and Punishment
2 August, 2008
 God pre-emptively avoids challenges over property, and possible civil war, by discussing the boundaries of Israel, how the land is divided among the tribes, and the cities of refuge. He also c...
Parshat Matot: INSIGHTS
25 July, 2008
This parsha discusses the laws of verbal vows and how important it is to mean what you say, and keep your word. A person’s word means everything. A betrayal of one’s word is a betrayal of one’s hono...
Insights on Parshat Pinchas
18 July, 2008
 We are often taught as children that being unkind is wrong. And for good reason: the simpler the morals that are imparted on our children, the better they understand. However, many carry that ...
THOUGHTS ON PARSHAT BALAK
12 July, 2008
 This parsha picks up where the last one leaves off. Balak, king of Moab, saw that a mighty Israel had defended themselves against invading Amorites. Out of reasonable political and national se...
Thoughts on Parshat Chukat
4 July, 2008
 There are a number of vignettes in this week’s parsha that are seemingly unrelated: The Red Heifer, Miriam and Aaron dying, Moshe hitting the rock, and the Israelites trying to pass through ci...
Insights on Parshat Korach: Dedicated to Bracha
27 June, 2008
The Torah is full of stories where there is a rightful dispute over something unjust. Abraham argues with God to not entirely destroy Sdom and Amorah, lest there be good people killed. Joseph’s brot...
Thoughts on Parsha Shelach: Dedicated to my daughter, Bracha
21 June, 2008
 Shelach, meaning “to send,” is the story of the ten spies who were sent to inspect the Land of Israel, and came back with a report to the Children of Israel. Eight of them spoke badly about th...
What does ‘honour’ entail?
13 April, 2008
 A 41-year-old man kills his three young children in a hotel. A mother and father beat their children on the head with hammers. These two recent events, truly abhorrent as they are, have unfortu...
Seeking Advice: The December Dilemma
7 December, 2007
 This time of year, interfaith couples often struggle to find balance in celebrating the holidays. A recent article in the New York Times discusses conflicts that arise over rituals, decoration...
When Dog and God Collide
17 August, 2007
  In this story from the Vancouver Sun, a blind man with a seeing-eye dog was refused service by a Muslim cab driver. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/story.html?id=16fb2403-8ff3-4f68-907a-01ce...
When Godlessness is in the Details
21 March, 2007
When Canadian Leaders Sound Like Iran's The National Post reported last December that head leaders in the Liberal party think the Prime Minister acts like a Nazi. Bill Graham, the Liberals' former ...
Thought Radio - Interview with Dennis Prager
16 March, 2007
Scandals and celebrities may be the lead items on the news, but it is more important for Dennis Prager to talk about values. For him, there’s more to current events than the events themselves. There a...
You got Lacoste and Polo? Now try Kosher
9 February, 2007
Put that Kabbalah bracelet aside. There's a new way to wear your Jewish identity on your sleeve. Sure, Jewish clothing has often been secularized - like a Spiderman kippah. But now secular clothing ...
The 21st Century Bar Mitzvah: Gaudy or Godly?
9 February, 2007
The "right" way to have a Bar Mitzvah, according to most rabbinical authorities, is after the Jewish boy turns thirteen, he reads his Torah portion and has a celebratory meal. The rest, as they say, i...
Nourishing our souls
26 January, 2007
Esther Jungreis thinks teshuvah is the answer Over the course of four decades, Esther Jungreis has made a name for herself as an outreach worker at Hineni in Manhattan, a matchmaker, ersatz counsello...
Do you confirm your Judaism?
18 December, 2006
 A year after the Holocaust, the number of Jews in the world were about 12 million. The number sixty years later has essentially flatlined: In 2006, the sum total is the same. What will the Jewis...

 

All Contents © 2017 Dave Gordon | Lichtman Consulting