The Often Overlooked Message of Purim
Posted on 02/27/2018 by Rabbi Ben Hecht in Holidays
In many ways, the story of Purim epitomizes the battle of good versus evil. The lines are clearly drawn and we know for whom we should cheer and for whom we should not. That is why its celebration is so...
The Uphill Battle of Teaching Orthodox Judaism
Posted on 01/30/2018 by Rabbi Ben Hecht in Beliefs and Practices
I read with great interest the JVO blog posting from Moshe Daniel Levine entitled The Uphill Battle of Teaching Liberal Judaism and found myself agreeing with many of his points. In many ways, I found him...
Chanukah – The Holiday of Judaism's Oral Law
Posted on 12/19/2017 by Rabbi Ben Hecht in Holidays
Of all the holidays celebrated by the Jewish People over the millennia, the only one that is not mentioned in the Tanach [the Jewish Bible] is the holiday of Chanukah. While there are different books entitled...
How Not To Do Teshuva
Posted on 09/24/2017 by Rabbi Ben Hecht in Holidays
Maimonides, in his presentation of the Laws of Repentance (Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Teshuva 1:1) states that the actual mitzvah of teshuva, in requesting forgiveness from God, consists of four parts:1)...
Posted on 07/27/2017 by Rabbi Ben Hecht in Holidays
During these Three Weeks which we are presently experiencing on the Jewish calendar, we are not just marking the historical destruction of our Temples in Jerusalem which threw us into the tragedies of the...
The Uniqueness of Jewish Nationhood
Posted on 05/01/2017 by Rabbi Ben Hecht in Israel
As we celebrate Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel Independence Day, it is a proper time to reflect upon the basic nature of our Jewish national identity. The questions actually abound...as do the myriad of answers...
The Jewish Revelation
Posted on 02/14/2017 by Rabbi Ben Hecht in Beliefs and Practices
This Shabbat, in synagogues around the world, we will read Parshat Yitro which contains the account of the Revelation at Sinai. When we think of this overwhelming historical event, we may wonder, though: what...
Why Chanukah Isn't About What You Think It's About
Posted on 12/27/2016 by Rabbi Ben Hecht in Holidays
There are many misconceptions regarding the holiday of Chanukah. One is that it is essentially a celebration of a victory in a war of independence which the Maccabees fought to free the Jewish People from...
Repenting for What You Thought Was Right
Posted on 09/26/2016 by Rabbi Ben Hecht in Holidays
Maimonides (Hilchot Teshuva 1:1) states that in the personal and private confession of a person -- necessarily instrumental in describing and reporting on the repentance process - the individual must first...
Torah Advice on Responding to Negative Emotions
Posted on 08/07/2016 by Rabbi Ben Hecht in Holidays
We are presently in the time known as The Three Weeks (this year July 24 – Aug. 14), the saddest period on the Jewish calendar. These weeks are bounded by the 17th day of Tammuz – the date on which...