By: Rabbi Moshe Don Kestenbaum

Sukkos – Beyond Our Walls

On Sukkos, we leave the comfort of our homes and settle tachas kanfei haShechinah. Rav Shamshon Raphael Hirsch zt”l, in his classic work Chorev, explains that it is precisely in this season, after the crop has been gathered, that we take on this initiative. The one who harvested plenty may feel secure with his abundance of produce, which [...]

Rosh Hashanah – Deafening Silen...

Every day of Elul we are awakened by the blast of the shofar calling us to do teshuvah, yet the very last day of Elul we are greeted with silence. We are taught that this is kedei le’arveiv haSoton, to confuse the Soton. Personally, I am struck by a different message that perhaps we are meant to learn as well. I picture a student in his dorm [...]

My Magic Cables

I hesitate to relate the following story, as it slightly embarrasses me, but I’ll share it nevertheless. My car boasts a smashed-up fender, a missing handle, and a special feature that warns people that I am heading down the block. These attributes all give my car a unique personality and charm.  I was recently having some problems starting t [...]

Where’s Our Rush?

This is certainly not a new problem I am facing, but I am becoming increasingly aware of the irony and oddity of that which is taking place before my eyes. I am eating my meal in no apparent rush, but all of a sudden, when it comes to bentching, I am in a huge rush to take care of my next chore, no matter its insignificance. I have all the ti [...]

Lessons from Roller Skating

A few weeks ago, I took my camp roller skating. We rented out the rink for two hours and skated to nice Jewish music thanks to a counselor’s MP3 player. Many of the younger boys had little to no experience on roller skates, presenting a formidable challenge to them. Some bravely and patiently made their way around and around, staying close to [...]

Opening Our Hearts

The recent events in Eretz Yisroel that have brought upon us so much pain and terror have also brought us tremendous unity. Achdus stems from caring for one another with love that supersedes any differences of opinion or outlook, and this is what happened so beautifully these last few weeks. How can we keep this achdus? How can we impro [...]

Where Can We Find Nechamah?

I really hope that this article is never printed and we are instead busy rejoicing together in Yerushalayim. At the very least, I daven that by the time this article is printed, the Israeli army feels it has accomplished everything it wanted, all missiles and tunnels have been destroyed, and the war is over. Until the arrival of Moshiach, non [...]

Have we lost the Zion along with the ...

Tisha B’av. The day chosen for generations as a day of tragedy and suffering for our holy nation. Chazal tell us that this is the day that the meraglim came back with their negative report about Eretz Yisroel which we were guilty of accepting and therefore became a day fixed on our calendar for mourning. It all began with a negative attitude [...]

Seeing Things In Perspective

Recently, we discussed the importance of not getting “hung up” on your child’s current behavior, not becoming negative or despondent over his lackadaisicalness or other shortcomings, but focusing on his good points and trying to create a closer relationship. The next question is: How do we do this? How do we remain positive when our child is [...]

Color War

I happen not to be the biggest fan of color war, especially for younger children, but in order to “legally” be considered a camp, I have to comply with regulations. I do not believe that color war should be brought into davening and learning, for although one can argue that mitoch sheloh lishmah ba lishmah, to me it belittles such sacred acti [...]

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