By: Rabbi Moshe Don Kestenbaum

Hung Up

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Just this week a frustrated parent called me up about his teenage son. “Tell me what to do. My son is sleeping till one o’clock in the afternoon. I can’t stand watching him do nothing. What should I do? I should just sit there and say nothing to him and pretend everything is fine?” The short answer some would give to this particular fat [...]

Appreciating Process

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Many have termed our dor “the instant generation.” We are able, for better or for worse, to access things incredibly quickly. Food can be prepared for us in seconds. Information and communication are transferrable in a heartbeat. Unquestionably, this reality has raised our expectations. We need immediate gratification and we have lowered [...]

The Chutz Lamachaneh Syndrome

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I believe that we have allowed the cultivation of an anti-Torah hashkafah that hurts us and others profoundly. We will call it the “chutz lamachaneh” syndrome. We have created – each one on his respective level – a picture of who can be considered part of our club, our machaneh. Those who dress, act and look acceptable according t [...]

Emotional Health and Yiddishkeit

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There has been much written about the main cause of children becoming “at-risk.” There are those who point to a lack of marital harmony, there are those who point to weak parenting and schooling, there are those who attribute it to technology and temptation, and there are those who say that there is no rhyme or reason for this challenge. I be [...]

Are We Too Old For Yeshiva?

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We are approaching the special Yom Tov of Shavuos. Rabbi Doniel Kalish, menahel of our mesivta, pointed out that Shavuos is so much shorter than the other regalim of Pesach and Sukkos. Wouldn’t it be appropriate to extend the celebration of Matan Torah fora few more days?   Rabbi Kalish explained that perhaps Shavuos is shorter because w [...]

Two People I Know

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I would like to share with you the initiatives of two special people I am fortunate to know. Both are modest and likely don’t want me to mention them by name. Both have no clue I am writing this article and will undoubtedly forgive me, because although that’s not my main objective, I am giving their projects exposure. Both are people we can l [...]

When You Have Nothing To Say

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My wonderful stepfather is kind enough to ask me every so often, “How do you keep on coming up with new ideas each week?” I will share with you what I tell him. Very often, the deadline is approaching and I am truly at a loss for an article. I daven for siyata diShmaya and something eventually comes to mind. I do acknowledge, however, that th [...]

Notes From My Simcha

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Bechasdei Hashem, my wife and I recently celebrated the bar mitzvah of our dear bechor, Shmuel Yehuda. I apologize to those reading this article to whom I should have sent an invitation and did not. With all things in life, one cannot fully understand their dynamics until one has actually experienced them. I would like to share some insight a [...]

To Be Holy

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In this past week’s parsha, we learned of the obligation to be kadosh, holy: “Kedoshim tihiyu.” Rashi explains that this refers to separating oneself from forbidden relationships and immorality. The Ramban, on the other hand, learns that this is a more expansive obligation, one that commands us not to overly indulge in the pleasures of this w [...]

A New Pesach Chumrah

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“You drink Coke on Pesach? I am surprised. We only drink Mayim Chayim.” “I can’t believe you actually buy potato chips. We are makpid to make our own.” “Be careful! Don’t put the fork near the radiator. It’s not covered.” Pesach is a time when individuals and families take upon themselves various chumros. It is beautiful to behold how scrupul [...]

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