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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...

The Jewish People and the Uniqueness of the Revelation at Sinai

Posted on 06/07/2016 by Rabbi Ben Hecht in Holidays
There are some ‘interesting’ fallacies concerning Judaism that seem to permeate through the understanding of the general population, both Jewish and non-Jewish. For example, Avraham Avinu is often...

Is Jewish Unity Even Possible?

Posted on 04/06/2016 by Rabbi Ben Hecht in Beliefs and Practices
When I was approached in regard to being a member of Jewish Values Online's Panel of Scholars, I was very excited about the idea. I have always felt that the false, monolithic presentation of modern...

Who's Responsible for Charity?

Posted on 03/10/2016 by Rabbi Ben Hecht in Beliefs and Practices
The term mitzvah is often translated as ‘good deed’ but much of the understanding of its meaning is actually lost in this very translation. A mitzvah is indeed a good deed but its essential root...

Within Torah, Disagreement Can Breed Love

Posted on 01/19/2016 by Rabbi Ben Hecht in Beliefs and Practices
This past week, as is often the custom, we made a siyum to mark the Shloshim, the thirty day anniversary, of the passing of my mother-in-law, Rebbetzin Gitel Rosensweig of Kitchener and Toronto. Various...

The Distinctiveness of Judaism Sdom: The Mask of Evil

Posted on 10/27/2015 by Rabbi Ben Hecht in Beliefs and Practices
NOTE: This post is a continuation of the discussion that began here and continued here and here. Imagine a perfect little neighbourhood with its picket fences and neatly arranged gardens; not a homeless person...
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