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Tag: Rabbi Elazar Muskin

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  • Candle power

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    December 21, 2011 | 11:33 am

    Anyone familiar with religious practices can testify to the fact that candles play a crucial role in normative observance for many religions. It is not surprising to find an identical phenomenon in Judaism, the mother of so many contemporary beliefs.

    In our practice, candles are...

  • Under the Circumstances

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    January 15, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    The great violinist, Itzhak Perlman, suffered from polio as a child and ever since has been in a wheelchair. On one occasion, while performing a violin concerto, one of the strings broke. It occurred in the very first movement with an audible ping. Everyone waited to see what he...

  • 100 Lessons

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    December 11, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    While studying for rabbinic ordination at Yeshiva University in the late '70s, I was at the main study hall dedication where the late Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik spoke, honoring the great philanthropist, Joseph Gruss, who underwrote the project.

    On that occasion, Rabbi Soloveitchik...

  • The Smart Choice

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    September 18, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Recently, I came across a story about a man who made the "unforgivable" mistake of missing his wife's birthday. When the wife expressed her anger, the quick-witted husband responded, "Sweetheart, how do you expect me to remember your birthday when you never look any older?"

    If only...

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  • Muskin: Man on a Mission for Israel

    By Amy Klein

    May 29, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Back in November, when the war in Iraq was looming, Rabbi Elazar Muskin planned a Passover mission to Israel.

    "We didn't know when the war was going to begin and end, but we were determined to go to Israel," said Muskin, the leader of Young Israel of Century City (YICC), speaking...

  • What’s the Beef?

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    November 14, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    A number of years ago, during the O.J. Simpson trial, I had a conversation with a non-Jewish merchant who told me that right after Simpson was arrested, he met a good friend of Simpson's at church. At the conclusion of the service, the merchant happened to stand right behind this man...

  • Competing Voices

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    September 5, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    Last Rosh Hashana began with the most terrible noise. Terror, trauma, tragedy and evil triumphant filled the air. In addition, Israel and Jews worldwide were subjected to the vilest outburst of anti-Semitism since the 1940s.

    After experiencing such violent explosions, where can we...

  • Greatness

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    November 2, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    In most big cities in the United States, horse-and-buggy rides are offered as tourist attractions. It is therefore not shocking to find them lined up in Philadelphia, right near Constitution Hall and the Liberty Bell.

    What was surprising, however, was whom I found driving a horse and...

  • Charity Begins at Home

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    August 24, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Morris Leven-ger was a wealthy, pious Jew who lived in Atlan-ta, Georgia, and attended synagogue daily before going to work. One day the rabbi asked for his help with scholarships for youngsters whose families could not afford tuition for Jewish day schools.

    "Rabbi," he said, "I will...

  • An Attitude Problem

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    March 2, 2000 | 7:00 pm

    The personals sections in an Israeli newspaper contained the following ad:

    "Jewish man seeks partner who will attend shul with him, light Shabbat candles, celebrate holidays, build sukkah together, and go with him to brit milah and bar mitzvah celebrations. Religion not important."

    The...

  • Mr. Nobody

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    April 1, 1999 | 7:00 pm

    A senior colleague once told me that when he was a student in college, he took a creative writing course. One of his classmates could express himself beautifully but could not conceive any creative ideas on his own. He would always turn to my colleague for ideas and then proceed to...
  • All the Children

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    October 8, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    On the eve of Simchat Torah, many synagogues auction the three major honors of the day, with proceeds benefiting the synagogue or other Jewish institutions. Two honors, Hatan Torah (for the one called to the final reading in Deuteronomy) and Hatan Bereshit (for the one called to the...
  • Putting the Joy in Judaism

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    September 10, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    A few years ago, two of my colleagues took their families on vacation to Mammoth Lake. While there, the families spent Shabbat with one another, eating their meals together, singing zmirot (Shabbat songs) and enjoying each other's company.

    After lunch, the two rabbis, dressed in their...

  • Fatal Flaws

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    June 18, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    Students of drama are well acquainted withAristotle's view about the "fatal flaw." Protagonists of tragedy, nomatter how exalted, are brought down by a tragic flaw from within:bad judgment or bad character.

    Centuries before Aristotle developed his theory,the Torah illustrated it,...

  • Torah Portion

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    April 9, 1998 | 8:00 pm

    An unusual Buddhist-Jewish dialogue took place inSeptember 1989, when the Tibetan Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, metwith a group of six Jewish leaders. The Dalai Lama requested themeeting, not because of an academic interest but, rather, because ofa practical need. He wanted to...