Rabbi Lazer Gurkow

Noach: Seeds of Light

The moment growth begins., 10/30/2008, 12:41 PM


It is our natural state of equilibrium., 9/1/2008, 12:15 AM

Taking the Plunge

The soul is reluctant to jump, but God guides it., 8/4/2008, 5:53 PM

What's the Jewish Take on Assisted Suicide?

It's forbidden to help someone take their own life, 3/30/2008, 10:03 PM

In the Wake of the Yeshiva Massacre

They lived by the highest ideals known to mankind., 3/11/2008, 8:08 PM

<I>Tezaveh</I>: United We Study

Moses was charged with uniting the people., 2/15/2008, 1:26 AM

<I>Terumah</I>: Messages Within Every Hebrew Word

The Hebrew language is eminently precise., 2/6/2008, 4:08 PM

<I>Yitro</I>: Equality and Unity

What did Jethro hear? What did the nation see?, 1/24/2008, 11:56 PM

<i>Bo</I>: Plagues and Prophecies

When Pharaoh banned Moses from his palace., 1/9/2008, 5:55 PM

A 'Family' Christmas Party?

My extended family is not speaking to us., 12/17/2007, 12:06 PM

<i>Miketz</I>: Dreaming and Effecting Change

Even incidental details in Torah contain messages., 12/7/2007, 2:11 PM

<I>Vayeshev</I>: In Heaven and on Earth

The objective is to connect Heaven and Earth., 11/28/2007, 12:54 PM

<I>Vayishlach</I>: The Struggle - Inside and Out

Jacob struggled with an angel and prevailed., 11/21/2007, 2:15 PM

<I>Chayei Sarah</I>: Living a Full, Worthy Life

Abraham lived all the years of his life., 10/31/2007, 5:48 PM

<I>Vayera</I>: Prayers, Promises and Good Deeds

The when, who, what, how and why of the parsha., 10/24/2007, 3:20 PM

Sukkot - Inside and Out

Mundane activities can be labeled holy., 9/26/2007, 1:26 AM

<I>Shoftim</I>: Rabbinical Enactments

On what authority do rabbis legislate new laws?, 8/15/2007, 7:30 PM

<I>Matot-Masei</I>: Purposeful Living

There must be more to life than just this., 7/11/2007, 6:27 PM

<I>Chukat</I>: The Nature of a Leader

The natural is as astounding as the supernatural., 6/21/2007, 12:30 AM

<I>Korach</I>: Turning the Other Cheek

Moses never grew angry over Datan and Abiram., 6/14/2007, 7:08 PM

<I>Shelach</I>: Another Perspective

Human beings are wired to deny the inscrutable., 6/6/2007, 6:58 PM

<I>Naso</I>: A Healthy Environment

Go the extra mile., 5/25/2007, 12:45 AM

<I>Behar-Bechukotai</I>: Liberty and Misery

Is there room for self-expression in Judaism?, 5/10/2007, 12:14 AM

<I>Emor</I>: Meaningful Choices

Forbidden temptation is what makes us human., 5/3/2007, 10:13 PM

<I>Metzora</I>: Priest and Pariah

Ulterior motives in performing Torah commandments., 4/20/2007, 11:08 AM

Passover: A Contemporary Tale?

There are four stages of slavery - and of freedom., 4/1/2007, 12:45 PM

<i>Vayikra</i>: Are Animal Sacrifices Cruel?

Animal sacrifice is still condoned., 3/22/2007, 12:43 AM

<I>Ki Tisa</I>: The Anatomy of Fear

There is a good kind of fear, FDR notwithstanding., 3/8/2007, 12:16 PM

<I>Tetzaveh</I>: When Right Meets Left

The meaning of right and left, north and south., 2/28/2007, 4:47 PM

<i>Terumah</I>: In the Trenches

Can we also become sanctuaries for G-d? , 2/22/2007, 1:29 AM

<i>Mishpatim</I>: A Debt to G-d

The Divine message in prosaic civil law., 2/15/2007, 10:25 PM

<I>Yitro</I>: Piercing the Veil of Earth

It appears that the angels raised a valid question that Moses deflected brilliantly, but failed to answer. The angels argued that a mystical, sacred and divine Torah belongs in the heavenly abode. Its place is with angels, who would cherish her appropriately and revere her inherent value., 2/8/2007, 11:56 PM

<i>Beshalach</i>: A Momentary, Eternal Revelation

The Torah doesn't tell history for the sake of story telling. As readers of this column know, every Biblical episode holds relevance to our modern day. What is the modern significance of this ancient story?, 2/1/2007, 6:33 PM

Bo: Linking to the Divine

The Hebrew word for Egypt, Mitzrayim, is a double entendre. It means Egypt, but it also means confinement. Our world is a world of confinement. We cannot imagine, let alone comprehend what lies beyond us. It is truly beautiful, infinitely meaningful, eternally noble, and yet completely unknowable., 1/25/2007, 12:24 PM

<I>Vayechi</I>: Is Judaism Dogmatic?

Judaism encourages us to think for ourselves and to question everything. We are not meant to blindly accept, but to explore, analyze, debate and conclude. True or false?, 1/1/2007, 3:11 PM

<I>Vayigash</I>: Jewish Leaders

The Jewish nation lost its pride nearly two thousand years ago. I'm not talking about religious pride, I'm talking about national pride., 12/26/2006, 1:20 AM

<I>Vayetze</I>: The Bond of Love

That Jacob knew about <I>tefilin</I> does not surprise us, as our sages taught that our patriarchs and matriarchs studied the Torah and observed its commandments., 11/30/2006, 5:30 PM

<I>Toldot</I>: Clutching the Hairy Heel

Not to be outdone, the next baby wasted no time in arriving. Seemingly furious at having been outpaced, he followed closely behind, his little fist tightly wrapped around his brother's heel., 11/23/2006, 4:24 PM

<i>Chayei Sarah</I>: The Matchmaker

Did they love each other on their wedding day? No. They barely even knew each other. It was only later, after the wedding, when they moved in together, that they discovered their admiration for each other and finally, their love. Dispassionate? Unromantic? Maybe, but let's take a closer look at the <I>shidduch</I> system., 11/16/2006, 11:40 PM

<I>Lech Lecha</I>: What is Judaism?

The moment you say that you are Jewish, you have distinguished yourself from every non-Jew on the planet. By what right do we distinguish ourselves?, 10/31/2006, 12:56 PM

<i>Noach</I>: The Gravity of Piety

When the world is filled with unscrupulous men, what could one righteous person accomplish? Well, that would depend on what he set his mind to do. Abraham motivated and uplifted those around him. Noah.... Well, what did Noah do? Noah let them die. Actually, he didn't just let them die, he brought about their death., 10/25/2006, 4:27 PM

<I>Bereishit</I>: Introducing Temptation

If G-d didn't want them to eat of this fruit, why did he place it in their garden? Parents who don't want their children to eat candy don't place them in front of the candy dish., 10/19/2006, 6:49 PM

Simchat Torah: Circular Logic

As we approach Simchat Torah, the culmination of the High Holidays, we reflect on the holiday season that just passed. The High Holiday season began on the seventeenth of Tammuz, the day that marks the beginning of the destruction of the ancient Jewish Temple., 10/12/2006, 1:35 PM

Sukkot: Where is G-d?

I sit in the <I><I>sukkah</I></I> and breath in the sweet scent of pine, mingled with the rich aroma of bamboo, and I contemplate a time when less was actually enough.. It is then that I notice the gleaming candlesticks and fine china that adorn my simple table., 10/5/2006, 8:58 PM

Yom Kippur: Infinite Patience

Our daily quest for forgiveness implies that we sin every day. But do we deserve to be forgiven today if He forgave us yesterday and we sinned again today?, 9/27/2006, 2:29 PM

On Rosh HaShanah: Why We Are Here

The High Holiday liturgy marks Rosh Hashanah as the anniversary of creation, a good time to ponder the meaning of creation and life. Was there a purpose? Does this purpose endow our life with meaning? , 9/17/2006, 4:48 PM

<i>Shoftim</I>: Dying for Life

The priest has just bolstered the morale of the troops and the officers now set out to demoralize them by thinning their ranks?, 8/25/2006, 12:12 AM

<I>Re'eh</I>: Greater Than Life

The name Moses means "drawn" in Hebrew. Moses was thus called because he was drawn from the waters of the Nile as an infant. The mystics saw water as a symbol of divinity. That Moses was "drawn from water" indicates that his soul was from a transcendental, spiritual realm, far beyond our scope of comprehension., 8/17/2006, 1:44 AM

Tisha B'Av: Can We Still Be in Love?

The Diaspora has lasted nearly two thousand years; throughout, Jews have largely remained loyal to G-d and Judaism. What is the secret ingredient of this relationship?, 8/2/2006, 12:50 AM

<I>Devarim</I>: Torah in Chinese

Have you ever attended a service in a language you did not understand? I have, and I must tell you that it left me uninspired. Why did Moses teach the Torah in languages his students didn't understand?, 7/28/2006, 1:27 PM

<I>Matot-Masei</I>: Unity in Good Times and Bad

As our ancestors approached the promised land, two tribes requested permission to settle in the fertile, but foreign, lands outside of Israel. Rather than encourage them to join their brethren in the Holy Land, Moses quickly acquiesced, with only one stipulation. He asked that they join the Jewish army in times of war., 7/18/2006, 1:22 AM

<I>Balak</I>: The Driven Leaf

Does Mother Nature dictate to G-d or does G-d dictate to Mother Nature? Let's turn to this week's Torah portion to glean inspiration., 7/6/2006, 4:19 PM

<I>Korach</I>: The Environmentalist

Whichever way we turn, we are forced to choose. For humanity to thrive, the environment must pay a price. For the environment to thrive, humanity must pay a price. In its final form the question is, does Man belong to nature or does nature belong to Man?, 6/23/2006, 6:23 AM

<I>Shelach Lecha</I>: Loyal to Whom?

In the desert, our ancestors lived an idyllic life. They were not distracted by economic burdens or social entanglements. They had no worldly worries or mundane concerns. Their every need was bountifully provided by G-d., 6/15/2006, 11:43 AM

Shavuot: You Can Do It

The day that Jews commemorate receiving the Ten Commandments is the day to remember an empowering oath. The name of the holiday, Shavuot, is symbolic of this oath., 5/31/2006, 11:02 AM

<I>Bamidbar</I>: Celestial Formations

They traveled together, a single mass of two million people moving slowly through the sands. Each tribe precisely positioned, each group in perfect formation, their footsteps marked the desert., 5/26/2006, 1:14 AM

<I>Emor</I>: The Dancing Jew

With whom shall we dance the Hora and with whom The Inspired Dance? This is also the question we must ask ourselves as Jews. Which of these two do we dance with G-d?, 5/10/2006, 10:28 AM