Rabbanit Shira Smiles

Purim: Fasting, petition and perspective

Why do we observe the fast on the day before Purim?, 3/20/2019, 10:45 AM

Legitimizing lies

While most of us are aware that it is forbidden to speak loshon horo (and almost everyone nevertheless sometimes falters in this area), many are unaware that it is forbidden to listen to loshon horo and accept it as fact., 1/31/2019, 7:25 AM

Vayechi: Core connection

Jacob's words to his eldesr Reuven seem to be more of a rebuke and a punishment than a blessing. What had Reuven done to warrant this rebuke?, 12/21/2018, 1:15 PM

Bedrock beginnings in Balak

, 6/29/2018, 2:57 PM

Visceral vision

While it is noble to try to squelch the call of the yetzer horo, the struggle is not winnable without tangible effort that takes the effort from the theoretical to the practical., 5/29/2018, 9:50 AM

Recognition and Rejoicing on Pesach

Should we not continually praise Hashem for the miracles He has done for our ancestors, since that good continues to affect our lives? Looking back at the Seder., 4/2/2018, 12:15 AM

Introspective inspiration: Parsha Para

Parshat Parah is meant not to rectify a particular sin so much as it is meant to rectify the idea of sin, the idea of throwing off the yoke of Heaven, writes Rav Dessler z”l., 3/9/2018, 6:37 AM

Vaera: Stupendous supplication

While Parshat Shemot sets the stage for the redemption and introduces us to all the players in the drama, the actual process of redemption begins in Parshat Va'eira., 1/12/2018, 8:02 AM

Lech :Lecha: The mysterious march

By not knowing his destination in advance, Avraham had to rely completely on Hashem every step of the way, a process that furthered his humility., 10/27/2017, 2:13 PM

Pondering the Sukkah

The two historical reasons for Sukkot are connected., 10/9/2017, 7:53 PM

Victorious vision:Yom Kippur

What are "prying eyes?" , 9/26/2017, 12:19 PM

Vayelech: Glorious gathering

Bringing hakhel into the Jewish home., 9/15/2017, 11:42 AM

Ki Tavo: Continuous compassion

We most clearly demonstrate our attachment to Hashem through following in His ways, through acts of chesed. , 9/8/2017, 1:15 PM

The five daughters:: Parshat Pinchas

They taught us to think about perpetuity., 7/14/2017, 6:12 AM

Pesach: Omnipresence and Oneness

Just as it was Hashem Who took us out of Egypt, so it is Hashem Who controls every aspect of our lives., 4/2/2017, 8:08 AM

Joseph and Hanukkah: Images of inspiration

Joseph was tempted, his father's image came to the rescue., 12/21/2016, 6:17 PM

After the Flood: The lion's lesson

Life is about serving others and dedicating oneself completely to this service., 11/6/2016, 12:23 AM

Emor (Diaspora): Omer Oneness

Every day, with each count, as we physically stand when we recite the bracha, we separate further from the lower elements of our being and rise upward., 5/19/2016, 10:09 AM

Returning to roots at the Pesach Seder

Rabbi Twersky: “God created man and dictates how man should behave. In idolatry, man creates his own gods and dictates to them to tell him what he wishes to hear.” This includes all the isms we use to excuse our improper behavior., 4/20/2016, 5:41 AM

Rejuvenation of relationships: Parshat Hachodesh

In the beginning Hashem created the world for everyone. But He charged us with teaching other nations that the world is not just a physical entity, but that it is infused with a spiritual soul. , 4/8/2016, 2:59 PM

For Parshat Para: Purifying passion

It is during this time, from Purim to Pesach, that Hashem comes down to purify us., 3/31/2016, 9:01 AM

The poor on Purim

There are all kinds of ways to gift the poor in addition to the halakhic definition on Purim., 3/24/2016, 6:16 AM

Remembrance: Symbolism and laws of Parshat Zachor

Recognition, respect and repentance., 3/18/2016, 10:19 AM

Parshat Shekalim: First of four

It is just a half shekel, but its symbolism is priceless., 3/4/2016, 12:01 AM

Tetzaveh: Revealing the revealed

That Hashem desires our participation in the relationship with Him is the greatest gift He can give us. , 2/18/2016, 9:57 AM

Broadened blessings

When Hashem does you a favor and you feel His presence and providence, you need to immediately let that praise and blessing burst forth spontaneously., 1/29/2016, 3:03 AM

Transcendental trio

How to fight Amalek., 1/25/2016, 7:36 AM

Parshat Bo: Loyal legions

It is not easy to be a soldier in any army., 1/14/2016, 8:16 AM

Wondrous watching: Miriam's role

Miriam stood by to watch her little brother in the Nile. Her reward was great., 12/31/2015, 7:15 AM

Reuven's return

A great deal can be learned from Reuven's part in the sale of Joseph., 12/4/2015, 3:07 PM

Vayishlach: Angelic Ambassador

Why were Jacob's ambassadors angels?, 11/26/2015, 8:45 AM

Architect of the Ark

Noach had to push himself beyond his natural endurance to continue building the Ark., 10/16/2015, 1:30 PM

The Three Weeks: Breaking Barriers

During the three weeks a person can achieve the same level of forgiveness as on Yom Kippur by working on his inner life. , 7/21/2015, 5:14 AM

Indulgence and Intellect

A mitzva we cannot understand, but from which many lessons can be drawn., 6/26/2015, 9:19 AM

Rehabilitation and Reframing

Discussing two difficult questions regarding the punishment for the sin of the spies., 6/12/2015, 9:39 AM

A Divinely Directed Shidduch

Was Eliezer's request from G-d improper?, 3/15/2015, 1:00 PM

Purim is an Everlasting Experience

Why is Purim is the only holiday the Talmud says will remain after the Redemption., 3/4/2015, 10:17 PM

Childhood in Our Souls

The Cherubim are symbols of things we can learn from childhood., 2/21/2015, 6:46 PM

Shemot: Distance and Denial

How can it be that they did not remember Joseph?, 1/8/2015, 2:18 PM

Vayechi: Supremacy and Supplication

Greatness does not have to mean arrogance., 1/1/2015, 10:47 AM

The Fifth Fire

Focusing on the fifth night of Hanukkah, the night when the light begins to overpower the darkness, and shed some of the Hanukkah light on the deeper significance of this day., 12/21/2014, 1:19 AM

Recognizing Greatness

What greatness really means and how to comprehend it., 11/20/2014, 9:07 AM

Noah as an Enigma

A study of Noah's level of faith - and ours., 10/23/2014, 7:30 AM

The Ushpizin: Exalted Entourage in our Sukkah

On what is the custom of inviting seven special guests to the Sukkah based? , 10/7/2014, 6:29 AM

Elul - Solidarity and Sensitivity

For the month of Teshuva, repentance., 9/4/2014, 5:09 PM

Tu B'Av (15th of Av): Coming Full Circle

The reasons for Tu B'Av., 8/10/2014, 7:12 PM

The Three Weeks: Reality of Redemption

Hashem wants us to yearn for the perfected world where pain and suffering will be unnecessary., 7/15/2014, 2:46 PM

Shlach: Gigantic Goodness

It all depends on how you see the world Hashem created., 6/13/2014, 1:02 PM

Accepting the Torah: Our Soul's Dialogue with Its Maker

Every year we reaccept the Torah as we did at Sinai even if we are not cognizant of our soul’s dialogue with its Maker, and every year we are credited anew with that acceptance., 5/31/2014, 5:37 AM

Jubilee Joy

Parshat Behar is completely occupied with the laws that pertain to yovel, the jubilee year., 5/8/2014, 8:35 AM

Transmitting the Tradition

Jewish education involves not only verbal instruction but also action to stop transgressions. , 5/2/2014, 8:36 AM

Personal Passover Prayers - at the Seder

The theme of prayer is integral to the story of our redemption. It has a place at the Seder table as well., 3/27/2014, 11:17 AM

Weekly Lecture: Cautionary Closeness

Why did Aaron hesitate to perform the service at the altar, and how did Moses convince him to move forward?, 3/20/2014, 10:44 AM

Why Name a Holiday for a Lottery?

The lottery symbolizes levels of faith. , 3/15/2014, 8:56 PM

Sweet and Sour

, 3/9/2014, 6:12 AM

Pikudei: Present Presence

The journey through the desert., 2/27/2014, 4:17 PM

An Ongoing Process

Too much? Is there ever too much dedication to Hashem?, 2/23/2014, 12:06 AM