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Rabbanit Shira Smiles

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

The Significance of Sabbath

We can, in fact, guard and keep (shamor) the Shabbos, but how can we “make” (laasot) the Shabbos? , 2/12/2014, 10:43 PM

Sensitivity Training

The widow and orphan are specified, but the Torah’s intention is to sensitize us to all people and uses the most vulnerable as examples., 1/24/2014, 8:21 AM

Vaera: Hail to the Hail

A close look at the plague of hail, using a variety of commentators and finding lessons on fear and love., 12/26/2013, 10:55 AM

Hanukkah, Shabbat and Shalom Bayit

The Shabbat (Sabbath) candles facilitate Shalom Bayit, peace in the home. That leads to halakhic decisions on priorities., 12/2/2013, 10:37 AM

Majestic Maidservant

Understanding the greatness of the founding mothers of the Jewish People - all of them., 11/8/2013, 9:19 AM

Trail Travails

, 10/17/2013, 9:42 AM

Rashi vs. Ramban: Presence

Whose righteousness is the Biblical verse praising in this week's parsha?, 10/11/2013, 7:38 AM

Reaching for the Stars

The sun's rays must be able to penetrate the schach. We must achieve a balance between the spiritual and the practical. , 9/18/2013, 1:50 PM

Smooth Sailing into the New Year

We are the captains of the boats that navigate the sail through our lives., 8/28/2013, 6:08 AM

Destructive Dvisiveness: The 3 Weeks

Our missioni s constructive unity., 7/4/2013, 11:29 PM

Levite Leverage

The reasons for the various elements of preparing the Levites for their tasks., 5/24/2013, 7:02 AM

Focusing Forward to Pesach and Beyond

It is hard work cleaning for Pesach, but we can use it to improve ourselves., 3/7/2013, 2:19 PM

The Top of the Mountain

If we had the perspective from the top of the rock, we would recognize in each of our challenges a vehicle for greater growth., 2/28/2013, 11:48 PM

Liability in Parshat MIshpatim: A Review of Commentaries

The laws of liability in this week's portion have levels of meaning., 2/7/2013, 5:10 PM

Shmot: The Redeemer's Reluctance

Why did Moshe protest so much?, 1/3/2013, 8:31 AM

Just Dreidels?

Hanukkah in Judaism, andthe menorah and the dreidel that are its symbols, help us appreciate the depth of Torah and the beauty of a Torah life., 12/14/2012, 7:43 AM

Curious Cloak

Yosef, in learning his father’s teaching, is accepting the blessing/responsibility of the spiritual Abrahamic mission. In reciprocation, Yaakov gave Yosef a coat of physical materials., 12/7/2012, 3:10 PM

The Sinew's Significance

The prohibition that stems from Jacob's fight with the angel has many meanings., 11/30/2012, 12:09 AM