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Rabbanit Shira Smiles

Sarah and Hagar: Lapse in Sensitivity?

God heard Hagar’s cries and blessed her with a son who would avenge the hurt she felt, and to this day we, the descendents of Avraham and Sarah, are still suffering from this lapse in sensitivity., 10/25/2012, 8:54 AM

The Dove's Directive: Parshat Noach

It may be sweeter to believe that we are in control, but the “bitter” - truly sweet - truth is that everything is in Hashem’s hands., 10/19/2012, 9:26 AM

Repentance, Restraint and Relationship

Dveikus, the be all and end all of human existence., 9/13/2012, 6:43 PM

Balak: The Scheming Practices of Amalek

They dissembled, and that is what showed their true selves., 7/5/2012, 5:00 PM

Learning from Lavan: The Seder

Lavan tried to uproot everything that Yaakov and his family were meant to represent and achieve, but he did it clandestinely., 4/4/2012, 5:23 PM

Purim: Accentuating the Acceptance

The decree of death which had been suspended at Sinai but was reinstituted with the sin of the golden calf will again be suspended for good in future time, when the crowns will again be conferred on Bnei Yisroel., 3/6/2012, 11:48 AM

Pressed to Perfection: Tetzave/Zachor

How to understand the need for the special process for the Temple's olive oil in the context of the reading of Parshat Zachor., 3/1/2012, 7:19 AM

World of the Wicked: Bo

, 1/26/2012, 12:52 PM

Fantastic Frogs

The frogs croaked an important message toward the end of our enslavement in Egypt, a message that is equally valid today - read it below., 1/19/2012, 12:20 PM

Vayechi: Living Life

He taught us that there is a big picture to life, even if he could not show us that picture., 1/4/2012, 1:10 AM

Yoseph and Yavan: Egypt and Greece

Oil always remains separate; it always retains its essence. The crux of the war with the Greeks was much more than political. The Greeks wanted us to lose our essence and become intermingled with them. , 12/20/2011, 10:45 AM

Soul Searching in Vayeshev

Yosef seeking his brothers, meeting the angel, the selling and slavery was divinely ordained, with deeper levels of meaning. But if so, If everything was already Divinely ordained, how can the twelve tribes be faulted for their actions?, 12/15/2011, 8:34 AM

Careful Consideration in Vayetze

We can learn from the dialogue between Yaakov and Rachel how onr should interact with others who are suffering., 11/30/2011, 11:14 AM

Tumultuous Trembling: Toldot

How much of the time we devote to various things in our lives is the result of erroneous assumptions? Yitzchak trembled for us all., 11/24/2011, 6:37 PM

Vayeira: Mockery Manifested

We must be careful of our speech lest we speak mockingly and disparagingly of others, especially in front of our children. , 11/9/2011, 5:09 PM

The End of the Holiday Season

There is a central theme that runs through the holidays and connects them to each other. , 10/19/2011, 12:43 PM

Should Man Have Been Created?

We must examine and search our deeds and atone for the ones that merit it., 10/6/2011, 11:15 PM

Symbiotic Song: Nitsavim

Singing the personal Torah song and internalizing it protects us, for who would come forth to accuse the sons of the King of wrongdoing. , 9/22/2011, 10:39 AM

Serving G-d With Joy

, 9/15/2011, 1:41 AM

Odyssey of Obliviousness: The Three Weeks

Any generation in which the Beit Hamikdosh was not rebuilt it is as if the Beit Hamikdosh was actually destroyed in that generation..., 7/28/2011, 8:13 PM

Mattot: The Final Act

War against the Midianites can be seen as Moshe’s final command from Hashem or from the perspective of Bnei Yisroel’s battle, 7/22/2011, 2:10 AM

Pinchas: Point of Perpetuity

We must never become depressed when we fall, but use the opportunity to repair our actions and thoughts so they are again in sync with our spiritual core., 7/14/2011, 2:30 PM

Balak: Intended Intentions

Action itself, irrespective of the thought process, creates a spiritual reality and energy that reverberates through the ages. This is true in other spheres as well., 7/7/2011, 8:35 AM

Chukat: Renunciating Reason

How the red heifer in this week's Torah reading is connected to Adam., 6/30/2011, 7:27 AM

Shavuot: Regenerate and Rejoice

The greenery we place around our homes and synagogues for Shavuot has a special and beautiful significance., 6/7/2011, 12:41 AM

Freedom from Self to Self

If this is the time of our freedom, how come we still find ourselves in galut, in the long and protracted exile of Edom, Rome?, 3/31/2011, 6:59 PM

Zachor: Eradicating Amalek

L’iluy nishmot bnei mishpachat Fogel shenishchitu al Kiddush Hashem, HY”D. In memory of the Fogel family, who sanctified G-d's name., 3/17/2011, 10:38 AM

Two Adars-Achieving Alignment

Why does Judaism incorporate the solar and lunar years in its calendar?, 3/10/2011, 11:58 AM

Tetsave: Secret of the Spice

Parshat Tetzaveh concludes with instructions for building the golden altar upon which Aharon will raise up the incense offering to Hashem. Why at the end?, 2/10/2011, 9:00 PM

Brick: Burden and Buoyancy

Bricks were not simply straw and clay, but had inestimable value, for they were the jewels embedded into the soul of every Jew., 1/26/2011, 3:47 PM

Yitro: Altar Accentuation

Building an altar to worship Hashem is a means of attempting to perpetuate the Sinai experience, to maintain the intimate relationship with Hakodosh Boruch Hu, but how do the specific instructions aid in achieving this goal?, 1/21/2011, 10:45 AM

Bo: Midnight Mindfulness

Precisely at midnight Hashem Himself, in all His glory and omnipotence, descended and smote the Egyptian firstborn while all the children of Israel, including Moshe and Aaron, were ensconced in their homes eating the Pascal lamb. , 1/8/2011, 11:16 PM

Chanukah/Miketz: Introspection

The relationship between the story of Joseph in Miketz and the story of Chanukah is explored. , 12/5/2010, 8:38 AM

The Matriarch Rachel's Grave

This week, 11 Cheshvan, is the date on which our Matriarch Rachel died. Thousands pray at her grave on the road near Bethlehem every year., 10/16/2010, 9:17 PM

Slippery Slope-Noach

, 10/6/2010, 11:54 PM

Sukkot: Cycle of Teshuvah

, 9/21/2010, 9:59 PM

Tisha B"Av Thought- from Naaleh

The Baalei Mussar say that on Tisha B’av one can reach a certain clarity of vision similar to Yom Kippur, 7/20/2010, 5:29 PM

Matos: The Science of Speech

, 7/8/2010, 1:39 PM

Pinchas: Elevating Offerings

, 7/1/2010, 6:09 AM

Passover Wine and Wheat

Rabbi Nachman of Bretzlav: the difference between matza and bread is the air that bread contains, making it swell. Matza represents humility. Wine can cloud discernment between right and wrong. Havdalah and the Seder cups correct this., 3/17/2010, 6:28 AM

Shemot: Devoted Daughter Batya

The lessons Pharaoh's daughter taught Moses., 1/8/2010, 10:18 AM

Vayechi: Evil Eye

At the core of the blessing Joseph received., 1/1/2010, 1:01 AM

Vayigash: Dual Flames

Joseph and Judah are intertwined like twin wicks., 12/23/2009, 11:13 PM

Affectionate Light of Chanukah

The miracle of the oil was above and beyond., 12/10/2009, 11:54 PM

Vayishlach: Kever Rachel

How did Rachel Imenu get to fill the role she has?, 12/3/2009, 11:52 PM

Vayetze: Secretive Signs

HaShem makes different calculations., 11/27/2009, 12:41 AM

Toldot: A Partnership

Yaakov and Esau may be walking the same path., 11/19/2009, 12:03 AM

Chayei Sarah: Mindful of Midot

Profound wisdom in choosing a spouse., 11/11/2009, 11:14 PM

Lech Lecha: Benefits and Rewards

The challenge in being promised rewards., 10/29/2009, 9:40 AM

Elul: Recognize the Relationship

Are we being hypocritical at this time of year?, 9/14/2009, 11:39 PM

The Three Weeks: Valuable Vision

It all depends on your perspective., 7/23/2009, 11:30 PM

Juggling Jealousy

Is it good to or bad to be jealous? It depends., 6/24/2009, 12:17 PM

Comprehending the Complaints

That which is earned through hard work is valued., 6/12/2009, 1:59 AM

Bamidbar: Bearing the Load

An opening for God's help., 5/21/2009, 12:19 PM

Sefirat HaOmer: Striking Balance

Every Jew has to count because every Jew counts., 5/10/2009, 1:56 PM

Tazria-Metzora: Treasure Within

Depending on how you look at it...., 4/24/2009, 1:51 PM

The Moment of Decision

We are asked to internalize the lesson of the sun., 4/5/2009, 10:48 AM