Rabbanit Shira Smiles

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

Rosh Hashana: Recognizing Reality

Why isn't Yom Kippur before Rosh Hashana?, 9/4/2013, 3:29 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

Coming Close to Completeness

, 11/8/2012, 9:30 AM

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