Author Archives: Eliyahu Safran

Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran is an educator, lecturer and author. He has devoted many years in the rabbinate, Jewish education, and as vice president of marketing and communications at OU Kosher. He resides in New York, while enjoying his long stays in Jerusalem. His highly acclaimed "Something Old, Something New - Pearls from the Torah" has been published by KTAV, July 2018.

The Essential Vulnerability of the Stranger

by R. Eliyahu Safran In all the years I’ve wrestled with Torah text, few things have occupied me as much as my desire to understand how being a stranger is essential to who we are, as Jews and as human beings.  We “sojourn here but for the blink of an eye.”   My exploration was rooted primarily in intellect, in the ...

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It Can’t Happen Here, Can It?

by R. Eliyahu Safran Could it really happen here?  Could “it” – the kind of antisemitism that morphs and mutates into violent hate and rage – really happen here, in America?  We hear too many individuals – celebrities, “influencers”, politicians, media personalities – speaking the “dog whistle” messages out loud.  We hear ancient, hateful tropes “normalized”.  We hear in criticism ...

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It’s Only Skin Deep

by R. Eliyahu Safran It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness -Leo Tolstoy Last week, I was walking along 13th Avenue in Boro Park lost in my thoughts when I glanced down to see that an elderly Yid had wheeled his wheelchair close to me.  He smiled at me with a radiant smile.   “Ihr ...

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The Sacred in the Details

by R. Eliyahu Safran The Sacred in the Details: No Shortcuts in Service to God Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had split enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. -Bereshit ...

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What Goes Up…

by R. Eliyahu Safran We were created perfect and placed in a perfect paradise.  What could go wrong?   Apparently, “perfection” does not mean without conflict.  Conflict is embedded in our natures.  We are filled with the breath and spirit of God even as we share the basest instincts of the beasts of the field.  We are loving and caring even ...

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What We Remember, What We Forget

by R. Eliyahu Safran There is a movie in which the main character suffers from severe short-term memory loss.  To cope, he develops a system that allows him to negotiate the world.  One aspect of his system is to write copious notes of everything that happens, the most important of which he tattoos on his body, so it become permanent.  ...

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The Indignities and Insults We Visit Upon One Another

by R. Eliyahu Safran Reflections Based on Teachings of Rav Bezalel Ze’ev Shafran Often, it seems that all we do is engage in debasement and insult, both overt and subtle.  There are sociologists and psychologists who suggest that our constant conflict with one another is “hardwired” into our natures and social structure.  Our insulting behavior, according to these professionals, is ...

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Jealousy’s a Hungry Heart

by R. Eliyahu Safran Wanting is not inherently wrong; wanting to love, wanting to be loved, wanting comfort, a nice house, fine clothes.  It’s only when wanting is driven by jealousy that it becomes a fault.  Too often, we want things not because they enrich our lives or reflect well on ourselves and our community but because someone else has ...

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