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.

Minyan. Community. Peer Group.

by R. Eliyahu Safran Peer group pressure has gotten a bad rap.  Inevitably, when we hear “peer group pressure” we picture teens and young adults being drawn into drug use, promiscuity and all manner of risky behavior; we imagine young professionals being lured into living above their means.  Too often, we overlook that peer group pressure can also be a ...

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Loving Your Neighbor While Standing on One Foot

by R. Eliyahu Safran We know of the man who comes to both Shamai and Hillel, proclaiming his willingness to convert if he could be taught the “whole of Judaism” while standing on one foot. Shamai snapped at the man and sent him away but Hillel said, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor.  The rest ...

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When in Rome…? Israel and Morality

by R. Eliyahu Safran We are taught by tradition to observe “minhag hamakom”, the custom of the “house”.  When in someone’s territory, we are to respect and abide by his rules and traditions.  Our rabbis were clear that this is the best path for coexisting peacefully with our fellows.  Writ large, it is this tradition that has Jews in America ...

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My Sin is Before Me Always

by R. Eliyahu Safran We live at a time when even the most “humble” amongst us seems to have a blog, or a Twitter account, or a website or, or, or… or some other way or means for amplifying his voice, perspectives, “teachings”, etc.  As you can imagine, if the humble is so quick to trumpet his gifts then the ...

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Who Stands Behind the Mask: What We Hide; What We Reveal

by R. Eliyahu Safran Rava said, It is one’s duty levasumei, to make oneself fragrant [with wine] on Purim until one cannot tell the difference between ‘arur Haman’ (cursed be Haman) and ‘barukh Mordekhai’ (blessed be Mordecai)  – Babylonian Talmud, Megillah 7b Over the centuries, the “duty” to make oneself “fragrant” (drunk) on Purim has represented the great example of ...

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Revelation Takes Work

by R. Eliyahu Safran Revelation Takes Work: Holiness is A Step by Step Engagement Imagine a Hollywood director envisioning the moment when Shemot closes.  Here was a people who, having been redeemed from slavery had come into the desert to receive the magnificent revelation of God’s Commandments!  What a glorious moment!  Can you picture how it would be portrayed in film?  ...

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Saying Goodbye: The Challenge of an Honest Eulogy

by R. Eliyahu Safran If you have ever come away from a funeral service and thought to yourself, “Who was the rabbi talking about?” you might have some appreciation of the challenge facing a rabbi when he is called upon to deliver a eulogy.  How is one to recall the departed to his or her family, friends, congregation in a ...

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Brokenness is the Helpmate of Wholeness

by R. Eliyahu Safran The wound is the place where the Light enters you. ― Rumi It happened as he drew near the camp and saw the Calf and the dancing, that Moshe’s anger flared up.  He threw down the Tablets from his hands and shattered them at the foot of the mountain. (Shemot 32:19)  The thoughts Moshe must have thought ...

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All In A Name

by R. Eliyahu Safran As we know from our many Torah explorations, nothing is written in Torah, but that God intends it.  Each paragraph.  Each pasuk.  Each letter.  What is written is instructive.  And what is excluded is also telling.  It is in this context that we question the significance and meaning of the curious “omission” in parashat Tetzaveh.   From ...

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