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Parshas Acherei Mot (RWW Email Series)

The Top 15 Reasons to Study Torah

From the RWW Email Series (4-26-18)

Omer - Jewish Leadership - Try Again!

By Rabbi Shaul Rosenblatt, inspired by Rav Noach Weinberg

From the RWW Email Series (4-3-18)

The Top 15 Reasons to Study Torah

From the RWW Email Series (4-26-18)

Life is always busy! It's imperative though to do everything you can to carve out the time to study Torah. I was on the phone this week and someone said to me "give me 10 reasons why to study Torah". I said if I give you 15 will you be there Monday nights? He said yes! I said here you are 15 of them and I can on and say more - see you Monday night!

1. Increase self awareness

2. Wisdom for living every day life

3. Clarity as to purpose of your life and the world

4. To build and refine your character

5. Be spiritual

6. Increase well being

7. Help you address emotional and psychological issues

8. To know God's opinion about life/to know God

9. To have a relationship with Hashem

10. To find truth

11. Sharpen your goals, dreams and vision (to attract more and get married)

12. Build your intellect, memory and brain to steer your heart in the right way

13. Maximize the connection, harmony and peace of your interpersonal relationships

14. Refine and build your analytical skills

15. You totally feel great afterwards and that it was worthwhile.

With Love- Rabbi Mike Stern


Omer - Jewish Leadership - Try Again!

By Rabbi Shaul Rosenblatt, inspired by Rav Noach Weinberg

From the RWW Email Series (4-4-18)

The seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot are known as the 'Omer' period. The Jewish people engage in a period of mild national mourning for the twenty four thousand students of Rabbi Akiva who died of a plague during these weeks around two thousand years ago. Our sages say that they died because they did not treat each other with enough respect. It has always amazed me that Rabbi Akiva, considered one of the greatest leaders and educators in Jewish history, was unable to guide his students to treat each other with respect. Of course, there is always the perspective that God judged Rabbi Akiva's students by higher standards, given who their teacher was. And, therefore, more was expected of them. But this answer is a little too simplistic to satisfy me. Once Rabbi Akiva's students died, however, he did not give up. They had been the cream of the crop in terms of the Torah scholars of the time and the Jewish Nation was in spiritual crisis. Rabbi Akiva realized he must start again and find a way to rebuild what had been lost. What's interesting is how differently he went about it second time around. And how much more successful he was. At over a hundred years old, he travelled around Israel and recruited five young students. And he invested all his time and his energy into them. And this time he succeeded. These five were Rabbi Meir, Rabbi Yehuda, Rabbi Shimon, Rabbi Elazar and Rabbi Yossi. Any serious student of Torah knows that these men were the ones who established the Mishna and the Zohar, the solid foundations on which Jewish tradition has rested for two thousand years. The message for me, as an educator, is clear. Invest in quality. Invest in leaders and they will take care of the rest. To provide mentorship for twenty-four thousand people is beyond even a Rabbi Akiva. If you have a message for the masses, you reach them through influencing the individuals who will influence others - not by doing the whole job yourself. The Jewish People has always believed in this principle of quality over quantity. We have been a relatively small nation throughout our history. And yet, I believe, the impact we have had on humanity is greater than that of any other nation. Yes, change ultimately needs to filter out to the masses. But change does not happen, in its most effective way, by directly influencing the masses. It happens through a strong, powerful and clear narrative that is shared by a close-knit community who ultimately, through commitment and perseverance, effect those around them, creating a domino effect for change. If its roots are strong, a tree will effortlessly develop and thrive. Rabbi Akiva's twenty-four thousand 'sub-standard' students were not able to change the Jewish world in the way that his five quality students were. It is individuals, not masses that change our world and the depth of their understanding and commitment is what makes the difference.

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