Archive | Samuel_Michael_Leo-Rabbi

Novel ideas needed for Simchat Torah

By Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel CHULA VISTA, California — Simchat Torah is a relatively new holiday. Nowhere is it mentioned in the Talmud; nor is it mentioned in Maimonides or the Tur Shulchan Aruch. But it is explicitly mentioned in the Zohar,[1] a work that dates back to about 1270—although it is a holiday that […]

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Posted in Jewish Religion, Samuel_Michael_Leo-Rabbi0 Comments

Hearing another means really listening

By Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel Once a judge was interviewing a woman regarding her pending divorce, and asked, “What are the grounds for your divorce?” She replied, “About four acres and a nice little home in the middle of the property with a stream running by.” “No,” he said, “I mean what is the foundation […]

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Posted in Jewish Religion, Samuel_Michael_Leo-Rabbi

What does Jewish tradition say about eclipses?

By Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel CHULA VISTA, California — This past week, some of my congregants asked me: What does Jewish tradition have to say about solar eclipses? Like many ancient peoples, the Jews did not develop a scientific understanding of eclipses until much later in its history. Before we examine what exactly Jewish tradition […]

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Posted in Jewish Religion, Samuel_Michael_Leo-Rabbi, Science, Medicine, Education

Was the whale created by Jonah’s subconscious mind?

Unusual Bible Interpretations: Jonah and Amos, by Rabbi Israel Drazin; Gefen Publishing House, 2016; ISBN-10: 9652298859; ISBN-13: 978-9652298850 By Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel   CHULA VISTA, California — I would like to begin this book review with a conversation I had with the publisher of San Diego Jewish World, Don Harrison. He asked me whether there […]

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Posted in Books & Poetry, Jewish Religion, Samuel_Michael_Leo-Rabbi

How does the Jewish calendar work?

The Jewish Calendar: History and Inner Workings by Dr. Fred Reiss; (c) 2017; ISBN 9781544-72382. By Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel CHULA VISTA, California — The study of the Jewish calendar is not one of the easiest topics to research.  It is an area that most rabbis have at best a general knowledge of the history. […]

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Posted in Books & Poetry, Jewish Religion, Samuel_Michael_Leo-Rabbi

Ask a Rabbi: Do we need ’10 men’ for a prayer minyan?

By Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel CHULA VISTA, California — Q:  Why does it take 10 men for a prayer minyan? A: The custom of the minyan is rabbinic in origin. When examining the minyan’s origins, it is vital we remember that this custom is not something that is etched in stone. However, as a custom, […]

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Posted in Jewish Religion, Samuel_Michael_Leo-Rabbi

Ivanka: A fitting successor to Queen Esther?

By Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel CHULA VISTA, California — Someone in my synagogue asked me an interesting question about Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner: What kind of Halakhic dispensation was given to them to drive on the Sabbath to the Inauguration of the President? The same question came up recently when the Trump entourage […]

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Posted in Jewish History, Jewish Religion, Middle East, Samuel_Michael_Leo-Rabbi, USA

Practical tips for studying the Talmud

Understanding the Talmud: A Systematic Guide to Talmudic Structure and Methodology by Rabbi Yitzchak Feigenbaum; Feldheim; 2nd edition (1988); ISBN By Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel CHULA VISTA, California — Some Aramaic scholarly friends of mine who speak and know Talmudic Aramaic often complain about the poor syntax of the Talmud. To most English readers, it almost […]

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Posted in Books & Poetry, Jewish Religion, Samuel_Michael_Leo-Rabbi

Warsaw’s secret diaries recalled at Yom HaShoah

By Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel LA JOLLA, California — This year’s San Diego Yom HaShoah presented one of the finest programs I have experienced in many years since arriving in San Diego almost eight years ago. The musical selections were excellent; the theme of the program was “Memory and Morality” and featured Roberta Grossman, who is […]

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Posted in International, Jewish History, Samuel_Michael_Leo-Rabbi, San Diego County

Beware of insults to other religions

By Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel CHULA VISTA, California — Translations of the Bible often reveal more about a translator’s world view than they do about the actual text. Once we decipher the context, a translation reveals something that is hidden to the reader. This is especially the case with respect to one of the more straightforward […]

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Posted in Jewish Religion, Samuel_Michael_Leo-Rabbi, USA

Disagreeing with rabbi who rewrote prayer for U.S.A.

By Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel CHULA VISTA, California — There is a good reason why politics and religion may be compared to the mixture of meat and milk. Milk by itself is a very nutritious food. Meat by itself is also a source of protein and vitamins, yet when we mix the two together, they […]

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Posted in Middle East, Samuel_Michael_Leo-Rabbi, USA

Missed religious opportunity at the Inaugural

By Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel CHULA VISTA, California —  This past Friday, the world witnessed a peaceful transition of power in our country. Indeed, it is the kind of event we ought to be celebrating regardless how we may feel about the new President being elected. In North Korea, Muslim theocracies, and in other totalitarian […]

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Posted in Samuel_Michael_Leo-Rabbi, USA

Thoughts on Chagall’s ‘White Crucifixion’

By Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel CHULA VISTA, California –This past Shabbat at Temple Beth Shalom we had a most remarkable discussion on the famous Russian painter, Marc Chagall, as we discussed his various paintings of Jesus’s crucifixion. A panel consisting of Dr. David Strom, Dr. Tzvi Sax, and myself explored the history of several of […]

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Posted in Jewish History, Music and Visual Arts, Samuel_Michael_Leo-Rabbi, Strom_David

‘Paid protesters’ report a hoax which had me fooled

By Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel CHULA VISTA, California — It was brought to my attention this morning that the story about paid protesters to which I alluded in a column, here linked, was indeed a fake story.  For this I apologize.  Paul Horner loves fooling people with fabricated articles. In fact, Horner’s con was so effective, […]

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Posted in Samuel_Michael_Leo-Rabbi, USA

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