Picture of Rabbi Elazar Muskin

Rabbi Elazar Muskin

Humbling Wisdom

Propelled by curiosity, I asked, \”By the way are you Jewish?\”

\”Not at all,\” he answered. \”I was born Presbyterian, and now I am a Baptist. Maybe one day I will become Jewish. What do you think of that?\”

Deciding it would be best not to answer, I acted Jewish and responded with a totally different question: \”How do you know so much about Judaism and Chanukah?\”

With total seriousness he said, \”You can\’t claim to be a religious Christian without knowing Judaism. All religious wisdom starts with Judaism.\”


We love to play Jewish Geography. Whenever we meet a fellow Jew for the first time, we try to find mutual people or places we might have in common.

Pray at Your Own Risk

Prayer can be a risky endeavor when it\’s not done right. In our Torah reading for this week we encounter the ultimate Jewish blessing in the words of the Birkat Kohanim, the priestly blessing.

Good and Late

Some things never change. We all know the storyline. Moses was expected back after 40 days in heaven where he was receiving the Torah. But he was late coming back on the 40th day: \”And the people saw that Moses tarried [boshesh], in coming down from the mountain\” (Exodus 32:1).

Over a Cliff

I once heard a colleague recount how, after lecturing about God, a man came up and told him that he was impressed with his lecture. He explained that although he wasn\’t personally observant and didn\’t attend synagogue, he had a close relationship with the Almighty.

Hearing Is Believing

Summer photos are most revealing. Our family\’s photos almost always reveal my absence for the simple reason that I am usually the designated family photographer.

Uncircumcised Blessings

While on a summer vacation on the East Coast, my family and I visited some spectacular sights in northwestern North Carolina, especially near Ashville, N.C. On our way to Ashville, we stopped and asked directions from a fine gentleman who turned out to be a Methodist minister.

After the Ashes

Natan Sharansky\’s attitude is as old as the Bible. This week\’s Torah portion began with a description of the olah, the obligatory burnt offering that was brought twice a day — morning and afternoon — to the Holy Temple.

Listen Well

When the woman at the ice rink said to me, \”Remember, listen well for when you do you really can achieve anything,\” she was, in effect, summarizing the message of Parshat Mishpatim: Listen to the words of Torah and you can achieve a just society.

Silence Is Golden

A saleswoman, driving home in northern Arizona, sees a Navajo woman hitchhiking, stops the car and invites the Navajo woman to join her.


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