Bookshelf breakdown

bookshelvesI’ve finally decided to put up some bookshelves in my living room. It’s not been an easy decision. We may not judge a book by a cover, but we certainly judge a reader by their books. Look around you on any bus or train. We would never sit there holding up a sign saying “Lost and lonely. Believes in aliens” or “Frustrated male. Works out in gym”, but that’s exactly what we’re doing when we’re seen reading “Scientology and You” or “Andy McNab’s Top Ten Ways to Really Hurt a Man”. (more…)

Rabbi David Schneider’s Weekly Words of Wisdom 12: Shemini

shemini(Leviticus 9 – 11)

The time: First day of Nissan, one year to the day after the Exodus.

The place: Sinai.

As the Children of Israel stand full of awe before Moses, who’s about to share with them the laws of kashrus (what you can and can’t eat), Nadab and Abihu, two sons of Aaron, offer up something unprescribed on the altar of the L-rd and are struck dead by a fire from on high.

The time: the present, 3287 years later.

The place: North London.

As the readers of the Jewish Chronicle stand full of awe before another of Rabbi Schneider’s inspirational dissections of the week’s parsha, a certain Rabbi F sends round an abusive email claiming that I’m mentally unstable and that in the past few months I’ve been served four injunctions and been cautioned by the police on no less than five occasions.

It’s not hard to see the similarities between these two events. Plus ca change, as we say in Yiddish. (more…)

Rabbi David Schneider’s Weekly Words of Wisdom 13: Tazria

It's a massive sin to say bad things about me

(Leviticus 12-13)

You don’t have to be Joseph from the Bible or Andrew Lloyd Webber to know that dreams can be really weird. The other night, I dreamt I had this huge lulav, and Rabbi F and the honorary officers of the synagogue and the editor of the Jewish Chronicle had these tiny lulavs and my wife’s lover the builder who’s a woman had no lulav at all, just a tiny esrog, and I went round knocking everyone over with my huge, massive lulav, and my wife kneeled down before my lulav and worshipped it. (more…)

Rabbi David Schneider’s Weekly Words of Wisdom 14: Acharei Mos

achareimot042(Leviticus 16-18)

First of all, I must apologise for last week’s article. I personally don’t feel I need to, but our glorious comrade leader Herr Editor feels I “must”. So I’m very sorry if some of the things I wrote may have been interpreted as offensive and distasteful by certain empty-headed, easily offended, dimwitted morons who like to read the JC while eating and found that reading about a harmless, hideous, leprous-like skin disease which is making my life a living gehenem put them off some extortionately expensive pastry that’s probably full of seafood and sweetened with concentrated pig.

There. A full and frank apology. Happy now?

On then to this week’s parsha, (more…)

Rabbi David Schneider’s Weekly Words of Wisdom 15: Kedoshim

moses_prayer419x600

(Leviticus 19-20)

When Hillel was asked to sum up the Torah whilst standing on one foot, he famously replied: “That’s not a good idea. I’ve got a veruka”.

I’m joking, of course. (Top tip for budding rabbis: always start a sermon with a joke, even if you risk implying that hygiene standards in mikvahs of the Talmudic period were dangerously low). (more…)

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