Rabbi David Schneider’s Weekly Words of Wisdom 21: Korach

Korach land swallows(Numbers 16-18)

I’m often asked what is the greatest mitzvah a man can perform? Or at least I was asked it once by someone who donated a rubbish piece of “art” to the shul hall and was obviously fishing for a compliment. Is it pikuach nefesh, the saving of a life, for which even the laws of the Sabbath can be suspended? – Possibly. Or what about the mitzvah between man and man that was deemed so important it was placed with the commandments between man and G-d: kibud ov voeim – honour thy father and thy mother? Unlikely, especially if your mother used to make you eat every meal alone in the cellar whilst she checked the living room carpet for miniaturised aliens and Soviet spies. (more…)

Rabbi David Schneider’s Weekly Words of Wisdom 22: Chukas

(Numbers 19:1 – 22:1)

chukasFirst of all, “thanks” to all those who wrote in about my column last week, pointing out that I didn’t even mention the parsha and accusing me of being, chas vecholilah, Heaven forbid, self-indulgent. Anyone who’s read my column knows there’s nothing I deplore more than the “me me me” self-indulgence you find when you look away from my Words of Wisdom and read other stuff. People just aren’t interested in the dull minutiae of a writer’s life, as I’m always telling Rabbi F, my wife, her lover the woman who’s a builder, the honorary officers, the local shopkeepers and, most recently, the fresh-faced, pretty young schoolgirls emerging from the local girls’ school, which has got me into a certain amount of unmerited trouble. But I would never mention that in my column. (more…)

Orlando without the kids


I’ve done something bad. What sort of dad would travel to Orlando, home of Disney World and Universal Studios, without his children?

I knew they’d be upset. But then I did get them a Nintendo Wii at Christmas, plus I took them to the zoo not two weeks back. So, in a way, they owed me. (more…)

Do The Cancun


The thing is, I’m a nervous traveller. It’s not the flying; it’s everything else. I always leave heaps of time to get to the airport before check-in, usually about a month, and I always overpack – I need two suitcases and a deluxe carry-all with trolley option just to get the morning paper. I exaggerate of course, but, as my family will vouch, only slightly.

Still, even I couldn’t say no to a trip to Mexico to cover the celebrity opening of a luxury hotel to be attended by, among others, Cindy Crawford. (more…)

My dad’s death

My Dad at his 70th birthday party

My Dad at his 70th birthday party

My dad died last week. You could say it was sort of expected. He was in a nursing home, confined to his bed by a series of strokes, the last of which had left him unable to speak; but that doesn’t, of course, make it any less shocking. A lot of what’s happened since I might have predicted – the sadness, the guilt, the support of my friends. But there’s also been a lot I wasn’t prepared for. (more…)

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