The Right Saying at the Right Time

Prior to a Fast Day, we wish others Tzom Kal, which literally means “May you have an easy Fast”. Does this sentiment actually make sense?  After all, we purposefully deny ourselves food and drink in order to feel physically deprived.  If this is not supposed to be a plain-sailing endurance test, why do we express […]

The Talmud (Shabbat 10b) tells us that it is forbidden to greet someone by saying “Shalom” in a bathhouse, because Shalom is one of the names of Hashem. In the Book of Ruth, we read how Boaz greeted the harvesters with the words “Hashem imachem” – May Hashem be with you. In so doing, he […]

There is an ancient Jewish custom that, when someone sneezes, we say, “Asuta”.  This Aramaic word means “May you be healed”.  The sneezer would then respond, “Blessed are you”, to which we would respond, “For your salvation, I wait, O G-d”. While this custom was written down during Mishnaic times (c.100 C.E.), it dates back […]

There were three Torah personalities who exclaimed “Baruch Hashem” and their identities are somewhat surprising. The first was Noah, who said, “Blessed is the L-rd (Baruch Hashem), the G-d of Shem, and let Canaan be their servant” (Bereishit 9:26). The second was Eliezer who declared, “Blessed is the L-rd (Baruch Hashem), the G-d of my […]

When saying “Long Life” to a mourner, one sometimes wishes that there would be something better to say.  After all, Judaism highlights the importance of the quality of life, which can often be achieved within a limited quantity of life. The Hebrew expression “arichut yamim”, however, conveys a totally appropriate message.  This was amplified in […]

The Torah tells us “And the L-rd said:  My spirit shall not abide in man forever for he also is flesh; therefore, shall his days be 120 years” (Bereishit 6:3). After the initial ten generations on earth, Hashem declared that our full span of life would be 120 years.  This was also the number of […]

Rabbi Mirvis' Archive