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Michael Allen
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Thought for the Day: Pizza, Uncrustables, and Stuff -- What Bracha?
Many years ago (in fact, more than two decades ago), I called R' Fuerst from my desk at work as I sat down to lunch.  I had a piece of (quite delicious) homemade pizza for lunch.  I nearly always eat at my desk as I am working (or writing TftD...), so my lu...

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Thought for the Day: What You Have In Mind vs What People Have In Mind
Just to let you know, I really want to talk about an interesting connection between honoring death bed wishes and returning a crockpot to the heat on Shabbos.  I can't help it if even things like this are politicized ad absurdum nowadays. Each and every mom...

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Thought for the Day: Halacha and Mussar/Plan and Motivation
Two stories today!  (For some of you, that mean more to skip, for others it means more of interest.  I try to be a full service blogger.)  While a graduate student at University of Utah (which at the time was the furthest east I had ever resided), my resear...

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Thought for the Day: Preparing to Lament and Mourn on Tisha b'Av
I got call a few weeks ago from the Riverside Sheriff's department (near Palm Springs, CA).  She asked if I knew Greg Bowden.  "Yes," I replied more than a bit puzzled since I hadn't seen him nor heard from him in decades, "he's my uncle."  Then she gently ...

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Thought for the Day: Using Her Family Heirloom to Get Married
This could -- and does -- happen.  The beloved and dearly missed bubbie left her wedding ring to be used by the first of her granddaughters to get married.  Shprintze is the lucky young lady.  Shprintze, having been very close to her bubbie, wants do do mor...

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Thought for the Day: Prayer -- Concentrate on What You are Saying, Not on What You are Doing
My grandchildren love to help... especially (ok... almost exclusively) when they think it's fun.  My very sweet and charming seven year old granddaughter saw that I had not covered the BBQ, so she decided to replace the lid and then cover it for me.  Great....

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Thought for the Day: The Simplicity and Depth of M'silas Yesharim -- Both True, Both Deceptions
I get a mazal tov.  I just completed the first perek of Bava Metzia.  It is a about 20 daf (double sided pages).  I am not at all embarrassed to tell you that it has taken my almost a year and a half.  I learned it twice through, because Chazal tell us that...

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Thought for the Day: How a Proselyte Handles Shabbos (Non)Observance
As I mentioned , the budding (that's the wrong word, but you get what I mean) proselyte is expected to keep all of the mitzvos that he can.  One that he can't (and was sort of comic relief on top of everything else that had been thrown at me) is the mitzvah...

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Thought for the Day: Violating Shabbos on a Torah Level is Really Hard
Converts to Judaism come up with all sorts of interesting (crazy, if you prefer) questions.  There are a two basic reasons, I think.  One, committing to live as an Orthodox Jew is a huge undertaking with a myriad of details.  While a nonreligious Jew who is...

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Thought for the Day: Risk of Excision and Consecration Value Go Hand in Hand
Whether or not you like the Dilbert comic strip, you'll probably appreciate at least this joke.  The pointy haired boss announces two new programs for the employees: (1) a dignity enhancement program for employees, and (2) mandatory drug testing initiative....
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