Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Articles written by Rabbi Yossy Goldman


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  • 'Thou shalt not be judgmental'

    Rabbi Yossy Goldman|May 17, 2024

    (JNS) — Some years ago, I heard Rabbi Manis Friedman tell a story about a man who overheard his friend telling his wife on the phone, “Drop dead!” “How can you speak that way to your wife?!” he demanded. The friend smiled and said, “She just asked me if her new dress was gorgeous, and I answered, ‘Yes, drop-dead.’” Hearing only half a conversation and drawing conclusions can be dangerous. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard stories about others that I didn’t want to believe; and indeed, upon investigation, they turned out to be either...

  • An eye for an eye?

    Rabbi Yossy Goldman|Feb 23, 2024

    (JNS) — I once heard a story about two Jews back in Russia who got into a terrible argument. Their blood pressure was rising fast. One fellow got so incensed that he shouted, “I am so angry at what you’ve done to me that I… uh… I uh… I know: I won’t go to your funeral!” Whereupon the other guy very calmly replied: “I don’t take revenge. I will go to your funeral.” While other cultures sanction and may even encourage revenge, in Judaism revenge is explicitly forbidden (Leviticus 19:18). Some Muslim countries still practice amputation as a punis...

  • Mighty but moral

    Rabbi Yossy Goldman|Feb 2, 2024

    (JNS) — The Children of Israel were caught, quite literally, “between the devil and the deep blue sea.” Pharaoh and his chariots were in hot pursuit of the newly freed Israelites and caught up to them as they reached the sea. With nowhere to turn, panic and pandemonium broke out. But Moses told the people to calm down: “Have no fear! Stand fast and see God’s salvation that He will perform for you today! You may be seeing the Egyptians today, but you will never see them again! God will do battle for you and you shall remain silent.” As Moses rai...

  • Repentance reimagined

    Rabbi Yossy Goldman|Sep 15, 2023

    (JNS) — Time always flies, but somehow during this time of year it seems to fly faster than ever. Can you believe it’s only 10 days until Rosh Hashanah? We are deep into the Hebrew month of Elul, which is traditionally dedicated to spiritual preparation before the Days of Judgment on Rosh Hashanah. In Sephardic communities, selichot, penitential prayers, are recited for the entire month. Ashkenazi communities will begin selichot services this coming Saturday night, one week before the new year, as a final run-up to the Yamim Noraim, which mea...

  • 'Don't be a tail!'

    Rabbi Yossy Goldman|Sep 8, 2023

    (JNS) — There are many kinds of blessings. Every situation, every occasion, has a different blessing. We wish success to some, to others long life or good health, and to still others we wish nachas and pride from their children. When my sister was a small child, she was somewhat confused by the traditional Yiddish blessings we give people at various life milestones. Someone had a baby and she wished them biz hundert un tzvantzig! In plain English, that means, “till 120!” It’s what we say when someone, particularly a more mature person, has a b...

  • El Al's spiritual message

    Rabbi Yossy Goldman|Sep 1, 2023

    (JNS) — Did you know that the name of Israel’s national airline, El Al, comes from the Bible? Like so much in Israel, its source is in our ancient texts. The prophet Hosea says, “They call them el al” or “to the One Above.” In Hebrew el means “to” and al means “above.” So El Al means “to the above,” definitely a great name for an airline. Last week’s Torah reading began with the words ki tetzei lamilchama al oyvecha, “When you will go out to war against your enemies.” The usual word used for “against” would be neged, but here the Torah uses th...

  • The blessing of listening

    Rabbi Yossy Goldman|Aug 18, 2023

    (JNS) — Do blessings and curses come from heaven or do we bring them upon ourselves by the way we live our lives? Last week’s Torah reading, Re’eh, from Deuteronomy 11, begins with blessings and curses. Moses is continuing his sermonic messages before he takes leave of his people. The great leader waxes philosophical: “Behold, I give you this day a blessing and a curse. The blessing: that you hearken to the commandments of God that I command you this day. And the curse: if you do not hearken to the commandments of God and you stray from th...

  • Remembering everywhere, forever

    Rabbi Yossy Goldman|Apr 28, 2023

    (JNS) — My wife and I left South Africa for a trip to Israel on Tuesday. As we were going through the security checks at the El Al departure area, we suddenly heard the soft hum of a siren. There and then, in middle of the busy Johannesburg International Airport, a moment of silence was observed for Yom HaShoah by Jewish staff and travelers alike. Heads were bowed in reverence and memory before we got back to the business at hand. I found it a particularly moving moment. We Jews are somewhat obsessed with remembering. Memories are profoundly i...

  • Save the world!

    Rabbi Yossy Goldman|Apr 21, 2023

    (JNS) — Many years ago, I was stuck in a New York City traffic jam. When I finally got to the source of the bottleneck, I discovered it was caused by a group of young demonstrators. Most looked like classic hippies and they were protesting the plight of the world’s whales. “Save the Whales!” posters and placards filled the intersection. Later, I saw a cartoon in The New Yorker in which two whales were having a conversation and one says to the other, “But can they save themselves?” There are 27 conflicts going on in the world today. Ukraine is...

  • Life is a picture postcard

    Rabbi Yossy Goldman|Jun 3, 2022

    (JNS) — Whether you even know what a picture postcard is will immediately put you in a certain age bracket. Just recently, I asked a group of teenagers if they knew what a postcard was, and they had absolutely no idea. It reminded me of a video posted last year of two teenagers being challenged to operate an old-fashioned telephone where you dialed the number with that circular dialing system. They were completely flustered and just could not work it out. I’ll get to the picture postcard soon. I intended procrastinating, but I never got aro...