Post-Pandemic Kohelet: An Israelite Form of Meditation: Ecclesiastes is a cynical reflection on life’s futility that we can resonate to now more than ever.

I think you will like this article published on TheTorah.com! Kohelet: An Israelite Form of Meditation. Ecclesiastes is a cynical reflection on life’s futility. The constant sonorous repetition, visualizations, and references to breath serve as a sustained meditation to help free the reader’s soul from the agonizing struggle of life.



Electricity on Shabbat? My Dear Rabbi Zahavy Jewish Standard Column for March 2020

Electricity on Shabbat? My Dear Rabbi Zahavy Jewish Standard Column for March 2020

Dear Rabbi Zahavy,

Members of my community of Orthodox Jews who are shomer Shabbos refrain from turning on and off all electrical devices to observe their Shabbat rest. So, on Friday nights and Saturdays our practice is not to use, for instance, our phones or TVs or computers. And we don’t turn on or off lights or fans or heaters.

Lately, I’ve become lax in keeping these rules, especially regarding my use of my smart phone, my computer and my Alexa Amazon Echo devices. I feel that using these devices enhances my rest and my leisure. And I have found that avoiding them makes me uneasy, not relaxed or restful.

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I don’t publicly advertise my actions. But it’s increasingly evident to me that my family knows what I am doing and that they quietly disapprove.

I am worried and need your advice. Am I sinning by my behavior? I feel strongly that what I am doing is not a violation of any rules and likely will continue my uses. But what can I do regarding my actions if this all blows up and causes social friction in my family and community?

Electrified in Englewood

Dear Electrified,

Establishing sacred time is a powerful part of all religions. The notion that we Jews spend one day a week in a special world of restful restrictions starting on sundown on Friday is an amazing claim to make. And at the same time, it is hard for the community to enforce the Sabbath taboos.


Atlantic: Can You Read on an Amazon Kindle on Shabbat?

I originally posted this 12/23/2010. 
The questions keep recurring so we are bringing this post back. And by the way, I published a lot of books on Kindle since then, 
Now back to the 2010 blog post...

Our Jewish calendars have always told us what time to Kindle for the Sabbath, when to "Kindle the Shabbat Candles."

Nowadays we have another kind of Kindle to know about, the Amazon book reader. And the question arises, can you Kindle on the Sabbath?

We think yes, without any qualifications, that you can Kindle on the Sabbath. The e-ink device does not create actual light. You cannot read it in the dark. And it obviously does not create any durable writing. When you turn it off it goes blank.

In halakhic terms we find no transgression, no prohibition to using the reader. In fact it's a feat of great imagination to extend Sabbath prohibitions to that invention. It involves believing there is a set of electrical apparatus that is prohibited, or defining a broad category of technology-things that all are outside the spirit of Sabbath rest.