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Adam 1 and 2 and the Giving Tree© - Genesis

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Adam 1 and 2 and the Giving Tree© Rabbi David Baum

“Once there was a tree, and she loved a little boy, and every day the boy would come, and he would gather her leaves, and make them into crowns and play king of the forest.  He would climb up her trunk And swing from her branches And when he was tired he would sleep in her shade.”
Who in here ever read your child or grandchild the Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein?I bring this up because I read a report on the news about the home of the author, Shel Silverstein.Although he passed in 1999 of a heart attack, he had a famous home in the Keys.I just heard that this historic home was destroyed during Hurricane Irma – and do you know how it was destroyed?A Banyan tree fell on it – yes, the tree finally got her revenge.
The home of the late Shel Silverstein, author and poet, is severely damaged Thursday, September 14, 2017 by a tree that was uprooted in Key West by Hurricane Irma. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)
The Giving Tree is a seemingl…

How to Make Reason, Meaning and Purpose Out of Everything© - Yom Kippur 5778/2017

How to Make Reason, Meaning and Purpose Out of Everything© Yom Kippur 5778/2017 Rabbi David Baum, Congregation Shaarei Kodesh Have you ever asked yourself, what's the purpose of my life? 

There's a famous story of Adam HaRishon, the very first human, who wondered this same thing.  It actually came out of a little know creation story. 
The first animal that God created was the dog and said to the dog:  'Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years.'  The dog said: 'That's a long time to be barking. How about only ten years and I'll give you back the other ten?'
So God agreed.
Then God created the monkey and said: 'Entertain people, do tricks, and make them laugh. For this, I'll give you a twenty-year life span.'  The monkey said: 'Monkey tricks for twenty years? That's a pretty long time to perform. How about I give you back ten like the Dog…

The Antidote to the Epidemic of Loneliness: Chaverut - Partnership© - Kol Nidre 5778/2017

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The Antidote to the Epidemic of Loneliness:  Chaverut - Partnership©
Kol Nidre 5778/2017
Rabbi David Baum, Congregation Shaarei Kodesh


Studies have recently found that social media is actually addictive, but I once heard a story about a man who tried to break his addiction.  He decided to stop using social media and instead was determined to make friends without the benefit of Facebook but still using its methods. So he left home to take a walk and as he met people he told them what he had eaten, how he felt, what he did last night, and what he will do tomorrow. Then he gave them pictures of his family, his dog, and his garden. He also listened secretly listened to their conversations, jumped up from behind them, and told them he loves them. It worked! Soon he got new followers — two police officers and a psychiatrist!

Facebook, one of the most popular of social media platforms, is amazing. It has more than one and a half billion users, allows people to share details of their lives, an…

Take the Long Waze© Rosh Hashanah (Day 2) 5778/2017

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Take the Long Waze©  Rosh Hashanah (Day 2) 5778/2017 Rabbi David Baum, Congregation Shaarei Kodesh
For those who left South Florida before Hurricane Irma, who used the app Waze?  Waze is an amazing traffic app that was created by an Israeli company and bought by Google for around 1.3 billion dollars – Waze changes in real time – it will give you the absolute fastest way to your destination, and they added a gas feature so you can see in real time which stations have fuel before and after a hurricane.

Well, today, I want to tell you about a new traffic app that I developed – it’s called Long Waze.  Rather than giving you the shortest way to the destination, it's only going to give you the longest possible way to a destination.

I imagine that I will not receive a billion dollars from Google, so don’t worry, I’ll likely be here for the foreseeable future.  This app won’t be for directions on a street map though; it will be for the paths that we take our lives.

The Talmud (Eruvin 53b…

Three Lessons from Hurricane Irma© - Rosh Hashanah 5778/2017

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Three Lessons from Hurricane Irma©
Rosh Hashanah (First Day) - 5778/2017
Rabbi David Baum, Congregation Shaarei Kodesh
Have you ever heard the term Hurricane babies?  Hurricane babies are generally born 9 months after a major hurricane.  A couple is hunkered down in their home, the power is out, the candles are burning, and well, you get the picture.  I wanted to share something you may not know about me:  I'm a hurricane baby.

On August 25th 1979, the same day I entered the world, the US National Hurricane Center reported that a tropical depression had developed and the storm was given the name, David.  So I'm a hurricane baby, but not in the traditional sense – both Hurricane David and I were born on the same day. 1

My parents often tell me the story of Hurricane David– my parents and grandparents had moved to Florida just five years before from New York, and they knew little about hurricanes.  Hurricane David was a category 5 storm before it hit the Dominican Republic, close…