About me

Why Thinking Torah?

This blog is meant to stimulate thought and discussion about the Torah.

Every person has the opportunity and even the obligation to participate in the learning of the Torah.

Here is what Rav Wolbe wrote in his classic Alei Shur (Volume 1, page 37, my translation):

You should contemplate this, that the Creator (blessed be His name) does not want that each person should look into the Torah in the same way, or that they should learn it in the same way, or that they should understand it in the same way. Rather, each person should have their own approach according to their unique strengths and effort. Then we will, all together, earn a complete Torah!

The great depth of our Torah is only accessible when we study it and ponder it. Reading the weekly parsha is a good first step, but it’s not enough.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that we don’t always live up to our ideals. If you can internalize the lessons of interpersonal relationships in the weekly parsha, then you can build an arsenal of hints that you can draw upon when facing some of life’s challenges.

Shlomo Skinner

Who am I?

My name is Shlomo Skinner. I was born and raised in California, but I’ve lived in Israel with my wife and our cats since 1995.

I served four years in the US Marines. After my honorable discharge I earned a BS in mathematics from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, an MS in statistics and an MBA from the University of California Davis.

I worked as a financial analyst for a real estate firm and then for the Maryland General Assembly.

After moving to Israel, I earned smicha from the Israel Chief Rabbinate and Rav Zalman Nechemiah Goldberg.

Just in case you are wondering, when we moved to Israel, I had no plans about becoming a rabbi. We just thought we would live and work in the Jerusalem area and struggle to make ends meet. You know, just like everyone else who lives in Israel.

I taught Gemara and Chumash for a number of years at a school for English-speakers in Jerusalem.

On being a teacher

One of things I enjoy is teaching. Especially, finding a way to make a difficult concept understandable.

I’ve enjoyed success both in teaching mathematics and Torah.

Here is what one of my current tutoring clients has to say:

I’ve been learning from Rabbi Skinner since the time I was a student [at Yeshivat Darche Noam] in 2009. He is a fantastic teacher. He has a methodical approach, good sense of humor and a great ability to help the student learn the skills, not just give the answer. Our weekly sessions have helped my Rashi skills tremendously — it is continually one of the highlights of my week. I would highly recommend him to any prospective person interested in gaining learning skills from a talented teacher and mentor. – Jason H

This is from a former chevruta of mine:

I have known Rabbi Skinner for about 15 years. During my time as a student at Darche Noam, I had the privilege of learning with him one-on-one (chavruta). In addition, I have attended many of his shiurim. Rabbi Skinner has an analytical approach and is able to clarify complicated subjects. He has also given novel insights on the material that we studied together.
I highly recommend Rabbi Skinner as a teacher and spiritual guide whose students can gain much insight and understanding of Judaism. – David S

So what language are we using here?

Good question!

Some call it Heblish. Others call it Engrew. Still other call it Yeshivish.

It’s mostly English, but freely sprinkled with Hebrew, Aramaic, and some Yiddish.

I don’t consider any of these “foreign” languages. Therefore, I will not be putting, for example, Hebrew words in italics.

There is a Glossary that I plan to keep up to date.

Don’t know a word, please ask!

Click here to grab your copy of my free ebook How to Learn Chumash with Rashi.