A great catastrophe has happened in my local community. A Jewish man, his mind split into pieces, believed our Synagogue was on fire in the night when it was not. In addition to a lot of damage he did trying to put out the flames that were only in his own mind, he also took … Continue reading Burying Our Torahs
I just completed a JLI class at my Synagogue all about communication and the power of speech. This morning, I had a perfect example of exactly what we'd been studying happen right in front of me in the grocery store line. A coworker and I were standing in line to pay for some small purchases … Continue reading The Power of Speech
In this week's parsha, we talk about the actual building of the Mishkan, the moveable tabernacle that the Hebrews carried around with them in the desert wanderings. Up to this point, we've talked about why there needed to be a Mishkan and we even had a rather long parsha that explained in great detail all … Continue reading Slowing Down and Building the Mishkan
In this week's parsha, Yaakov famously wrestles with Esav's angel, gaining an injury and the name Israel. In the Torah, every nation has its own angel watching over it and we've already learned that Esav is destined to be a mighty nation in his own right. The struggle is dramatic and costs Yaakov, injuring his … Continue reading Parshas Vayishlach – Wrestling with Angels and New Names
In this week's parsha, Sarah, the spiritual mother of all Jews and particularly of converts, dies and is the first person to be buried in the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, the only piece of the land promised to Abraham that he would actually own in his lifetime, but a promise for more. Rivka … Continue reading Parshas Chayei Sarah – Big Shoes To Fill
This week's parsha begins the story of Avraham, the father of monotheism and the spiritual father of all Jewish converts. His story begins with a command that's familiar: “Go from your land, from your birthplace and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you.” In some way or other, we all … Continue reading Parshas Lech Lecha – Go!
Morning sun awakens late half the morning gone at work I glance out the window, noting it's return I stand, book in hand hidden by cubical walls My feet point east to unseen mountains my lips begin to flutter my voice a whisper they never seem to notice or hear my prayers coded in a … Continue reading Whispered Prayers Within Cube Walls
In this week's double dose parsha, Moses completes telling the Jewish people the laws of the Torah and all the blessings and curses they will receive depending on whether they choose to follow it or abandon it. He reassures them that keeping the mitzvos really isn't impossible. “For the mitzvah which I command you this day, it … Continue reading Parshas Nitzavim-Vayelech: Choices and a Life of Happiness vs. a Life of Meaning
This week's parsha seems to mirror what I see in the world around me this week. Most of the parsha is concerned with a number of blessings and curses that Moses tells the people will happen to them. He commands that half of the tribes will ascend one mountain and half the other when they … Continue reading Parshat Ki Tavo – Justice, but Where is Kindness?
This week's parsha (weekly Torah portion) is a doozy. Even just from a perspective of trying to process it all, this week's parsha has 74 of the Torah's 613 mitzvahs in it, so that's a lot to take in. Interestingly, though, this week's parsha also has a lot of mitzvahs regarding women. My dear friend … Continue reading The Beautiful Captive – Parshas Ki Teitzei
In Orthodox Judaism, there is a blessing for almost anything. If you see a rainbow or a tall mountain, or a first fruit tree in bloom, or you are putting on a new suit, there is a blessing for each of these things. We continuously bless the world around us and each month, we look … Continue reading No Blessing for an Eclipse?
This week's parsha comes at a very critical time, both in recent modern history as well as on the Jewish calendar. We are at the end of the Hebrew month of Av and the month of Elul is about to begin, which is a month dedicated to repentance. It's a time when Jews take stock … Continue reading Parsha Re’eh – A Blessing and a Curse