Parshas Eikev – Turning Our Eyes to a New Land

This week's parsha continues the theme of Moses preparing the Jews to enter the land of Egypt.  He wants them to be ready for the challenges that they will face and he uses a mixture of encouragement and also some reminders of their past failings.  He's essentially been the father of this people, bringing them … Continue reading Parshas Eikev – Turning Our Eyes to a New Land

This Week’s Parsha – Pinchas – A Tale of Two Sets of Daughters

This week's parsha has always been one I've stumbled over.  I know I'm supposed to revile the Moabite women who seduce the Israelites and cheer on Pinchas as he becomes a righteous zealot, skewering one of them and Zimri, gaining his descendants the priesthood.  Still, just something seems off about it, particularly as it comes … Continue reading This Week’s Parsha – Pinchas – A Tale of Two Sets of Daughters

Parsha Shlach and Our Own Years in the Desert

In this week's parsha, the Jewish people are punished for the false reports 10 of the 12 spies come back with.  Their punishment is to wait 40 more years in the desert and to only have their children be able to go into the land they have been promised. I recently read a commentary by … Continue reading Parsha Shlach and Our Own Years in the Desert

The Power of Knowing Your Why

The book of Numbers has another name in the Talmud...the book of complainers.  It's a pretty apt description since it isn't long into this book before the Jewish people begin complaining.  They've been in the desert a long time, wandering.  The exciting miracles and sparks of inspiration have dimmed and are more in the past. … Continue reading The Power of Knowing Your Why

The Ten Unfaithful Spies and an Eye Infection

Somewhere in the past blur of weeks, I contracted an eye infection.  The cure for this infection is, ironically, stinging, burning drops I must put in every two hours.  That's not fun.  Even worse, during this time, I have to wear my glasses, which give me headaches and make me feel dizzy and sick to … Continue reading The Ten Unfaithful Spies and an Eye Infection

The Missing Mixed Multitude?

There are bits and pieces of stories of converts mixed into the Torah.  We read the book of Ruth on Shavuos, which is such a moving story.  We look to Avraham as the first of the converts in many ways.  However, the story that has always fascinated me is the story of the "mixed multitude" … Continue reading The Missing Mixed Multitude?

Birthday Cake and Mitzvos

I'm reading a really good book about Family Purity called "Total Immersion."  All the books I've read on the topic previously have been more dry and focused on the "how" of the mitzvah, not the "why" or deeper spiritual dimension and I'm really enjoying this chance to step back and sink deeper into those aspects. … Continue reading Birthday Cake and Mitzvos

Finding the Holiness…Right Where You Are.

I'm listening to a fantastic shiur, the kind of deep learning that makes my mind ache a little, like a muscle that's been well-used.  I know when I'm learning something that feeds me when it changes how I look at the world around me. Have you ever gone on a long trip away from home … Continue reading Finding the Holiness…Right Where You Are.

Holiness In a Casual World

This week's parshas (it's another 2fer) are all about holiness.  In the wake of Aaron's son's unfortunate deaths due to their unrequested offerings, these two parshas talk a lot about Hashem's expectations of the Jews.  There are specific laws for when and how the Kohen Gadol can enter the holy of holies, laws about how … Continue reading Holiness In a Casual World

Menuchas Hanefesh…and Long Flights

I've been taking a break to fly about as far as someone can and still remain in the United States.  We flew from Anchorage last week to Ft. Lauderdale and spent a wonderful Shabbos and weekend with friends and family there.  It's been great visiting grocery stores with whole kosher aisles and spotting kippahs all … Continue reading Menuchas Hanefesh…and Long Flights

It All Begins In Darkness

A non-Jewish coworker once asked me why Shabbat and our holidays all begin at sundown.  My first response was that in the Jewish calendar, days begin at sundown, but after he happily accepted that easy answer, I thought about it a bit and realized his question was actually a pretty profound one. In the Western … Continue reading It All Begins In Darkness