וְיֵעָשׂוּ כֻלָּם אֲגֻדָּה אֶחָת לַעֲשׂוֹת רְצוֹנְךָ בְּלֵבָב שָׁלֵם

All shall unite to do God's will with an open heart.

וְיֵעָשׂוּ כֻלָּם אֲגֻדָּה אֶחָת לַעֲשׂוֹת רְצוֹנְךָ בְּלֵבָב שָׁלֵם

All shall unite to do God's will with an open heart.

16 07, 2024

Parashat Balak – 5784

By |2024-07-16T13:50:32-04:00July 16, 2024|

Our parashah for this coming Shabbat, Parashat Balak, gives us much to think about in terms of the impact of our words as they translate into our actions.

10 07, 2024

Parashat Hukkat 5784

By |2024-07-10T10:02:18-04:00July 10, 2024|

Our Torah portion this week begins with describing “zot hukkat haTorah - the ritual law” concerning the red heifer.

1 07, 2024

Parashat Korah 5784

By |2024-07-01T11:00:47-04:00July 1, 2024|

“I’m falling on my face” is a phrase I heard many-a-time growing up. What it usually meant was “I’m exhausted,” “I have no more energy,” or “proceed without me.” When my mother would say it out loud, I knew enough to give her some space, or some time to rest, or get my tuchus in gear and help cook dinner.

24 06, 2024

Parashat Shelah 5784

By |2024-06-24T16:59:46-04:00June 24, 2024|

A French Catholic teen’s first glimpse of Jews wrapped in their Tallitot led him to intuit one of Judaism’s essential values

17 06, 2024

Parashat Beha’alotekha 5784

By |2024-06-17T10:55:24-04:00June 17, 2024|

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a prophet? To know things before they happened? This week’s parashah, Parashat Beha’alotekha, represents a master class in prophecy. Through a series of vignettes, the Torah provides insight into what it means to be a prophet.

In the first episode, several men come up to Moses and Aaron saying that they were unable to bring the Passover sacrifice because they were ritually unclean. Is there any way they can still participate (Num. 9:6-7)? All that Moses had learned from G-d was that the sacrifice was to be brought on the fourteenth day of the first month (Num. 9:5); there was nothing about what to do with people who were unable to participate at that time.

What should Moses do? Would he look weak if he admitted that he did not know the answer? Should he make his own interpretation?

What does Moses Read More >

11 06, 2024

Parashat Naso 5784

By |2024-06-11T09:33:00-04:00June 11, 2024|

There is a beautiful place in the Ayalon Valley - west of Jerusalem - just 25 km away. It is called Latrun. The name Latrun may have been derived from “Le Toron des Chevaliers,” the name of a Crusader castle that once stood there. In modern times the hill is best known as the site of an important battle during the 1948 Israeli War of Independence.

3 06, 2024

Parashat Bemidbar 5784

By |2024-06-03T11:02:10-04:00June 3, 2024|

Anyone who has spent several days in the desert knows the nighttime there—the human need to stay close to the nearby camp.

28 05, 2024

Parashat Behukotai 5784

By |2024-05-28T09:49:19-04:00May 28, 2024|

“Why? Because, I said so!” Many of us heard those words as children, when we questioned something we were told to do. The reason given was, “Because I said so!” We ourselves may have said those words, as parents or teachers, in our roles as authority figures.

This week’s parashah, Behukotai, is named for hukkim, the rules mentioned in the opening verse. According to rabbinic tradition, hukkim are statutes for which there is no rationale. We are to obey them “because God said so.”  The sages of the Talmud note, “And you shall keep my statutes (hukkotai; Leviticus 18:4)” refers to rules which may be challenged, because the reasons for them are not known. They cite a list of examples of such hukkim, including the prohibition against eating pork, against wearing shatnez (garments of diverse fabrics), and the scapegoat of the Yom Kippur ritual. The Talmudic passage concludes, “And lest you say these are meaningless acts, the Read More >

20 05, 2024

Parashat Behar 5784

By |2024-05-20T12:02:24-04:00May 20, 2024|

Sylvia, z”l, passed away Erev Pesah at almost 100 years old. Although her loyalty was to the Valley Stream Jewish Center and Rabbi Yechiel, she often told me that I was her “favorite female rabbi.” She was intelligent and thoughtful, often adding her own “midrash” to our texts. She was raised to fight for civil rights, women’s rights and peace, and raised her children the same way. Her insights always added to our discussions.

14 05, 2024

Parashat Emor 5784

By |2024-05-15T15:57:30-04:00May 14, 2024|

Albert Einstein once said, “Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.” Reflecting on this wisdom, I write this D’var Torah on Wednesday, May 8, 2024 - the Sixteenth Day of the Omer: Day 215 of captivity, as we continue to count both the days of the Omer and the endless days of our brothers and sisters' cruel captivity at the hands of terrorists.

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