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.

10 07, 2023

Parshyiot Mattot-Masei 5783

By |2023-07-28T10:45:30-04:00July 10, 2023|

In this week’s parashah, Moses recounts the starting points of each of the places visited by the Israelites during their 40 year trek on the way to the Promised Land. “Moses recorded the starting points as directed by the Lord (al pi Adonai )”. (Num. 33:2) For what purpose is God’s command for Moses to catalogue each station encountered as the journey nears completion and why davka by their starting points?

Moses has been intimately involved in the entire journey, especially from the moment the Israelites broke camp on the 20th day of the 2nd year. (Num. 10:11) It’s not as if he needs to record the stations to remember the journey. All the treks from that point on were conducted in an intimate partnership between Moses and the Divine: “On a sign from the Lord (al pi Adonai) they made camp and on a sign from the Lord they Read More >

6 07, 2023

Parashat Pinhas 5783

By |2023-07-28T10:43:16-04:00July 6, 2023|

The way we respond to very difficult stories in the Torah can teach us a lot about the complexities of being human. Two common reactions to the stories that shock us, maybe even disgust us, might be to reject the whole Torah and its jealous and angry God or to simply not pay attention to the parts of the Torah we don’t like and only learn from its ethical teachings and uplifting stories.

I would like to suggest a third approach, one that begins with seeing the Torah as the beginning of a conversation and not as the end of one. This means not only acknowledging the compassionate and loving side of being human but our more shadowy characteristics as well, such as the desire to murder, rid ourselves of people who we see as harmful to us, and obsessive sexual desires. Just as these are all in the Torah as well as inside each of us, I believe the way we Read More >

26 06, 2023

Parshiyot Hukkat-Balak 5783

By |2023-07-28T10:41:52-04:00June 26, 2023|

I delight in the robins, cardinals, and other common birds that I regularly see and hear in my yard, and their presence brings me joy. But recently, thanks to the wonders of technology in the form of the Merlin app produced by Cornell University, my ears, mind, and heart have been opened to the knowledge that there are many other, less common and well-known birds, right here in my own backyard. Through the ability of this app to inform me of the birds around me by recording their songs, I have discovered that rose-breasted grosbeaks, warbling vireos, chimney swifts, and cedar waxwings are prone to visiting my neighborhood. Who knew! What a wonder! The joy, uplift, delight, and hope that awareness of these mostly unseen birds bring me is deep and unbounded. They make my day.

Balak, King of Moab, sends Bilam to curse the Israelites. Along the way, Bilam has Read More >

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