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The Mitzvot We Perform with Our Feet

Posted on August 7, 2020

This week’s Torah portion, Eikev, opens with words of encouragement to walk in God’s ways and to obey God’s commandments. “v’haya eikev tishmaun…” It shall come to pass if you observe God’s rules… that God will … bless you and multiply you…” (Deuteronomy 7:12) The word eikev is most interesting. Its plain meaning is, “as Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: From Lamentation to Consolation

Posted on July 31, 2020

I recall the moment when remembering my dear father felt only joyful and not also painful. It was a long time coming, and I’m not quite there yet with my beloved mother, who died a little more than a year ago. Grief is potent. Like gravity, it has a persistent pull and weight. It saps energy Continue Reading »

Finding Light Amidst the Darkness – Our Observance of Tisha B’Av

Posted on July 24, 2020

Finding Light Amidst the Darkness – Our Observance of Tisha B’Av What are we to do when our dreams are shattered? The wise counsel of the late great Israeli author Amos Oz is to find a new dream. Remember, he said, that the loss of a particular hope or dream does not mean that all Continue Reading »

Shabbat Mevarechim

Posted on July 17, 2020

July 17, 2020 25 Tammuz 5780 This Shabbat is one of those traditionally called Mevarechim, a Shabbat on which we recite the blessing for the new month in anticipation of Rosh Chodesh (the first day of the new Hebrew month). The coming Hebrew month is the month of Av. The most mournful day of the Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: Interdependence Day

Posted on July 3, 2020

This year July 4 is different. Yes, it is still a celebration of the birth of our nation. But this year it is shrouded in a cloud of crisis and controversy about the meaning and nature of our freedom. For some, American liberty means license to do whatever we want, even if it involves blatant Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message: It Should Be Enough to be Ourselves

Posted on June 26, 2020

The great Chassidic Rebbe Zusya of Anipol is known for this saying: “When I die and meet my maker, I will not be asked, ‘Why were you not Moses?’ I will be asked, ‘Why were you not Zusya?’” In this week’s Torah portion, Moses asks a similar question of Korach, who led a rebellion against Continue Reading »

We Can Reach the Promised Land

Posted on June 19, 2020

This week’s Torah portion is a telling tale about how attitude and perception color our reality – how what we see “out there,” so often reflects our inner disposition, our preconceived notions, biases and prejudices. The Israelites are ready to go up to the Promised Land, to return home to the land of their ancestors Continue Reading »

A Time for Repentance and Action

Posted on June 7, 2020

Dear friends, As Shabbat arrives this evening, we say goodbye to another tumultuous week. Many of you have shared the strong emotions you are feeling as we process a precarious shift from lockdown to tentative re-openings that feel precipitous to many of us. We continue, as well, to sort out our feelings and emotions about Continue Reading »

Lift Up the Heads

Posted on June 5, 2020

This week’s Torah reading, parshat Naso, continues the census of the Israelites that gives the Book of Numbers its English name. The act of counting described here is significant and relevant to us as modern readers of the Torah. First, as is the case with the census currently being conducted by the United States government, Continue Reading »

Numbers: Be Careful When You Count

Posted on May 28, 2020

Since ancient days Judaism has had an aversion to counting, especially to counting people. The basis for this is the idea that ascribing a number sets a limit. This is true of population assessments and also of longevity. As recently as a few generations ago, this sensitivity endured as a superstition among the first generations Continue Reading »