Jewish Teaching

Vayishlach – Finding Wholeness in Our Brokenness

Posted on November 19, 2021

No one relishes their struggles. Life’s challenges are often daunting, fraught with uncertainty and fear of failure and loss. Conventional wisdom bids us to take the path of least resistance and avoid difficulty. And yet, time and again, we see that the hard times in our lives are often the ones of greatest growth, and Continue Reading »

Vayeitzei: We Must Speak the Truth

Posted on November 12, 2021

Some say it is from this week’s Torah portion that our rabbis derived the custom of wearing a kippah to cover one’s head. “And Jacob went forth from Be’ersheva…” says the opening verse of our parashah, Vayeitzei. Would our father Jacob go out without covering his head? Of course not, said our teachers. So much Continue Reading »

Toldot: Don’t Judge A Book (Or A Twin) By Its Cover

Posted on November 5, 2021

Parsha Toldot, Genesis 25:19−28:9 In this week’s Torah portion, Toldot, begins an epic  wrestling match between two very dissimilar twins, Jacob and Esau. The Torah is full of bitter sibling rivalries, for example Cain and Abel, and Joseph and his brothers. But the struggle between Jacob and Esau is different. It is so deeply rooted Continue Reading »

All We Really Need Is Love

Posted on October 29, 2021

A Message for Chayei Sarah What is the essence of the Torah? For some, like Rashi, the Torah is a book of law – the vessel through which God gave us commandments to guide our lives. He argues that the Torah should have begun with Exodus 13, where we learn the first of the 613 Continue Reading »

Vayeira: God Can Wait

Posted on October 22, 2021

Religious poetry, prayer, and scripture are filled with longing to behold God’s presence. Even Moses, who heard God’s voice at the burning bush,[1] pleads in vain for a vision of God’s face. “No human can see My face…”[2] says God in response. Elijah experienced God in a whirlwind, an earthquake, and a still small voice, Continue Reading »

Message for the Shabbat of Sukkot: Be Joyful and Playful!

Posted on September 24, 2021

There is a Chasidic story about a beloved rebbe who passed away and was succeeded by his son. Though only a child, the new rebbe had already been recognized as a wondrous prodigy. People came from all over to ask him their most personal and difficult questions, and his answers did not disappoint them. He Continue Reading »

Shabbat Message for Ki Tavo: Ready, Aim, Live!

Posted on August 27, 2021

The Dubner Maggid told a parable that speaks poignantly to this moment in the cycle of the Jewish year: A champion marksman was passing through a tiny village when he saw a hundred circles drawn on the side of a barn – and in the center of each circle was a bullet hole. The man Continue Reading »

The Battle of the Human Heart: Don’t Be Indifferent

Posted on August 20, 2021

This week’s Torah portion, Ki Teizei contains more laws than any other parashah in the Torah — 72, to be exact. The purpose was not to provide a code that the average Israelite would carry around to consult at any given moment; rather, it was to cultivate a certain sensibility, awareness, and attitude. Nowhere is Continue Reading »

Due Justice

Posted on August 13, 2021

The following verses resonate loudly to me from this week’s Parsha, Shoftim, from the book of Deuteronomy (16:18-20): (18) You shall appoint magistrates and officials for your tribes, in all the settlements that the Lord your God is giving you, and they shall govern the people with due justice. (19) You shall not judge unfairly; you Continue Reading »

Shabbat Chazon — Vision

Posted on July 16, 2021

This Shabbat, the Shabbat preceding Tisha B’Av, is called Shabbat Chazon, named for the chazon, the vision of the Prophet Isaiah that is the Haftarah for this day. It is a dark and menacing vision of the impending doom the Israelites are bringing upon themselves. They are guilty of spiritual hypocrisy, says Isaiah, for they Continue Reading »