Jewish Teaching

The Clothes Make Much More Than the Man

Posted on February 11, 2022

This week’s Torah portion is Tetzaveh, meaning “you shall further instruct.” The further instruction is a reference to last week’s portion, Terumah, in which God laid out highly specific directions for the building of the Mishkan to Moses. Having now designed a sanctuary so that God may dwell among the people of Israel, it is Continue Reading »

The House We Dwell In

Posted on February 4, 2022

Terumah is found in the Book of Exodus and follows Parsha Mishaptim, where we learned about laws as well as the Special Shabbat Shekalim where a census was taken. Now that we had laws to abide by and a good idea of how many people there were, it was time to turn to fund raising Continue Reading »

The Power of Memory

Posted on December 10, 2021

This week’s parashah, Vayigash, offers a clear and powerful example of what has been called writing one’s spiritual autobiography. In Genesis 45:4-8 Joseph offers this remarkable retelling of his story: “Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come forward to me.’ And when they came forward, he said, ‘I am your brother Joseph, he whom you sold Continue Reading »

A Certain Kind of Miracle

Posted on December 3, 2021

When the children of Israel were redeemed from Egypt, the Torah describes a moment when they found themselves trapped between Pharaoh’s army, which was gaining on them from behind, and the Sea of Reeds, which was before them. Not knowing what else to do, the people cried out to God, and Moses assured them that Continue Reading »

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 »