Getting What We Deserve? | Ekev
Feeling like we’re caught in a vise, making it hard sometimes to breathe, or think, or plan, it’s natural that we would turn to Torah for help and relief. But then we come face to face with what we read this Shabbat in Ekev, the third parashah of the Book of Deuteronomy.
How can we be commanded to love? | Va’etchanan
Two modes of relationship have a long history within Judaism: we should fear a God that can destroy a world (yirat shamayim) or love a God that has created one (ahavat haShem). But which works best? Did the Israelites really only accept the mitzvot at Mt. Sinai because God held the mountain over their heads and threatened to drop it if they didn’t say yes?
Handing Over | Devarim
In the nature of things, in the cycle of life and barring tragic exceptions – which do occur – then a parent will die before a child. We all know of some of the exceptions, of illnesses and wars and accidents and acts of violence, but nevertheless, on the whole we assume that the rule is that the parents will create the child, will raise the child, will teach the child all that they can in whatever circumstances they find themselves, from infancy through childhood to adolescence to young adulthood and possibly even beyond.
The Last Decree of Moses | Matot-Mase’ei
Let’s start with the question: how does Leo Tolstoy’s novel “War and Peace” end? What is the last word of this novel? This is how the second part of the Epilogue ends: “to recognize a dependence of which we are not conscious” (Translators: Louise and Aylmer Maude, 2001)
Zeal for Good Causes | Pinchas
Unable to find a transgression beginning with the letter “z” for its English rendition of the Yom Kippur alphabetized list of wrongdoing, the Gates of Repentance concludes with the confession that “we…showed zeal for bad causes.”
All Behavior is Communication | Balak
When my son was two and three-years-old, bedtimes were, shall we say, rough. Stories and cuddles were punctuated by wild running or jumping around the room. Getting into bed was a struggle, and once tucked in he would thrash around, unable to settle.
Personal and Professional Growth is a Lifetime Commitment | Chukat
Like the four new years of the Hebrew calendar, July 1 marks a significant moment in modern Jewish life. Our Torah portion, Chukat, comes to us just days after this point of transition and offers a timely reminder of what it means to be a leader in the Jewish community.
Fix the World – Try Not to Get Swallowed | Korach
“The ground under them burst asunder, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up with their households, all Korach’s people and all their possessions.” (Numbers 16:31-32) Rebellion sure does get a bad rap in the Torah.
Grasshoppers and Giants: Shlach Lecha’s Message of Courage and Self-Respect | Shelach Lechah
God instructs Moses to send leaders from each of the 12 ancestral tribes to scout out the land of Canaan, embarking from the wilderness of Paran and engaging in a fact finding mission from the bottom of the Negev up into the northern hill country.
Jealousy: A Potential Step to Personal Growth | Beha’alotcha
Moses had supportive siblings who stood by him throughout his many challenges. Miriam, his big sister, watched baby Moses in the basket as Pharaoh’s daughter saved him.
Birkat Kohanim as a Call to Action | Naso
This week’s parsha, Naso, gets its name from the Hebrew root “to carry.” The text begins by outlining the responsibilities of the different Levitical families in transporting and maintaining the portable mishkan (portable sanctuary) through the wilderness.
The Gates of Hell | Bamidbar
Since May 24, our national attention in the United States has been trained on the latest mass shooting in Uvalde, TX. Wherever we may live, those of us on Facebook and similar social media sites most probably have seen a variety of lists that have made the rounds of these sites.