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Friday Shabbat Shalom

Are You a Functional Atheist?

Jan 14, 2022

Are You a Functional Atheist?

If you’re anything like me, you spend a lot of time up in your head thinking about getting your work done--planning, striving, checking items off the mental to-do list, worrying about how to keep all the balls in the air and how to meet this or that deadline or get ahead.
Hardening Our Hearts

Jan 7, 2022

Hardening Our Hearts

Immersed in the drama of liberating his enslaved people, Moses prepares to appear before Pharaoh, to insist that the Israelites be allowed to leave Egypt. God instructs his servant, Moses, "Go to Pharaoh. For I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his courtiers, in order that I may display these My signs among them..." [Shemot/ Exodus 10:1]
The Exodus Empowers Us All

Dec 31, 2021

The Exodus Empowers Us All

As we enter the Book of Exodus with last week's Parashat Shemot and this week's Parashat Va'eira, I want to bring you a great insight… There are many life-metaphors to be found in the wonderful world of boats. Boats and people both embark on journeys, and both can reach their destinations or sink.
Why the Jews?

Dec 24, 2021

Why the Jews?

In Parashat Shemot, we find a clear instance of what we now call “antisemitism,” a term coined in 1879 by Wilhelm Marr, an anti-Jewish agitator in Germany, as a more modern, euphemistic and non-religious substitute for the German term, judenhass, Jew-hatred.
"And He Lived"

Dec 17, 2021

"And He Lived"

Vayehi literally means “and he lived” and yet, we learn about Jacob and Joseph’s death in this parsha. Vayehi begins in a way that is unique among the weekly parshiyot-- between every two other parshiyot in the Torah, we find a line break or space in the Torah scroll. But Vayehi is the exception. It begins without any clear demarcation from the end of Parashat Vayiggash, the parasha that comes before it. Perhaps one reason might be to cover up the loss of Jacob?
Shame vs. Guilt

Dec 10, 2021

Shame vs. Guilt

Joseph forgives. That, as I have argued before, was a turning point in history. For this was the first recorded act of forgiveness in literature… When he first reveals himself to them, he says, "And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you" (Gen. 45:5).
Wonder of Wonders, Miracle of Miracles!

Dec 3, 2021

Wonder of Wonders, Miracle of Miracles!

Hanukkah, which occurs during the darkest time of the year, reminds us to be agents of light, kindness, goodness and blessing. We have the ability to see, create and acknowledge the miracles that surround us and share that spark of divinity with the world around us.
Like Adele, Give Thanks to Your Favorite Teacher

Nov 25, 2021

Like Adele, Give Thanks to Your Favorite Teacher

On Sunday, “An Audience with Adele” (the singer) was broadcast on ITV in England. At the event, Adele took a question from British actor Emma Thompson, who asked if there was someone who supported, inspired or protected her "from all the trials and tribulations of life" when she was a child.
What Would You Do?

Nov 19, 2021

What Would You Do?

Would you take the shoes off your feet and give them to a barefoot, homeless person? That is what Rabbi Gabriel Benayon, who serves as a Chabad Rabbi in Panama City, Panama, did when visiting in New York this past month for the annual conference of Chabad rabbis.
Not Knowing the “I”

Nov 12, 2021

Not Knowing the “I”

I have always felt a resonance with [Parashat] Vayetzei (Bereisheet / Genesis 28:10-32:3)... I consider dreams to be divine messengers. In the language of nuance, metaphor, and pun, they speak to us of visions and callings from unknown places. Dreams hold the power to bring awe, to surprise, to delight, to terrify, and to transform.