Home / The Latest / Friday Shabbat Shalom

Friday Shabbat Shalom

Sukkot: The Dual Festival

Oct 11, 2019

Sukkot: The Dual Festival

The sedra of Emor outlines the festivals that give rhythm and structure to the Jewish year. Examining them carefully, however, we see that Sukkot is unusual, unique. One detail which had a significant influence on Jewish liturgy appears later on in the book of Deuteronomy: Be joyful at your Feast . . . For seven days celebrate the Feast to the Lord your God at the place the Lord will choose. For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete. (Dt. 16: 14-15)
How Can Something So Worn Become New Again?

Oct 4, 2019

How Can Something So Worn Become New Again?

The Day of Judgment evokes very ominous feelings. We approach it bewildered and unsure how one day can be so different from others. How does this day enable us to reach back in time to atone for sins? Why is it uniquely imbued with the power to preordain events for the year ahead?
Step Out of Line!

Sep 27, 2019

Step Out of Line!

Whether you were interested or able to watch the Emmy’s this past Sunday night, you’ve probably heard or seen Alex Borstein’s acceptance speech for her award as best supporting actress in a comedy (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel). In the middle of it, she became serious and told the audience she came from a family of immigrants and Holocaust survivors...
The Stories We Tell

Sep 20, 2019

The Stories We Tell

How should we remember the past so that it best teaches us how to live our lives into the future? Parashat Ki Tavo gives us a very interesting answer and model for us to use. Israelite farmers were commanded to bring the first cuttings from their produce in a basket to the Temple where the Kohein (priest) would place them in front of the altar. The farmer then had to recite a declarative paragraph casting himself as an actor in the history of the Israelite people (Devarim/ Deuteronomy 26:5-10)
The Nuances of Living the Torah

Sep 13, 2019

The Nuances of Living the Torah

Some of the laws found in it make me very glad the Rabbis came along and through the halachic system, interpreted them in much more enlightened, humane ways. See for example: The Rebellious or Wayward Son (cue: the Kansas song) discussed in chapter 21:18-21, whom we are supposed to stone to death. Personally speaking, if I had to carry out this particular command, my son would be long gone (pu pu, hamsa hamsa), and I am pretty certain most parents of teenagers would be in similar straits.
Mishpat Tzedek, Compassionate Judgment

Sep 6, 2019

Mishpat Tzedek, Compassionate Judgment

The new month of Elul calls us to engage even more deeply in the daily practice of cheshbon hanefesh, soul-accounting, which is the primary Jewish spiritual practice in preparation for the Yamim Nora'im, the "Days of Awe." One rabbinic name for Rosh Hashanah is Yom HaDin, the "Day of Judgment," a term which may raise connotations of a day of harsh assessment, often triggering excessive guilt or shame. Many of us may find such judgment to be counterproductive to actually altering our behavior.
Every Choice You Make Makes You

Aug 30, 2019

Every Choice You Make Makes You

Truth be told, some Torah portions are more interesting than others. Many are replete with exciting narratives, heroes, heroines and intricate family relationships. Other portions are filled with listings of mitzvot(commandments), do’s and don’ts, geographic descriptions as well as spiritually uplifting words..
Live on Bread, But Not on Bread Alone

Aug 23, 2019

Live on Bread, But Not on Bread Alone

“A human being does not live on bread alone…” (Deut. 8:3) Found on inspirational posters, T-shirts, and in the titles of a great many cookbooks, this short statement constitutes one of the most well-known phrases from Eikev and from the Book of Deuteronomy as a whole. Colloquially, the phrase has come to mean that mere physical sustenance is not sufficient for a life of fulfillment; rather, people need and desire spiritual and cultural nourishment as well.
Healing Your Loneliness

Aug 16, 2019

Healing Your Loneliness

Never before in the history of the universe have humans been presented with the amount of social opportunities that are available to us today. On a local level, there are all sorts of social groups, clubs and communities. On a global level, affordable travel and social media has given us the opportunity to meet and interact with any amount of people we wish.
Devarim: The Power of Words

Aug 9, 2019

Devarim: The Power of Words

"What is the recurring disaster in our life? What is the unresolved element that keeps bringing us back to this same moment, over and over again? What is it that we keep getting wrong? What is it that we precisely refuse to look at, fail to see? The walls come down and suddenly we can see, suddenly we recognize the nature of our estrangement from God, and this recognition is the beginning of reconciliation…” ~ Alan Lew