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Friday Shabbat Shalom

Learning to Accept Reality

Dec 6, 2019

Learning to Accept Reality

One of the most heartbreaking things that humans do to themselves and others is to refuse to accept the reality we are given and cannot change. In Parashat Vayeitzei, we see this dynamic played out so clearly between sisters Rachel and Leah. Older sister Leah is the first wife of Yaakov/Jacob, but less loved.
LOOKING vs SEEING

Nov 29, 2019

LOOKING vs SEEING

What's the difference between looking and seeing? EVERYTHING! As we see in this week's Parshat Toldot, "when Yitzhak (Isaac) was old and his eyes were too dim to see," (Genesis 27:1) he calls his eldest son Eisav (Esau) to confer his blessing and clan leadership on him. Sadly, this isn't the first instance of Yitzhak not really seeing.
Living You Teach, and Dying, You Also Teach

Nov 22, 2019

Living You Teach, and Dying, You Also Teach

The death of a mother is fundamental. For me, there is forever a rift in my heart now that my mother has passed into another, non-physical stage of existence. When I tore my shirt in keeping with the traditional understanding of the ritual of kriyah (literally: tearing), it felt right. It embodied on the outside what I was experiencing on the inside.
Hineini: Here I am

Nov 15, 2019

Hineini: Here I am

G!D asks him to take his son, his precious one, Isaac, to a mountain in the land of Moriah, which means “the land of seeing”, and offer him there as a burnt offering. What a paradox! This is the son that G!D has said will be the inheritor of Abraham's line and his legacy, but how is it possible to have an heir after the heir has been sacrificed?
Lech Lecha Liminality

Nov 8, 2019

Lech Lecha Liminality

Like Abraham and Sarah at the opening of Bereishit/Genesis 12, we too are traveling to an unknown land and looking at an uncertain future. “Lech Lecha- Go forth from your native land and from your father's house to the land that I will show you," says the Holy One.
The World Must Be Our Ark

Nov 1, 2019

The World Must Be Our Ark

This story of global destruction, human sin and righteousness demands re-reading in light of our current reality. One theme is clear: the complete interdependence between humans and the natural world. Human behavior pollutes and then dooms the entire world.
Do Your Things Own You?

Oct 25, 2019

Do Your Things Own You?

So many people look at Genesis, Chapter 1 in Parashat Bereisheet, as a simple, fairy-tale kind of story. It’s the kind of narrative we teach in Early Childhood classrooms and have small children create lovely artwork around. For many people, it’s certainly not as compelling or “true” as the Big Bang Theory or the Theory of Evolution.
Simchat Torah is One Antidote to Anti-Semitism

Oct 18, 2019

Simchat Torah is One Antidote to Anti-Semitism

As we memorialize the Pittsburgh Attack this weekend, recalling the worst anti-Semitic act committed in recent memory, we search for comfort, meaning and a way to respond. What can I do to address something that seems so much bigger than I am? How can I make a difference? What is the best means to fight anti-Semitism? I am not sure that there is a “best” answer to these questions, but I do think there are steps I can take.
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?