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Friday Shabbat Shalom

The Power of Words

Aug 5, 2022

The Power of Words

"These are the words, the words that brought us here, the words that shaped this hard place we have come to know and yet, in this place words escape us." - Rebecca Minkus-Lieberman | Tisha B’Av/ The 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av marks the day of destruction of both the 1st and 2nd Temples and many other disasters that have befallen the Jewish people. This weeks Dvar is a kavannah for Parshat Devarim, and Tisha B'av (observed this coming Sunday).
Why Travel?

Jul 29, 2022

Why Travel?

Now that we are “vaxxed” and boosted, many of us have just taken trips or are scheduling time to travel after a few years of laying low due to Covid-19. And this, coincidentally mirrors some of our Torah portion for this week…
The Crown All Can Wear

Jul 22, 2022

The Crown All Can Wear

Moses was in sight of the Angel of Death. Miriam had died. So had Aaron. And God had told Moses “you too will be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was.” (Num. 27:12–13), so he knew he was not fated to live long enough to cross the Jordan and enter the land. Who would be his successor? Did he have any thoughts on the matter?
Not Seeing Is The Sin

Jul 15, 2022

Not Seeing Is The Sin

This week’s Torah portion is mostly the story of Balak, the king of the nation Moab, who hires the prophet Balaam to curse the Israelites, whom he perceives as a threat. Balaam then discovers that the power of blessing and cursing is God’s alone.
Shrouded In Mystery

Jul 8, 2022

Shrouded In Mystery

This week’s Torah portion, Chukat (Numbers 19 - 21), begins with a detailed description of the ritual of the red heifer... the Torah calls this ritual a chok - a decree, meaning a law, which defies human logic... the procedure is shrouded in mystery and is enigmatic. The intention is to purify those that are ritually impure. In the process, however, the individuals who facilitate the ritual of purification become impure themselves!
Korach Leadership: Taker or Giver?

Jul 1, 2022

Korach Leadership: Taker or Giver?

This week's parashah, Korach, begins with the words "Korach took / vayikach Korach." Since the verb is not followed by a direct object, the commentators wonder what it is he took. Furthermore, Korach did not take alone -- Datan and Abiram are subjects in that sentence, as well; yet the verb וַיִּקַּח is in the singular…
The Big Lie

Jun 24, 2022

The Big Lie

Twelve scouts are asked to go stealthily into the Land of Israel and look around. They return with samples of its rich produce: clusters of grapes, pomegranates, and figs and set them down in front of Moses and Aaron and the assembly. And then, instead of describing all that they had seen, an alternative reality is delivered as described in B’Midbar / Numbers 13:26-33
G!Ds Spirit Rests On You

Jun 17, 2022

G!Ds Spirit Rests On You

This week's parsha, Beha'alotcha, recounts a curious incident, recounts a curious incident... the Holy One tells Moshe to gather 70 elders, Joshua and himself and enter the Tent of Meeting so that G!D can deliver a message. Then "[t]he Lord came down in a cloud and spoke to Moshe and took of the spirit that was on him and put it on the 70 elders. And when the spirit of G!D rested upon them, they began to prophesy." (Bamidbar/Numbers 11:24-25) So what does it mean they began to prophesy?
We Need Blessing!

Jun 10, 2022

We Need Blessing!

One of the most exciting parts of Parashat Naso, this week’s Torah portion, is the inclusion of the three-part blessing recited by the Cohanim… These blessings have become central to many parts of our liturgy and are included in the repetition of the Musaf Amidah either by the Cantor, or in some traditional synagogues, by Cohanim (descendants of priests) themselves, to bless the people using this ancient biblical ritual…
Naomi and Ruth: The Vulnerability of Women & Immigrants

Jun 3, 2022

Naomi and Ruth: The Vulnerability of Women & Immigrants

On all of the Festivals, the custom arose among Jews that various biblical scrolls (megillot) are read in keeping with a particular overlapping theme echoed in the holiday and the chosen piece of writing. On Shavuot this coming weekend, Megillat Rut / the Scroll of Ruth is read, ostensibly because the barley harvest is a key plot line...