Home / The Latest / Friday Shabbat Shalom

Friday Shabbat Shalom

Spring Up, O Well

Jul 12, 2019

Spring Up, O Well

This parasha is dedicated to Rabbi Fred Klein and Miriam Rafael in celebration of their recent marriage in Israel Then Israel sang this song: “Spring up, O well—sing to it— The well which the chieftains dug, Which the nobles of the people started With maces, with their own staffs.” Then from Midbar to Mattanah [or from the desert—a gift!] (Numbers 21:17-18)
Consumption and Kedushah

Jul 5, 2019

Consumption and Kedushah

The portion of Korach is named for the rebellious Levite Korach who started a dispute over the issue of kedushah. The concept of kedushah is central in Judaism, and its meaning can have profound impact on the environment today. Kedushah or the corresponding adjective, kadosh, are usually translated obscurely as “sanctity” or “holy”; its real meaning is: devotion to a sublime ideal.
Slowly Healing the World

Jun 28, 2019

Slowly Healing the World

In Parashat Sh’lach, we are told the story of the spies who investigate the Land of Israel before the people enter and settle there. They return and report that though the land is bountiful, the people who dwell within it are strong, terrible, and cannot be overcome. Despite the lone protests of Caleb, who insists that the Israelites can indeed possess the land, the people of Israel are paralyzed with fear, begin to weep and defame God, and then insist on returning to Egypt. It is this rebellion that is punished by 40 years of desert wandering.
Ceding Control & Seizing It

Jun 21, 2019

Ceding Control & Seizing It

We often translate d’var torah to mean, “a teaching,” but it literally means, “a word of Torah.” In this d’var torah, let’s examine an actual word, just one: “ruach.” The word ruach in the literal sense means, “wind,” but it also can mean “spirit.” And in this week’s portion, Beha’alotcha, we surprisingly find both meanings, in distinct contexts.
The Spirituality of Eye Contact

Jun 14, 2019

The Spirituality of Eye Contact

There are few texts from the Torah more ubiquitous, more universally invoked than Birkat Kohanim: the Priestly Benediction. We Jews use it all the time. At weddings. And bat mitzvahs. At preschool graduation ceremonies. At the Shabbat dinner table. Indeed, it has become an integral element of our liturgy incorporated into the conclusion of the Amidah as part of the Birkat Shalom, the prayer for peace. And within the non-Jewish world, the three-stanza blessing has come to be such a central part of the service that most worshipers presume it is indigenous to the Christian tradition. But it is not. It comes right from Parashat Naso.
The Book of Our Life

Jun 7, 2019

The Book of Our Life

Jewish time is a beautiful thing. This week, we welcome Shabbatby opening a new book of Torah, Numbers, with the reading ofParshat Bemidbar. As Shabbatconcludes on Saturday evening we begin the festival of Shavuot,celebrating the receiving of Torahat Mt. Sinai. Shabbat begins with opening a new book, and as it concludes we find ourselves at the base of the mountain ready to renew the covenant with the Divine. The Torah contains within it the story of how we came to be and the essence of what we strive to become. Within the pages, and verses are the stories of our ancestors and the guiding principles of what it means to be Am Yisrael, the people of Israel. At Sinai, we became a link in a chain of tradition extending from generation to generation. We recall the stories, teach the values, and guide our lives by the precepts.
Chosen to be Choosers

May 31, 2019

Chosen to be Choosers

Parshat Bechukkotai opens with a conditional statement: If you faithfully follow in God’s ways, then you will be blessed. If you reject God’s ways, then you will experience punishment and curse. These consequences are referred to by the rabbis as tochecha/ rebuke, and it is customary for the Torah reader to read the passages outlining the curses quickly and quietly as if to protect the congregation from the uncomfortable nature of the curses.
Even Dirt Gets to Rest

May 24, 2019

Even Dirt Gets to Rest

We officially live in an era and a culture where we all try to impress each other with how busy we are at every moment, how much we accomplish and how hard we work. And due to smart phones, we are available 24/7 and we can be in touch with the world 24/7 too. The problem is human beings were not designed for this level of activity.
The Gift of Torah

May 17, 2019

The Gift of Torah

The ritual of counting days has become a spiritual practice where we imagine ourselves on a profound journey towards Sinai. We are encouraged to take time out of our daily routine to pause, to count, and to anticipate how much closer we are to standing once again at the base of Mount Sinai with our hearts open. On this Shabbat, as we are at the halfway point, halfway to Sinai, we ask ourselves: “How will I receive the gift of Torah this year?”
Entrances to Holiness

May 10, 2019

Entrances to Holiness

In this parsha is found a compendium of paths to holiness, including revering mother and father, Shabbat, making sacrifices, the rights of the poor, fair courts of law, handling anger, maintaining distinct categories, what we do with our bodies, respect for elders, fair commerce practices and so much more.