Home / The Latest / Friday Shabbat Shalom

Friday Shabbat Shalom

Expanding Our Circle of Caring

May 20, 2022

Expanding Our Circle of Caring

The small holiday of Lag BaOmer (the 33rd day of the counting of the Omer) occurred this week. It’s a break in the semi-“Lenten” time period between Passover and Shavuot when tradition forbids weddings and celebrations and asks Jews to adopt the custom of not shaving or cutting one’s hair as an act of mourning.
Brokenness: The Path to Growth

May 13, 2022

Brokenness: The Path to Growth

Over the centuries, most of humanity responded to the disabled in others ways, by turning their backs to them, preferring to blame them in some ways for their disabilities rather than make the effort to strengthen the human connection that binds each to all.
When Loving Is Difficult

May 6, 2022

When Loving Is Difficult

The name of the parsha is taken from the first important word at the outset of the portion (which is how all parshiot get their name)—Kedoshim Tehiyu/ Be holy! No one is entirely sure what the word Kedusha / Holiness means, but at bare minimum, it implies the elevation of human beings and our actions from animal-like to G!D-like.
The GOAT That Isn’t So Great

Apr 29, 2022

The GOAT That Isn’t So Great

The term "scapegoat" was apparently coined by William Tyndale, the first great English Bible translator, and has come to mean "someone whom people blame for their own misfortunes and even for their faults and sins--though the original notion of a scapegoat included the public acknowledgement by the community of its own transgressions."
Counting the Omer: The Next Phase of Our Spiritual Journey

Apr 21, 2022

Counting the Omer: The Next Phase of Our Spiritual Journey

This week, at the conclusion of Havdalah, we will bid farewell to Shabbat and the festival of Pesach, and begin a new journey, a spiritual ascent to Mt. Sinai. On the second night of Pesach, we began counting the omer, a spiritual exercise, as we prepare to receive the gift of Torah.
Slavery: Inside and Out

Apr 15, 2022

Slavery: Inside and Out

One of the more challenging questions about the seder - How do we make it relevant today? Here is one suggestion. Let’s start by discussing a well-known statement found in the Haggadah: “In every generation a person is required to see oneself as if he personally went out of Egypt.” How is it possible to do this? And why is this necessary?
Pesach: How to Preserve Our Freedom

Apr 8, 2022

Pesach: How to Preserve Our Freedom

The Pesach seder is an event filled with symbols that have dual and opposite meanings; likewise, there’s a subtext of argumentation. It’s ‘organized’ argumentation - like the Talmud - but built into the Haggadah (the “script’ of the seder) is debate and even conflict among the participants.
The Slap

Apr 1, 2022

The Slap

When I was 12, a few weeks before my Bat Mitzvah, I went in to meet with one of the rabbis of my synagogue. At the time, the synagogue newsletter included a “pasuk of the week,” a verse from that week’s Torah portion that was particularly interesting or thought provoking. However, as the rabbi confessed to me, the week of my bat mitzvah was to be the end of that custom. He just couldn’t find anything that fit the bill. That week’s parashah? Tazria.
Igniting The Fire Within Ourselves

Mar 25, 2022

Igniting The Fire Within Ourselves

While there is an ocean of difference between pagan Greek myth [of Icarus] and our Torah, often cross-cultural comparisons can be enlightening. Interestingly, the very hubris that motivated Icarus’s downfall is reflected in a different way in this week’s parashah (Shmini) in a story, which has troubled many.
Purim Redux: Jew vs. Haman Once Again

Mar 18, 2022

Purim Redux: Jew vs. Haman Once Again

As I write these words, I have just watched a young 44-year-old former comedian in an olive drab t-shirt address the Congress of the United States and indeed the world. It is a Churchillian moment, although he is speaking in Ukrainian, and this young political novice within weeks has not only become the voice of his people but has embodied the consciousness of the world.