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Friday Shabbat Shalom

It’s Been a Year!

Feb 26, 2021

It’s Been a Year!

I remember that last year on Purim, we were aware of Covid-19, but not yet panicked. Our lives were still moving forward routinely. My family went to synagogue and celebrated Purim as we normally would - with our community, with raucous, shared fun and celebration. In big, crowded rooms filled with lots of people. A day later...
Becoming a Dwelling Place for the Divine

Feb 19, 2021

Becoming a Dwelling Place for the Divine

While I deeply appreciate and honor the ‘engineering’ aspect of the building of the Mishkan, and the significance of all the specifications and details, I have come to understand the building of the Mishkan as akin to a four-direction compass for the spiritual infrastructure of the Jewish people. In the current state of mayhem and upheaval that we are all experiencing, this compass allegory is especially important today.
So Poor You Sell Your Daughter

Feb 12, 2021

So Poor You Sell Your Daughter

Sometimes when we read the parsha (weekly Torah portion), we are jolted by the disparity between the modern, privileged lives we live in the 21st century and the reality reflected in the Torah and the world in which it appeared. Parashat Mishpatim (Shemot/Exodus 21-24) this week gives us a lot of material to consider.
Family Layers

Feb 5, 2021

Family Layers

My distinguished father-in-law Richard has been an important person in my life for almost fifty years. I was a very young freshman in college when we met. An ardent believer and lover of Torah, I was also not very skilled or self-confident about expressing my opinions. This made it all the more challenging when the first thing he said to me after being introduced was: “I cannot fathom how anyone could believe in a God that would ask Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac.” This was not what I was expecting to hear as I stood next to my boyfriend and tried to smile sweetly.
G!D Taught Him a Tree (?!?)

Jan 29, 2021

G!D Taught Him a Tree (?!?)

What is remarkable is not the behavior of the Israelites; rather, God’s response is what ought to capture our attention. Let us look again, a bit more closely than we did before: “the people grumbled against Moses, saying, ‘What shall we drink?’ So he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood; he threw it into the water and the water became sweet.”
What is so punishing about darkness?

Jan 22, 2021

What is so punishing about darkness?

In Parshat Bo, we meet the final plagues of the ten meted out to the Egyptians. Before the last plague of the killing of the first-born males in the Egyptian households, God instructs Moses to deliver one penultimate punishment: darkness - choshech. But this darkness is not merely the dark of the night. It is called choshech afela - a thick darkness.
You Are Not Free Until You Are at Home

Jan 15, 2021

You Are Not Free Until You Are at Home

Moshe, in the cliffhanger at the end of Parashat Shemot, was demoralized by the Hebrew slaves’ apathy towards their impending freedom. He was devastated by Pharaoh’s tightening the screws on the slaves and increasing their suffering to crush Moshe’s initiative (Exodus 5:6-6:1).
The Moral Limits to Power

Jan 8, 2021

The Moral Limits to Power

This week's Torah portion, Shemot, could be entitled "the birth of a leader." We see Moses, adopted by Pharaoh's daughter, growing up as a prince of Egypt. We see him as a young man, for the first time realising the implications of his true identity.
Why Is It So Hard?

Dec 25, 2020

Why Is It So Hard?

One of the hardest things that human beings are called upon to wrestle with is: Forgiveness. In Parshat Vayigash we have one of the finest models of it in how Yosef/ Joseph deals with his brothers.
Making Dreams a Reality

Dec 18, 2020

Making Dreams a Reality

This week's parasha, Miketz, and last week's parasha, Vayeishev, have the running theme of dreams. You'll recall that Yosef (Joseph) proclaims two dreams he has about his and his family's future --the bowing sheaves and the sun/moon/stars. Then later in life, Yosef listens to the dreams of Paro's (Pharoah's) chief cupbearer and chief baker who are imprisoned with him. And finally after being hauled out of prison, Paro himself tells Yosef his own dream that foreshadows the future for the entire nation of Egypt (7 fat cows/years, 7 lean cows/years).