On Parshat Vayeishev with a nod to Chanukah.
There are many who celebrate the wise, the heroes, and the mystics, and they forget that we must also celebrate the typically non-celebrated, the people who keep the spirit alive, the very spirit that nurtures the more celebrated.
Esau handled the meeting with Jacob far more grace than most people manage an argument with a spouse. Not bad behavior for a person we are taught is one of the most evil biblical characters!
Jacob did not have problems with 'doorways.' He experienced one emotional earthquake after another, and managed to maintain focus. No 'event boundary' issues for our hero. How did he do it?
Reflections on "mirror images"
"A father of philosophy, the father of the Hebrews and his slave get together,,," sounds like the start of an ancient joke but read on...
Who are these beings? Why do they play such important roles in the stories of Genesis? Why are the stories of the beginnings of humanity so rich with characters so unfamiliar?
When we are driven out of our complacency by a wrong we don't know what the perfect world will look like. We only know that we can't allow the world as it stands to continue. The need to leave home is clearer to us than our destination. Lekh Lekha.
Adam's two Fermatas resonate in the two Noahs, and the notes continue to reverberate in our souls as we struggle to retain our connection to the Garden,
The Spartans used their mistakes as lessons for the future. Pinocchio chose to ignore the lessons and continue to do as he pleased. Who are we on Yom Kippur, Spartans or Pinocchio?
When we understand that the greatest expression of God's might is God's compassion, we open ourselves to receive the gift of Lives of Compassion. Once we have been granted Lives of Compassion; compassion for others and for ourselves we can become a society united in compassion, and wickedness will evaporate.
We stand in the final moments of 5777, prepared to transition to 5778, perfect moments to offer our gift to God, honoring all we have gained over the past year, and how we intend to apply that growth in the future, using the coming year to grow in ways yet unimaginable to us.
We glorify God, not in numbers, but in expansiveness. We too, are bringing our First Fruits when we're not busy battling each other over what is ours or who speaks the truth. Our Bikkurim begin with affording room for people to explore and grow.
Once I learned to treat every person I meet as more than chance and as an opportunity, I was able to expand my collection of superheroes.
The primary quality of anyone judging another is that the judge first know how to judge himself. If he cannot honestly examine his own behavior, how can he possibly judge someone else's?
This week's portion, Re'ei, speaks of our need for a sense of place, how difficult it often is to find, and how we must protect others' sense of place. It also addresses the sanctity of the Land of Israel
Re'ei is about the opportunity to restore the 'Hearing To See; rejected by Adam and Eve, and again by Israel at Revelation. If we master the higher hearing of Eikev, we will be granted the clear Vision offered in Re'ei.
The Tisha b'Av experience is a spiritual affliction, "Acedia," a "sadness, a disgust with life, which comes from our inability to get along with ourselves, our disunion with God."
The Tribes of Israel knew that Moses would die because he told them. Why tell them and force them to confront their fear of life after Moses just BEFORE a major battle?
The challenge of these Three Weeks leading to Tisha b'Av? Learning to see the hope beyond the suffering,developing the vision of a healed world, so that we too can find the right words in our mouths to share our vision
Balaam, the dedicated thespian, could not overpower the prophecy of Moses because Moses was not a performer. Moses saw his role as building the stage on which his people, present and future, would perform.
Our portion is about lives in which we experience moments of greatness and moments of insignificance; accomplishments and failures; Torah is not only for the 'perfect' person; It guides and nurtures the rest of us as well.
A nation lacking a consistent message will not flourish, and will ultimately lose its sense of safety and elevation. Even a beautifully motivated desire must be measured by its affect on the future.
I can empathize with the Children of Israel wanting to send spies to see the land they were to conquer. Once they could see with x-ray vision, "The entire people saw the thunder...the sound of the shofar" but now, no longer
Moses acted properly in his role of prophet but he failed in his role as a husband; he did not see Tziporah's suffering, her black cloud.
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