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 explore life through the lens of Torah through the entire year. Now that Pesach approaches, we pause and listen as this week we hear God's loving call as if For The First Time.
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."
Miriam and the women who followed her recognized that Israel would be unable to move forward until they forgave God for their suffering and their fear. So they sang of God desiring to share His power with them so that they too would be able to "hurl horse with rider into the sea," as Israel does to Amalek in the closing scene of the portion.
Our Matzah is not Shmurah if we are unconcerned with those who have nothing to eat, or no Seder to join.
Balak was furious. Balaam was defeated in his mind by a greater prophet, Moses, who would record Balaam's words and shame for eternity, despite not being present at the performances. Rather than perform his blessings or curses, Balaam projected a picture of the future with his ideas in it; he offers his vision of the End of Days (14) with all his hints to Israel's future failings hidden within his words of praise.
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,
It is impossible to be involved in life without somehow sensing endings. We need not be permanently scarred by our beginnings, nor scared of what seems to be the death of a relationship.
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.
Understanding time, tefillin, and Torah and how they inexorably lead to: Empowerment
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?
Displacement as motivation? Just ask Korach's sons.
Having 'real' vision permits an entirely different, improved view of events and the world.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
Revelation both Divine and self. Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach
Each prayer, each Shabbat, each festival, each mitzvah, is an opportunity to reconnect to that very different wedding at Sinai
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.
Reflections on "mirror images"
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?