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."
Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, the teacher of the Zohar who we honor on Lag B'Omer, plants seeds of infinite growth in our minds so each of us can begin our time travel with Torah with a taste of her eternally expanding wisdom embedded in our souls
In this week's portion, the man, having been officially declared impure, is now ready for the end of his nightmare beginning his process of purification--on the sidelines.
Our Matzah is not Shmurah if we are unconcerned with those who have nothing to eat, or no Seder to join.
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.
Torah is to be taught as healing, as a relationship, as nurturing. It is this Torah I love and that gives me life.
Moshe was leading them, and I suspect that he knew exactly where to go. The cloud was not a GPS, it was a reminder of the benefit of having our heads in the clouds: The cloud was an invitation to extend their reach, to remind them that each time they
It is Judah's honesty that triggers Joseph's decision to reveal his identity.
Who are these beings? Men to Avraham; Angels to Lot. Why do they play such important roles in Genesis? Why are the stories of the beginnings of humanity so rich with unfamiliar characters?
God doesn't need a slave to order and say: Build an ark! He could have made it in a second. God desires a partner. It is up to us to rise to that role. Noah's greatness was that he figured it out.
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?
I wish all of us, parents and teachers, would listen to everything our children ask and say. I dream of our hearing them so well that we can begin to visualize and relate to them as who they can be when they fulfill all their potential.
" Nachamu, Nachamu, is not a repetition, but a Song of Act Two--uf new beginnings and of hope.
On my watch
Yes, things change, sometimes too quickly to comprehend, unless we realize that all the Sh'vilei Emunah, Paths of Faith, offer opportunities to explore new paths and discover how each can take us back to Sinai.
When the Torah constantly asks that its words "Be new in our eyes, as if we are receiving the Torah today," it is not simply asking that we are open to a new reading of a verse, or application of a law. The Torah is asking us to live in a state of Paradigm Shift, a life in which our approach to prayer changes each day, as should our approach to all the commandments and texts.
We stand everyday as did Nadav and Avihu, searching to elevate our actions into meaning, desperate to 'make a difference," trying to get the heavens into our heads
Moses was stuck outside the Tabernacle with the people who built it. He understood at that moment the message of the Half Shekel, or, my fifty cents. He was not standing as the great Moses or the awesome Moses who could meet with God in Heaven. He stood outside as one of the people who all contributed a Half Shekel, fifty cents. It was at that moment that Moses became the most humble of men. I can almost hear the coins jingling in his pocket.
"The Lord settles lonely individuals into the House (Psalms 68:7)." His House that "dwells in the heart of each individual" is meant to provide a place for the lonely; those disconnected from themselves
I love and, am energized by, wrapping myself in my Tallit (Prayer Shawl), and tying on my Tefillin (Phylacteries) because of their message. I focused this morning on whether I had the ability to energize them, whether I could wear them as a celebration of my growth, and found myself vibrating with their energy.
I can see how much I have and celebrate my plenty by bringing a small slice of heaven to others who have even less.
Absolute truth is dangerous in the hands of people who do not realize how much they do not know. Just as I cringe when someone declares that he knows the reason for the Holocaust, I shudder when people authoritatively declare people they don't know to be heretics and sinners. Knowing that I don't know opens the door to listening and learning, an opportunity to discover more about God, people, and me.
I finished reading that the Israeli chief rabbinate invalidating numerous conversions, opened the weekly portion, and enjoyed a hearty chuckle when I remembered that the portion of Revelation and the Ten Statements is named for a convert, a failed one, Yitro. Things sure have changed.
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.
Where is our Exodus? If the question is about miraculous salvation and the punishment of our enemies, I have no answer. If the question is a quest for experiencing greatness, the answer is the Mitzvot
God hears, and responds. God hears our prayers, and in so doing, gives voice to a powerful message of love. Can you hear it?
Each prayer, Shabbat, Torah study and Mitzvah offer us, in our imperfections, to connect with the Eternal. Jacob insists that we first reject the shame we've carried since Adam and Eve, and understand that there is a place in Paradise even for the imperfect.
Could Judah REALLY expect the Viceroy to grasp his subtle threats and insults when translated? He didn't.
Could Judah really expect the Viceroy to grasp his subtle threats & insults when translated? He didn't.