Shabbat BaMidbar: Wilderness of Doubt

שָׁל֨וֹם ׀ שָׁל֜וֹם לָרָח֧וֹק וְלַקָּר֛וֹב אָמַ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה וּרְפָאתִֽיו׃ peace, peace to the far and to the near – Isaiah 57.19  This week our parashah records the beginning of the wandering of the Jewish people – for the Torah, the wandering lasted for 40 years, but in a real way, it has never ended. We wander … Continue reading

Shabbat BeHar-BeHukotai: Emet v’Emunah

“true and reliable” in the Age of Fake News אֵ֥לֶּה הַדְּבָרִ֖ים אֲשֶׁ֣ר תַּֽעֲשׂ֑וּ דַּבְּר֤וּ אֱמֶת֙ אִ֣ישׁ אֶת־רֵעֵ֔הוּ אֱמֶת֙ וּמִשְׁפַּ֣ט שָׁל֔וֹם שִׁפְט֖וּ בְּשַׁעֲרֵיכֶֽם׃You must speak the truth, and judge truthfully and fairly in all your dwelling placesZekharyah 8.16 The double parashah that we study this week, BeHar and BeHukotai, bring us to the end of the Book VaYikra (Leviticus). … Continue reading

Shabbat Tazria-Metzora: The Elixir of Life

 מִי-הָאִישׁ, הֶחָפֵץ חַיִּים Mi ha’Ish he’Hafetz Hayim? Who is the one who desires life? – Psalm 34.13 The early Shabbat morning prayers called p’sukei d’zimra (verses of song) are a way for us to  prepare spiritually to pull aside our Zoom veils and seek the presence of holiness together  They include some rather direct opportunities … Continue reading

Shabbat Shemini: You Can Rise Up

The fifty days between the two harvest festivals of Pesakh and Shavuot are traditionally counted. The daily count is called Sefirat haOmer, the “counting of the [barley] measure,” because in the unceasing toil of ancient agricultural subsistence, every day of the harvest was a time to count in gratitude and in hope for continuing harvest. … Continue reading