Shabbat Miketz: All of a Sudden, Change

You know where you stand, you know your path forward, you’ve spent time deciding what your future is going to look like. And then something happens, all of a sudden, and your plans….they get eaten up like the seven fat cows of Pharaoh’s dream. Every year we read parashat Miketz on a Shabbat that coincidesContinue reading “Shabbat Miketz: All of a Sudden, Change”

Shabbat VaYeshev: Return, O Light, and We will Return to You

This is as dark as it’s going to get. From here on out, the light of the sun returns to us, slowly, day by day. Darkness settles on us human beings like an oppressive cloak. Like Jacob and his sons in our parashat hashavua, we might even lose our grip on what’s real, and what’sContinue reading “Shabbat VaYeshev: Return, O Light, and We will Return to You”

Shabbat VaYishlakh: Gratitude, Not Fear

As Parashat VaYishlakh begins, Jacob survives a confrontation with his brother Esau, from whom he has been estranged for twenty years – a generation, a lifetime, of distance. Jacob has prepared himself for the worst, splitting his family into two camps and sending lavish gifts to his brother in advance – according to the Midrash, heContinue reading “Shabbat VaYishlakh: Gratitude, Not Fear”

Shabbat VaYetze: Backyard Mitzvot Will Change the World

This is the parashah of the “baby wars”. Leah and Rakhel, sisters and also wives of Yakov, strive against each other to bear more children. In the triennial system in which we are reading Year Two, Rakhel’s dramatic declaration and Yakov’s reply reveal the intensity: וַתֵּרֶא רָחֵל כִּי לֹא יָלְדָה לְיַעֲקֹב וַתְּקַנֵּא רָחֵל בַּאֲחֹתָהּ וַתֹּאמֶר אֶל-יַעֲקֹבContinue reading “Shabbat VaYetze: Backyard Mitzvot Will Change the World”

Calling upon the President-Elect to Pursue Justice: Oregon Board of Rabbis Statement

Pray for the peace of the place in which you live; build houses and live in them, plant gardens and eat their fruit. – Jeremiah 29.7 Since the election, there has been an increase of hate crimes around our great nation. The Oregon Board of Rabbis is disturbed by this trend. A key part of ourContinue reading “Calling upon the President-Elect to Pursue Justice: Oregon Board of Rabbis Statement”

Shabbat Toldot: The Unraveling

This Shabbat we read parashat Toldot. Two boys are born to Rebekah and Isaac. Esau and Jacob are twins, born together – Jacob’s name reflects the fact that he is born holding on to his brother’s heel. Surely they will grow up to be close. But they grow up very differently. Esau loves the outdoors,Continue reading “Shabbat Toldot: The Unraveling”