Shabbat Toldot: It Can Stop Here

Have you ever been vilified? Or known someone who was? We tend to shake our heads over the person as well as the process, decrying “cancel culture” but believing that the lashon hara’ must have some root in truth. Our parashat hashavua describes two brothers, twins, who are quite different. One loves the outdoors andContinue reading “Shabbat Toldot: It Can Stop Here”

Hayye Sarah: No One Gets Out Alive

וַיִּהְיוּ֙ חַיֵּ֣י שָׂרָ֔ה מֵאָ֥ה שָׁנָ֛ה וְעֶשְׂרִ֥ים שָׁנָ֖ה וְשֶׁ֣בַע שָׁנִ֑ים שְׁנֵ֖י חַיֵּ֥י שָׂרָֽה Sarah’s lifetime—the span of Sarah’s life—came to one hundred and twenty-seven years. (Genesis 23.1) Literally: “The life of Sarah was one hundred years and twenty years and seven years.” All that lives will die. Even you, even me. Despite exercise and diet. WhileContinue reading “Hayye Sarah: No One Gets Out Alive”

Shabbat VaYera: Community

Sodom and Gomorrah was a community too… תָּנֵי רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן יוֹחָאי, מָשָׁל לִבְנֵי אָדָם שֶׁהָיוּ יוֹשְׁבִין בִּסְפִינָה נָטַל אֶחָד מֵהֶן מַקְדֵּחַ וְהִתְחִיל קוֹדֵחַ תַּחְתָּיו, אָמְרוּ לוֹ חֲבֵרָיו מַה אַתָּה יוֹשֵׁב וְעוֹשֶׂה, אָמַר לָהֶם מָה אִכְפַּת לָכֶם לֹא תַחְתִּי אֲנִי קוֹדֵחַ,  Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai taught a parable: People were on a ship. One took aContinue reading “Shabbat VaYera: Community”

Shabbat No’akh: What A Mess

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר ה’ אֶמְחֶ֨ה אֶת־הָאָדָ֤ם אֲשֶׁר־בָּרָ֙אתִי֙ מֵעַל֙ פְּנֵ֣י הָֽאֲדָמָ֔ה מֵֽאָדָם֙ עַד־בְּהֵמָ֔ה עַד־רֶ֖מֶשׂ וְעַד־ע֣וֹף הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם כִּ֥י נִחַ֖מְתִּי כִּ֥י עֲשִׂיתִֽם׃ ‘ה said, “I will blot out from the earth humankind whom I created—humans together with beasts, creeping things, and birds of the sky; for I regret that I made them.” (Bereshit 6.7) At the end of last week’sContinue reading “Shabbat No’akh: What A Mess”

Kol Nidre 5783: Hatanu L’fanekha – What Reflects Back

I. What is Evil? On Rosh HaShanah I offered you a drasha on the idea of community, and how mitzvot are the links that create meaningful Jewish community. Of course! I want to talk about community – after not being together in the fullness of our Kehillah Kedoshah since March of 2020 (and for meContinue reading “Kol Nidre 5783: Hatanu L’fanekha – What Reflects Back”

Rosh HaShanah 5783: Identity and Kehillah

I. Individuality: just another word for nothing left to lose I’ve never done the Hineni prayer which is only for those who lead the prayers during the Days of Awe; it always seemed arrogant to hold myself apart from our community in that way. We all stand before Truth and Eternity equally.  Yet it’s alsoContinue reading “Rosh HaShanah 5783: Identity and Kehillah”

Shabbat Nitzavim: Who Is The Jewish Community?

כל ישראל ערבים זה בזה “All Israel are guarantors for each other” (Talmud Bavli, Shevuot 39a).  But a person cannot serve as a guarantor unless they is more resourceful in some way than the one they are guaranteeing. For example, a poor person obviously would not be accepted as a guarantor for a rich person’sContinue reading “Shabbat Nitzavim: Who Is The Jewish Community?”

Shabbat Ki Tavo: I wish this was over

בַּבֹּ֤קֶר תֹּאמַר֙ מִֽי־יִתֵּ֣ן עֶ֔רֶב וּבָעֶ֥רֶב תֹּאמַ֖ר מִֽי־יִתֵּ֣ן בֹּ֑קֶר מִפַּ֤חַד לְבָֽבְךָ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר תִּפְחָ֔ד וּמִמַּרְאֵ֥ה עֵינֶ֖יךָ אֲשֶׁ֥ר תִּרְאֶֽה׃ In the morning you shall say, “If only it were evening!” and in the evening you shall say, “If only it were morning!”—because of what your heart shall dread and your eyes shall see (Deuteronomy 28.67) Our parashat hashavua isContinue reading “Shabbat Ki Tavo: I wish this was over”

Shabbat Re’eh: Get It?

וְכׇל־הָעָם֩ רֹאִ֨ים אֶת־הַקּוֹלֹ֜ת וְאֶת־הַלַּפִּידִ֗ם וְאֵת֙ ק֣וֹל הַשֹּׁפָ֔ר וְאֶת־הָהָ֖ר עָשֵׁ֑ן וַיַּ֤רְא הָעָם֙ וַיָּנֻ֔עוּ וַיַּֽעַמְד֖וּ מֵֽרָחֹֽק All the people saw the thunder and lightning, the call of the shofar, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they fell back and stood at a distance. (Shemot 20.15) On this Shabbat we enter into the monthContinue reading “Shabbat Re’eh: Get It?”

Shabbat Ekev (delayed post): Shamor and Zakhor – You are not HaShem

שָׁמוֹר וְזָכוֹר בְּדִבּוּר אֶחָד הִשְׁמִיעָנוּ אֵל הַמְּיֻחָד “Keep” and “remember” in one utterance / we were caused to hear by the G*d that unifies (erev Shabbat song Lekha Dodi) We are making our way through the gorgeous rhetoric of the book Devarim, whose name in English (from Ecclesiastical Greek via Late Latin) sums up itsContinue reading “Shabbat Ekev (delayed post): Shamor and Zakhor – You are not HaShem”