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”

Shabbat Nakhamu: Finding Consolation

Even as it is necessary to make space in our lives to grieve, so it is necessary to make space to feel joy. Our parashat hashavua, called Va’Etkhanan after a word specific enough to help us find our place in the unmarked wilderness of letters which is a Torah scroll, sets up the tension. וָאֶתְחַנַּ֖ןContinue reading “Shabbat Nakhamu: Finding Consolation”

Shabbat Hazon: Making Room to Mourn, Because the World is Broken

Those who mourn with Jerusalem will be privileged to celebrate with her – Ta’anit 30b This Shabbat is Tisha B’Av, the 9th day of the month of Av. Because it falls on Shabbat, we will observe Tisha B’Av on Sunday 10 Av, rather than tomorrow which is the 9th of the month (and Tisha B’AvContinue reading “Shabbat Hazon: Making Room to Mourn, Because the World is Broken”

Shabbat Matot-Masei: Rosh Hodesh Av

It’s not the actual act of violence; it’s the conditions that cause it. Conditions that we either contribute to, or have the power to interrupt, with each small act of our own everyday lives.  Today is Rosh Hodesh Av 5782. On the Jewish spiritual calendar, today is the first day of the month of Av,Continue reading “Shabbat Matot-Masei: Rosh Hodesh Av”

Shabbat Pinhas: Violence Begins At Home

מִפְּנֵי מָה חָרַב? מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהָיְתָה בּוֹ שִׂנְאַת חִנָּם “why was the Second Temple destroyed? It was destroyed due to the fact that there was sin’at hinam, senseless hatred, among us” – BT Yoma 9.a This week in the Torah our parashah is profoundly disturbing. Last week’s final lines described what our tradition has defined as an “extrajudicial execution” undertaken by a member ofContinue reading “Shabbat Pinhas: Violence Begins At Home”