Shabbat and Pesakh and more, oh my!

Hag sameakh! Today and tomorrow are hagim, holy days that end our Pesakh Festival. Jewish offices are closed today and tomorrow, and Passover ends tomorrow evening at sundown with the end of Shabbat. On this Shabbat, the Shemini or 8th day of the holiday, we depart from our usual Torah parashat hashavua (reading of the week) and readContinue reading “Shabbat and Pesakh and more, oh my!”

Shabbat Toldot: Trust, Despite Everything

In parashat Toldot we read of the birth of the twins Esau and Jacob, born to Rebekah and Isaac after years of trying to get pregnant, and much frustration and difficulty. The family that is created when the children are safely born seems to thrive: their parents succeed in helping their boys to find forContinue reading “Shabbat Toldot: Trust, Despite Everything”

Shabbat Ki Tisa: Those Who Stand And Wait

The middle third of the parashah on this Shabbat, Ki Tisa, begins with Moshe on Mt Sinai receiving the Word of G-d in the form of “tablets of testimony written with the finger of G-d.” (Exodus 31.18) At the same time the Israelites, who are waiting below in the valley, become restive. What’s taking soContinue reading “Shabbat Ki Tisa: Those Who Stand And Wait”

Shabbat Mishpatim: Equality Before the Law – For All of Us

Last week in parashat Yitro we stood together at Sinai, and entered into the covenant with our G-d as a community, all equally necessary, equally precious. The text itself expresses this in unspecific language: And Moses brought forth the people [et ha’am] out of the camp to meet God; and they stood at the nether partContinue reading “Shabbat Mishpatim: Equality Before the Law – For All of Us”

“Out of chaos He formed substance, making what is not into what is. He hewed enormous pillars out of ether that cannot be grasped.” – Sefer Yetzirah 2.6

Note the uncanny resemblance of these “enormous pillars” to the Hebrew letter shin which is used to indicate God’s protective Name Shaddai. The website Students for the Exploration and Development of Space explains: These eerie, dark pillar- like structures are actually columns of cool interstellar hydrogen gas and dust that are also incubators for newContinue reading ““Out of chaos He formed substance, making what is not into what is. He hewed enormous pillars out of ether that cannot be grasped.” – Sefer Yetzirah 2.6”