“The self is not built to carry its own weight.” Social psychologist Roy Baumeister Our parashat hashavua is Bo, literally “come.” As we read at the beginning of the parashah: וַיֹּ֤אמֶר ה֙’ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה בֹּ֖א אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֑ה VaYomer HaShem el Moshe, “Bo el Par’oh.” HaShem said to Moses, “Come to Pharaoh.” The word bo is the singularContinue reading “Shabbat Bo: “Come” to Pharaoh”
Tag Archives: Kotzker Rebbe
Yom Kippur 5778: Who Shall I Say Is Calling?
In the late 1990s I had the opportunity to teach Jewish history to Jewish high school students. When we came to the part on anti-Semitism, every student in the class insisted to me they had never experienced anti-Semitism personally. I went around telling adults about it all over Portland’s Jewish community. Oh, yes, they allContinue reading “Yom Kippur 5778: Who Shall I Say Is Calling?”
the Month of Elul: Dreaming Like a Jew
Consider this story, from 19th century Poland, a time when Jews eagerly embraced modernity as a way out of persecution and oppression: A maskil, that is, a Jew who valued secular knowledge, and was, further, the kind of maskil who disdained Jewish teachings as primitive, went to the Kotzker Rabbi one day and said, “in the TalmudContinue reading “the Month of Elul: Dreaming Like a Jew”
Shabbat Terumah: Making a Place for God
We have left Egypt, and at the foot of Mt. Sinai we have witnessed a great and ineffable moment of connection with That Which Cannot Be Named, and which nevertheless worked to link all of us together with certainty in that mystery. We were going forward together, as a people. But not yet. In thisContinue reading “Shabbat Terumah: Making a Place for God”