With a sliver of the moon in the night sky, allowing us a greater glimpse of the stars in heaven, we begin this new month like all other months. The difference is that this month of Tishrei begins with a name and not with the number “1.” It is called “Rosh Hashanah.” “Day of Judgment.” The number of a day of the month is just part of a sequence. A name seeks for you to ponder as to the origin and meaning of it. I propose that we look upon our Rosh Hashanah, our Day of Judgment differently than in year’s past. It is not God who is judging your past deeds; rather, it is you who will judge your future steps.
About Rabbi Louchheim
Posts by Rabbi Thomas Louchheim:
M’kor Chayeinu, Source of our lives, we stand together before You.
We stand in fear of a world that appears at times to be harsh and unkind. We tremble at uncertainty as to what the future may bring. And yet,
We are thankful for health, for family, and for friends.
Dearest Friends of the Tucson Jewish community,
It seems to me that many of you have forgotten the training we all received when we were children. Remember the nurse at school who taught you two important rules: 1) Wash your hands, and 2) Don’t put something in your mouth if you don’t know where it came from! Let’s pay attention to Rule #2, shall we?
Moses was on top of Mount Sinai for quite some time. The people grew impatient when he was “delayed in coming down from the mountain” (32:1), and they asked Aaron to make an idol for them. But why does Aaron tell the men, “Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives” (32:2)? Rashi explains that Aaron did this because the women will resist, not willing to give up their jewelry, and create a delay. This would give Moses time to arrive in time. More
You shall command the Children of Israel to bring you pure beaten oil for a light, to cause the lamp to burn continually (Exodus 27:20).
Abraham Saba (1440-1508), the Tzror HaMor, taught, “Israel is likened to an olive, which yields up its oil only when it is crushed, for Israel reveals its true virtues only when it is made to suffer.” This is not surprising coming from a rabbi who lived during the expulsion of Jews from Spain. More
“And let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among [within] them” (Exodus 25:8).
I found this teaching among my resources: Every soul is a chamber for God, a vessel that contains the divine light. This is the message the Hasidic masters repeatedly associate with the Tabernacle, built by the Israelites in the desert. The details of its construction are complex and vast, much like Ikea furniture arriving on your doorstep with the instruction: “Some assembly required.”More
Every Saturday, the Torah is read, and then it is interpreted by the rabbi. In the Torah portion, Yitro, the people receive the Torah from Mount Sinai. In this story, who do you suppose is the “Torah reader” and who is the “Torah interpreter”? Almost everyone responds that the Torah reader is God. And they would be wrong!More
“And the children of Israel went up armed out of the land of Egypt, and Moses took the bones of Joseph with him…” (Exodus 13:18-19)
What were the weapons that the Israelites took with them? Rabbi Moshe Meiselman, nephew and student of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, teaches that the armament was comprised of the bones of Joseph. More
And the Eternal said to Moses, Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may be felt. And Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days; they saw not one another, nor any rose from his place for three days. But Israelites had light in places where they lived (Exodus 10:21-23).
But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that I may multiply My signs and marvels in the land of Egypt (Exodus 7:3).
This is one of ten references in this portion to either God hardening Pharaoh’s heart or Pharaoh himself hardening his heart. The rabbis taught that God was destined to harden Pharaoh’s heart to punish him for the 400 years of cruel bondage he imposed on the Israelites. More