When Marcia and I were in Los Angeles a few weeks ago, we would take a half mile walk outside with my sister to a local coffee shop. We did this a few times. I don’t think any of us really needed the coffee mocha. We just wanted to walk and talk and stroll through the neighborhood around my parents’ home. In all the years they lived there, we had never taken that walk and seen the quaint and beautiful homes, manicured lawns and beautiful flowers. But that is another story, though related to this one. It was good to get outside in the fresh air. More
Today is the first of Nisan, reminding us that Passover is just two weeks away. There has been talk online that, on Passover night, many will refer to COVID-19 as a plague equivalent to the ten disasters God inflicted on Egypt, including swarms of locusts, hordes of frogs, a scourge of boils, pestilence of livestock, and the death of firstborn sons. Might I suggest we not do that.
The novel coronavirus is an epidemic disease, and now, a pandemic because it has spread around the world. And, like a plague, it is causing widespread affliction, as well as pain, loss, and distress. So, shall we liken it to the biblical plagues of our ancestors? I should say not. More
Delivered by Julia Berg, Rabbinic Student, on January 31, 2020
You want to know what stresses me out? Deli menus. There’s no way I’m alone in this. Delis are amazing, don’t get me wrong. I do love delis. They’re some of the few places that know just how amazing French toast is when made with Challah. They serve breakfast all day long! Matzah ball soup year round. There’s something about the deli vibe that just feels comforting. However, when the waiter hands me a menu I do tense up a little. More
Imagine living under the tutelage of a master teacher, preparing for your profession. You are perhaps unsure that you are suited for the job, but with enough coaching, you gain the confidence needed to be the leader that those around you assure you that you are. You gain a following. You put aside the humility that you once had, and you assume leadership and convince thousands of people that you will lead them to a brighter future. You conduct your own campaign, going door to door to talk to the people about the future.
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