Mishpatim: It's "That Time of Month."

Mishpatim: It's "That Time of Month."
This Shabbat, Mishpatim, is also “Shabbat Mevarechim” -- the Shabbat on which “we bless.”    What do we bless (or sanctify)?  The new month that begins during the coming week.  In this case, the mon... Continue Reading »

Yitro: The Most Jewish Thing We Can Do.

Yitro: The Most Jewish Thing We Can Do.
What's “the most Jewish thing” we can do?   Say the Sh’ma?  Light and bless Shabbat candles?  Fast on Yom Kippur?   Keep kosher? Tell a Jewish joke?  (For the latter, see Pew Report opinions). Gi... Continue Reading »

Beshallach: Has your rabbi ever asked you this?

Beshallach: Has your rabbi ever asked you this?
When was the last time your rabbi -- indeed, any Jew – inquired about your relationship with G-d?  I suspect that the answer is “never.”   What would you say/how would you feel if he/she did so?  Would you be at a ... Continue Reading »
Jan 10

Bo: The Karet and the Stick

Bo: The Karet and the Stick
[Given at Kehillat Moreshet Yisrael, Jerusalem, 12/31/2013 – 28 Tevet 5774] Motzei Shabbat, I attended a lecture by Rabbi Dr. Daniel Gordis in which he discussed some of the implications of the Pew Report.  Perhaps his most interesting ... Continue Reading »

Va'era: More Justice, More Jews!

[D'var Torah given to Kehilat Moreshet Yisrael, Jerusalem, December 28, 2013] In this week’s parasha, Va’era.  G-d instructs Moses to assure the Israelites that G-d has heard their cries.  G-d speaks the famous lines that... Continue Reading »
Dec 27

Sh'mot: No Harm, No Foul

Sh'mot: No Harm, No Foul
When Moses approaches the burning bush, G-d instructs him to remove his sandals because he stands upon “holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5).  But G-d doesn’t explain why Moses shouldn’t wear sandals upon holy ground.  Why not... Continue Reading »

Yayechi. Tradition: A Democracy of the Dead

Yayechi. Tradition: A Democracy of the Dead
Twice in this week’s Torah portion, Vayechi, the last in the book of Genesis, the dying extract promises from those who will outlive them.  First, Jacob solicits Joseph’s promise to remove his bones from Egypt and bury them in the Pr... Continue Reading »

Vayigash: "It's a Wonderful Life."

Vayigash: "It's a Wonderful Life."
According to the 1946 “holiday” classic that airs (“cables?”) on TV this time of year, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”    But that’s not what Jacob told Pharaoh at their single meeting, briefly re... Continue Reading »
Dec 05

Miketz: "If you will it, it is no dream."

Miketz: "If you will it, it is no dream."
Sixty-six years ago today (as I write this on November 29, 2013), one of the most momentous dreams in Jewish history came true.  In 1897, just after his First Zionist Congress had concluded, Theodor Herzl wrote in his diary:  "At Basle... Continue Reading »
Nov 29

Thanksgiving: More than a Gratitude Attitude

Thanksgiving: More than a Gratitude Attitude
Gratitude is central to Jewishness.  The very word “Jew” in Hebrew, “Yehudi,” is a form of the word “Todah” – thank you.  It’s not surprising, therefore, that, in our tradition, the first thin... Continue Reading »
Nov 27
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A bird that you set free may be caught again, but a word that escapes your lips will not return.
Jewish Proverb