Focus on Prayers

Va-ethannan: The "Jewish Faith."

Va-ethannan: The "Jewish Faith."
Do you have faith in G-d above if the Bible tells you so?   American songwriter Don MacLean posed this question in his 1971 rock music ballad “American Pie.”   For many, perhaps most, Jews, this question does not resonate ... Continue Reading »

Matot-Massei: Prayer as Refuge, Cities of Shema

Matot-Massei: Prayer as Refuge, Cities of Shema
This week’s Torah portion mandates the establishment of cities of refuge for accidental killers: Among the cities you shall give to the Levites, shall be six cities of refuge, which you shall provide [as places] to which a manslayer can flee... Continue Reading »

Shelach: Cutting the Cord?

Shelach: Cutting the Cord?
When Jews recite the Sh'ma and V'ahavtah, our custom is to gather the tassels (tzizit) of our Tallit and recite aloud the following verse from this week’s parasha, Shelach, (among others):  דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְ... Continue Reading »

Naso: The Enzyme of Blessings

Naso: The Enzyme of Blessings
The night before I commenced rabbinical school, I opened my new copy of The Complete Artscroll Siddur, an assigned text for my first class in Jewish liturgy.  The introductory essay by Rabbi Nosson Scherman included this intriguing sentence... Continue Reading »

Yitro: G-d and Satan discuss the 10 Commandments

Yitro: G-d and Satan discuss the 10 Commandments

G-d and His servant, Satan, were having another conversation. (Cross-ref. Book of Job).  G-d said: “I’m so proud of My Jewish people!  This Shabbat they’ll read Parashat Yitro, which includes what they call My “Ten Commandments.”  These are the core rules that set forth how I expect them to live, both in their relationship with Me and with each other.  They’ll even stand up while the Ten Commandments are read, which shows how important they consider them.” Satan was distinctly unimpressed. ...

Continue Reading »

Naso: G-d's Will?

Naso: G-d's Will?
Most of my synagogue experience has been in Reform schuls.  Near the end of Shabbat services, the rabbi and/or cantor recites the “threefold benedictions of Torah” – the Birkat-Kohanim (Priestly Blessings/Benediction):    
Continue Reading »

The Restroom Prayer

The Restroom Prayer
One of the most important goals of both Jewish prayer and ritual is to infuse spirituality and meaning into ordinary moments and actions. Our tradition asks/requires us to pray when we awaken, before and after eating, as we prepare to sleep … and a... Continue Reading »
Page 2 of 2First   Previous   1  [2]  Next   Last   

He who guards his mouth preserves his life
Proverbs 13:3