Parashat Vayishlach- December 14, 2019- 16 Kislev 5780

December 12th, 2019|Comments Off on Parashat Vayishlach- December 14, 2019- 16 Kislev 5780

“Jacob came to Luz in the land of Canaan; that is Bet El, he and all the people who were with him. He built there an altar and called the place El Bet El.” With these words, the Bible informs us that Jacob is the first to have made a promise (in this case 20 years [...]

Parashat Vayeitzei- December 7, 2019 – 9 Kislev 5780

December 11th, 2019|Comments Off on Parashat Vayeitzei- December 7, 2019 – 9 Kislev 5780

Star Trek, the classic sci-fi show, featured a recurring reference to the “Prime Directive.” This was a rule, binding upon the show’s heroes, which forbade their interference in the internal affairs of the civilizations which they encountered as they explored new star systems and worlds. The idea was to allow these civilizations to develop naturally, untainted [...]

Parashat Chaye Sarah – November 23, 2019 – 25 Cheshvan 5780

November 21st, 2019|Comments Off on Parashat Chaye Sarah – November 23, 2019 – 25 Cheshvan 5780

This week’s Torah reading begins with the death of Sarah but concludes with the death of Abraham. At his death, Abraham’s life is characterized as having been full of satisfaction. How so? Satisfaction suggests goals met and plans fulfilled. Abraham’s life, on the other hand, was punctuated by disruption and derailment. A conventional life going into [...]

Parashat Lech Lecha – November 9, 2019 – 11 Cheshvan 5780

November 8th, 2019|Comments Off on Parashat Lech Lecha – November 9, 2019 – 11 Cheshvan 5780

According to the Talmud,  “One who designates a place for his prayer, the God of Abraham assists him… and how do we know that Abraham designated a place?- As it is written: ‘And Abraham rose in the morning to the place where he had stood’” The commentators point out that this statement seems unnecessary. We have [...]

Parashat Noach – November 2, 2019 – 4 Cheshvan 5780

October 31st, 2019|Comments Off on Parashat Noach – November 2, 2019 – 4 Cheshvan 5780

When we are young and hear the story of Noach, we get the idea that everyone in Noach's time, except for Noach, was wicked. However this assumption does not fit what we know about how the world really works.  As it happens, if one person is stealing then another is being stolen from. If one person [...]

Parashat Bereishit – October 26, 2019 – 27 Tishrei 5780

October 25th, 2019|Comments Off on Parashat Bereishit – October 26, 2019 – 27 Tishrei 5780

We are told that at the very creation of the world, humanity was made in God’s image. Ever since, sceptics have wondered to what extent God has been made in the image of humanity. Rabbi Hoshiah said, “When the Holy One created Adam, the ministering angels erred in wanting to proclaim before him ‘Kadosh!’ (‘Holy’). There [...]

Shabbat Chol HaMoed Sukkot – October 19, 2019

October 18th, 2019|Comments Off on Shabbat Chol HaMoed Sukkot – October 19, 2019

Our agrarian ancestors well understood the beneficence of rain. Shemini Atzeret celebrates the anticipation of rain with a special prayer in which we acknowledge God as the source of rain. This prayer, the central distinguishing feature of the holiday, marks the onset of the rainy season in the Land of Israel. Blessing God as the rainmaker [...]

Sukkot – October 12, 2019 – 13 Tishrei 5780

October 11th, 2019|Comments Off on Sukkot – October 12, 2019 – 13 Tishrei 5780

Religious communities are mission driven and it is generally a given that those who resist conforming with the program will find themselves judged and perhaps ostracized unless they adopt it. It’s common knowledge that Judaism consists of Torah study and fulfilling mitzvot (commandments). This being the case, one would not be surprised to find that Jews [...]