VA-YIKRA — We all live with rituals. Whether it’s the time and place we brush our teeth in the morning or singing our children goodnight songs, rituals provide the infrastructure by which we live our lives. Without rituals, without certain daily repetitions of consistent behavior, our lives would be unbearably chaotic. This week we begin the book of Leviticus. This portion and in fact much of the book of Leviticus is full of details about ritual, especially those related to how and when to bring sacrifices for worship. While prayer long ago replaced sacrifice in Jewish tradition, sacrifices were the expression of...Read More
VA-YIKRA — Living our lives can get messy at times. Relationships do not always go smoothly. Even when we do not mean to, we can annoy others by accident. Miscommunications can strain relationships. Life is a beautiful adventure, but it can also be a little difficult to navigate. This week’s Torah portion spells out many religious rituals. Why are there so many to perform? Turns out those routines are much easier to perform correctly than acting properly in real life. Lighting Shabbat candles on Friday night is much easier to do once instructed, than properly managing many aspects of...Read More
VA-YIKRA — In a world of text messaging and twitter, writing a proper thank-you note has become a lost art. We express our appreciation by quickly texting THNX!!! while out-and-about and multitasking on smart phones. In contrast, in order to write a thank-you note you must sit at a desk and have a pen, stationery, and a stamp on hand. You need to write legibly, know your recipient’s street address, and have ample time and quiet to focus on expressing sincere gratitude. Unlike texting, however, sending a thankyou note shows that you are willing to sacrifice precious time to...Read More
PEKUDEI — Are there special moments that you set aside in the hopes that you won’t be interrupted or distracted? Family dinner? Those fifteen minutes before bedtime? A birthday? What is it that makes those times special for you? Is it the people you are with or the actual thing that you are doing? Is it about a particular time of day or year or about the event around which it is organized? Now think about how those times feel different from the rest of the week. Do you not take phone calls or answer email? Are there certain...Read More
PEKUDEI — Most of us worry about money fairly often in our lives, especially when we have children. What offsets this worry is accountability and consciousness of the way we choose to spend our money. What we spend our money on reflects our priorities, and it is important that our behavior matches our priorities. Otherwise, there might be too little in the bank when it’s time to pay for college! In Pekudei, our parsha of the week, each person in the community owes a half shekel, reflecting the high priority placed on community by the Israelites. Moreover, accountability is evident in the...Read More
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