Category: rituals

RITUALS…ANCHORS FOR OUR LIVES

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...

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WHY ALL THOSE RITUALS?

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...

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A SACRED MOMENT IN TIME…

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...

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THE POWER OF WE…

VA-YAK HEL / PEKUDEI — As parents, we all know how much work goes into running a household. Nothing happens by itself; someone must do the dishes, make lunches, drive carpool, go shopping, etc. Children need to have the confidence that they’re cared for, but they should eventually learn about the efforts involved and what they can do to pitch in. How do we balance the two ideals? In our Portion, the Jewish people constructed the Sanctuary (Mishkan). All members of the community were required to do their part, commensurate with their abilities. Whether the contribution took the form...

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THE VALUE OF REST…

TORAH PORTION: VA-YAK HEL / PEKUDEI Families lead busy lives.  Life is filled with work, homework, sports, lessons, running a household, etc.  Often it seems there isn’t a moment to breathe.  A moment to just stop and say “I’m here” and that’s enough. In this Torah portion Moses tells the people that they are commanded to set aside the seventh day as a day of complete rest.  It is a day in which no productive labor is allowed,  a day in which the emphasis is put on “being” instead of “becoming” or “having”. Think about your own life.  Is there enough time and room...

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