Category: rituals

HOSPITALITY…

EMOR — A great blessing one can have is the ability to give to others.  Hosting guests and taking care of them is an important way to express this.  Guests care much more about your attitude towards them than the expense or beauty of the surroundings. This week’s Torah portion, Emor, discusses Jewish holidays. We are called upon to celebrate these holidays joyously and always instructed to make sure we are sharing the joy with others – our families as well as guests we can bring into our home.  In fact, we are taught that taking care of a...

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PASSOVER—Is Freedom Free?

PASSOVER — Freedom is such an attractive concept to us all. We like the idea of doing what we want, when we want. Often we think that being free of rules, regulations, and requirements are important for us to feel free. Could we be wrong in expecting too much of freedom? What if people did exactly as they pleased, whenever they wanted. Life could get very confusing, complicated, and dangerous. On Passover, we celebrate our freedom from slavery with a Seder. Interestingly the word Seder means order, and our special celebration of freedom starts with 15 steps to follow....

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CONSTANTLY FEEDING OUR INTERNAL SPARK…

TZAV — Jewish learning is a continuous process of discovering the richness and relevance of our tradition.  Many people think learning can stop when school stops.  Stopping Jewish studies after 13 is all too common. This week’s Torah portion, Tzav, instructs that a small fire must burn permanently on the Altar represent the desire within each of us to connect to something bigger and higher, just as a fire always reaches upwards.  This small flame also reminds each of us that we have a spark to learn and improve within us.  It is our responsibility to nurture our spark...

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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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