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
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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
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...Read More
KI TISSA — Our lives are full of commitments, responsibilities, school, and work. Often we are caught up in the demands of our lives and easily forget to focus on what is most important to us: our families and our “inner selves”. When the pressure of our daily life takes us over without a break, difficulties often eventually strike. Thousands of years ago, before the Torah, time was broken only into months by the moon. The Torah introduced the concept of weeks for the first time in history. Not only did the Torah break time into weeks, it also...Read More
PURIM — From the time we are born, our identities begin to evolve. In certain instances however, our identities become fixed over time, especially as they are formed in relationship to siblings. “She’s the smart one”, we think to ourselves. “He’s the one good at sports”. “She’s the one with the special needs; I’m the perfect one”. We often define ourselves in relation to another sibling, especially if parental expectations solidify those identities. Overstressed parents, who may have a child with problems or special needs, might expect another child to be “perfect” or at least more self-sustaining. Such expectations...Read More
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