Does being a person of faith mean you believe in blessings and curses? Why should we always "do the right thing?" Are we rewarded or punished for what we do in the world?
Like our ancestors, we focus on our own modern day tribes: The tribes of the Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, and secular. Amidst our real differences, can we sew ourselves together into a larger identity of being Am Yisrael – one people?
Do we do things because they bring us meaning, or do things have meaning because we do them? Can your morning yoga class or walk through the park serve as a source of spiritual inspiration?
Even with good intentions, when we talk about people who are not present, we run the risk of disparaging them, without giving them the opportunity to respond.
Parashat Vayeilech is read between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, a time of transition for all of us. We've brought in the new year with hopes, prayers, and the shofar, and we look toward Yom Kippur, where we are tasked with letting go of the last year and moving forward.
At the beginning of Parashat Nitzavim, we hear the phrase, "Today you are all standing." This phrase isn't referring to people simply standing, it means that the Jewish people stood together and entered into a Covenant, affirming the things that matter most.
Parashat Haazinu includes the word tzur, or rock, eight times. But in this case, tzur isn’t referring to just any rock; it’s referring to God, as the rock of Israel. Sometimes, a rock can have a positive connotation, like our friends that are always there for us.
Five days after Yom Kippur, we turn our gaze out to the world around us and take notice of the harvest season. Sukkot is a holiday that teaches us to appreciate what we have, while reminding us that life is fragile.
This week we enter the beginning of a brand new cycle of Torah reading with a parashah that has become controversial in today’s political climate: B’reishit (in the beginning).