After receiving bad news or experiencing a tragic event, people will sometimes respond with the words, "It's God's will." There's even a Yiddish phrase that captures the idea, "It's bashert," meaning it was meant to be.
According to Jewish tradition, on the eve of Shabbat and holidays, before reciting kiddush, parents bless their children.
The spiritual center of Parashat Vayeishev is the picture of Jacob's anguish at the end of chapter 37: Old and now settled in the land of his father, Jacob, led by his sons to believe that he has suffered what one writer calls "the worst loss"--the death of a child, is plunged into despa
The Book of Exodus (Sh'mot) tells two key narratives of Jewish sacred history: the Exodus from Egypt and the gift of Torah. When they are joined to the Creation narrative of Genesis, the three stories constitute the basic theology of Judaism, which is enshrined in the blessings before and after the Sh'ma prayer.
This week's double portion, B''har/ B'chukotai includes this famous phrase that appears on the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia: "Proclaim LIBERTY Throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants Thereof" (Leviticus 25:10). The bell holds specialy significance for Americans, especially American Jews.
Jews are not ascetics – or at least, so we tend to think.... Parashat Naso gives us laws that lead us to focus on priestly rules and the purity of the Israelite camp. The adjacent appearance of laws on the sotah (adulteress) and the Nazirite invite us to consider the relationship between these two subjects.
Recently, my daughter and I had an exchange that felt like we were enacting an ancient script between parents and teenagers. It left me wondering where on earth this script comes from, and how I ended up with the parental role.This week’s parashah, B’haalot’cha, provides some answers. God and the people of Israel struggle: the people are tired of manna, yearn for the food of Egypt, and cry out for meat.
When I was speaking with a 95-year-old congregant this week, she shared with me the uncomfortable feeling of having her synagogue change around her. “We used to be properly Reform. Now, when I come, I see people wearing a tallit..... " For her, seeing fellow congregants wearing a tallit feels like a betrayal of the Reform principles she holds dear.... The commandment to wear tzitzit, the fringes on the corners of the tallit, comes from this parashah.