Each night before retiring, the great Chasidic master Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav would make a list. At the end of a long day, he would write down all the wrongs he had committed -- against other people, against God, against himself. Nachman would read the list over and over again,...
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Rabbi Shawn Fields-Meyer
September 22, 2005 | 8:00 pm
September 1, 2005 | 8:00 pm
There is a remarkable place I go to, about once a year. It is a spot on the Oregon coast. And I mean, literally, a spot. When I stand on that spot,
I can see the whole world -- all of it.
Straight ahead, I see the Pacific Ocean, waves rhythmically approaching and departing, humming...
March 31, 2005 | 7:00 pm
The Chasidic Reb Nachman of Bratslav tells of a king's son who goes mad: he believes he is a turkey.
The boy removes all his clothes, spends all his time under a table and refuses to eat normal food. Distraught and alarmed, his father summons in all manner of experts, but none can...
December 9, 2004 | 7:00 pm
We call it the Festival of Lights, but Chanukah starts in a very dark place.
It begins with two stories, each very serious. One
tells of a severely outnumbered band of Jews who fought a powerful enemy for religious freedom.
And there's the other, even more painful tale of Jew...
March 21, 2002 | 7:00 pm
In the dark of night, guided only by a slight illumination, we search the house. Carefully, we stride from room to room, investigating corners, checking furniture, examining windowsills. Finally, the search is complete: 'Tis the night before Pesach, and all the chametz (leavened...
December 13, 2001 | 7:00 pm
September 6, 2001 | 8:00 pm
Jewish legal tradition teaches that we should recite 100 blessings every day. This presents an opportunity and a challenge. How might I fill up my quota today? The numbers start adding up if I pray in the morning, afternoon and evening. I can recite benedictions before eating...
June 7, 2001 | 8:00 pm
I recently visited a hospital patient, an elderly gentleman with a name, a gaze and a life story from the old country. His deterioration had advanced to the stage of inhibiting verbal communication, so he spoke to me instead through gestures, nods and stares. But slowly, we drew...
February 1, 2001 | 6:59 pm
What's the Jewish way to raise children? Simple: just teach them Torah, model your values and encourage them to be like their ancestors. Right?
Right and wrong. True, as Jews we are all about education. But what kind of education? What kind of children are we aiming to raise? And...
November 30, 2000 | 7:00 pm
September 14, 2000 | 8:00 pm
Each night before retiring, the great Chassidic master Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav would make a list. At the end of a long day, he would write down all the wrongs he had committed - against other people, against God, against himself. Nachman would read the list over and over again,...
July 20, 2000 | 8:00 pm
On the day of my wedding, my grandfather was on his deathbed. In earlier years, he had been a delight of my childhood, a source of insight and stability, a constant presence. In planning our wedding, we'd asked my grandfather to play some favorite old songs on his violin during the...
June 15, 2000 | 8:00 pm
Two words work to keep us from deeper, more spiritual lives: if only. Sometimes it seems that life would be more meaningful, spiritual and religious, if only we could find the time. If only we could separate ourselves from our day-to-day concerns. If only we could tune out the noise...
April 27, 2000 | 8:00 pm"Ima, how old am I today?"
My oldest son's sixth birthday is coming soon. Recently, he has developed a near obsession with calculating exactly how old he is on a daily basis, practically down to the hour. Of course he is hardly unique. From our earliest years, we humans feel the...
March 9, 2000 | 7:00 pmTake a minute and build your dream house. What does it look like? How big is it? What do the doorknobs look like? The staircase? How many bedrooms are there? What kinds of flowers are in the yard?
Building, renovating or even just inhabiting a home requires that we pay attention to...
January 20, 2000 | 7:00 pmThis week, in a portion filled with dramatic tales -- the escape from Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, the manna from heaven and Moses' striking of a rock for water -- we are startled by something much subtler: a brief exchange between human beings and God.
The Israelites, after...
December 2, 1999 | 7:00 pmWith the simple act of lighting a candle, you can illuminate an entire room. Add a mirror, and you have twice as much light. So, too with people. We all carry internal sparks, rays of light within. But sometimes it takes another person to show us how to release them to ourselves and...
October 14, 1999 | 8:00 pmWhat kind of Jew are you? Reform? Conservative? Orthodox? Secular? Cultural? Reconstructionist? With whom do you identify? With whom do you disagree? What kind of Jew is so different that you would have nothing to share?
Somehow, we can't resist the urge to put labels on ourselves, to...
August 26, 1999 | 8:00 pm
In Los Angeles, the hardest part of starting a big trip can be getting from the entrance ramp onto the freeway. I sit impatiently, watching the cars in the carpool lane flying by, and wait for the line of vehicles in front of me to get past the green light that allows just one car to...
July 8, 1999 | 8:00 pmFor the last several months, my 5-year-old son and I have been engaged in a spirited discussion over a four-letter word that he brought home with him from nursery school. The word is "cool," an adjective his peers apply to everything, from "Star Wars" action figures to cheese pizza....