It is the small things that merit the blessings. It is the "heel" commandments, the acts we forget about, that can change lives and bring holiness into our world.
When I was in my early 30s I joined a havurah, a group of professionals seeking a deeper Jewish involvement. And during this time of year, just after Passover, we didn't know what to do with the counting of the Omer. How could we make it relevant and purposeful?
This Shabbat is called Shabbat Shirah and is named for the "Song of the Sea" sung by Moses and the Israelites after they experienced the redemption at the splitting of the Red Sea. What was it, the rabbis asked, that evoked shirah, song, at this point and not earlier when they actually left Egypt? What propels the song to burst forth from their lips? When are we motivated to truly sing the song in our hearts?
"The longest journey is the journey inwards. Of him who has chosen his destiny...." -- Dag Hammarskjold, "Markings" (1964)
"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" opens in movie theaters today. Will it just be a magical adventure that entertains us, or are there deeper lessons that our Jewish souls can learn?
Below are seven middot (Jewish values) found in Pirkei Avot and in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," the first book in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. You can use these themes as a guide as you enjoy the movie.