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Tag: Parsha

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  • When Meat Rained Out of the Sky - a poem for Behaalotecha

    By Rick Lupert

    4 hours ago

    We’ve been in the shadow of this mountain for almost a year.
    And now, with specific instructions (our history is never detailed
    without specific instructions) we walk away

    towards a place we once did not know, and now is
    a vague memory. A place, that if you were to look at
    on...

  • Doing the Jewish Numbers - A poem for Parsha Bamidbar

    By Rick Lupert

    2 weeks ago

    This is the week everyone who counts is counted.
    A lineage established so we know the results of
    all the past and future begetting.

    Somehow, despite these efforts, I’m missing a
    few thousand years of direct links. I know who
    my grandparents were, though I never met them.

    ...
  • I Want To be Good So Bad - a Poem for Parsha Bechukotai

    By Rick Lupert

    3 weeks ago

    It takes twenty verses or so to tell us of all
    the blessings we’ll earn if we follow the rules.

    It seems like a lot until you see the forty
    or so that follow, telling us of all the curses

    we’ll suffer, if we don’t. Shouldn’t it be the
    other way around? I don’t tell my son I

    ...
  • Keep Calm and Take a Rest - a Poem for Parsha Behar

    By Rick Lupert

    May 27, 2016 | 8:55 am

    If you were the earth
    out of which everyone’s food grew
    animal and human alike

    you would need a rest too.
    You need a rest too. Take one.
    Not in seven years.

    Every year, a week or two
    outside of your element. It will
    help define your element.

    Every week, a full day.
    We...

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  • Looking for Priests in all the Wrong Places - a Poem for Emor

    By Rick Lupert

    May 20, 2016 | 9:18 am

    My mother’s maiden name was Cohen
    but because the blood of this tradition
    only runs through the veins of our fathers
    she was not entitled to anything special.

    She wouldn’t believe that if you told her,
    though, and I can recount a lifetime of
    occasions where she was convinced...

  • Dracula - Not Jewish - A poem for Acharei Mot

    By Rick Lupert

    May 6, 2016 | 9:48 am

    It’s amazing we invented the concept
    of the scapegoat, only to have it used against us
    during the second war to end all wars.

    And one can’t help but feel bad for the goat
    both of them really. One to be sacrificed
    the other to be sent off into the desert.

    Who decides?
    What...

  • You’ll Never Forget the Word Hyssop - A poem for Metzora

    By Rick Lupert

    April 14, 2016 | 11:24 pm

    Two live birds, a cedar stick, a strip of crimson, and hyssop.
    (I’ll give you a minute to look up “hyssop”…still here? OK
    it’s a plant.) Sounds like Better Homes and Gardens gone wild.

    Parents: you may want to send the children into the other room.
    Not indoors? Have them...

  • A Tale of New Kittens ~ A Poem for Tazria

    By Rick Lupert

    April 8, 2016 | 10:09 am

    I know the newborn kittens, living on my front porch
    aren’t Jewish. But they are under my care, and I’m
    having trouble telling their mother that as a result

    of bringing these beauties into the world, that she
    is unclean. I know the newborn kittens living on
    my front porch,...

  • Fast Healing (Vayikra)

    By Marcus J Freed

    March 17, 2016 | 12:44 pm

    The hardest task a teacher once set me was to rid my apartment of every emotionally-charged object I had received from an ex-girlfriend, or anything from a friendship that now had negative associations. This was an ‘energy audit’ of sorts, going through my possessions to sense...

  • Heal Pain Now: Yoga & the Torah

    By Marcus J Freed

    January 18, 2016 | 7:05 pm

    Heal Pain Now: Yoga of Parsha Bo

     

    Marcus is an actor & writer, living in LA. He is author of “The Kabbalah Sutras: 49 Steps to Enlightenment” - www.amazon.com/The-Kabbalah-Sutras-Enlightenment-Meditation/dp/0996350608.  More at www.marcusjfreed.com.

  • To Walk in God’s Ways

    By Rabbi Yonah Bookstein

    August 7, 2015 | 12:59 pm

    The Torah teaches us something fascinating at the end of this week’s portion of Ekev about what it means, “to walk in God’s Ways.” (Devarim 11:22)

    Rabbi Shimon Raphael Hirsch quotes an ancient commentary and says that “to walk in God’s Ways,” is, “to try and copy God’s Ways of...

  • Acting With Godliness

    By Rabbi Yonah Bookstein

    February 13, 2015 | 4:13 pm

    The Torah tells us in Parsha Mishpatim, “Distance yourself from falsehood." (Ex. 23:7) No other transgression, said Rabbi Simcha Bunim, has this commandment. What it is about falsehood that God is so concerned about us falling into?

    There is the obvious problems that lying can...

  • Look Wendy, I can fly!

    By Marcus J Freed

    August 15, 2014 | 5:59 pm

    What happens when the funniest man on earth kills himself? We rush to make sense of out of the seemingly nonsensical. Humans like things to fit into a logical order. Tragedies confuse us. We ask ‘why?’, as if the entire universe should fit into our limited understanding.

    Can...

  • The cure for anger: Parashat Emor (Leviticus 21:1-24:23)

    April 24, 2013 | 5:05 pm

    Life is not easy. In fact, at times it’s downright infuriating. Our natural tendency is to want to blame someone, and the easiest target is God. We may carry anger at HaShem for our entire lives. As a result, we miss out on decades of spiritual connectedness and comfort. 

    There...

  • On equal footing

    February 6, 2013 | 11:09 am

    I watched President Barack Obama’s second inauguration from the hospital room of my 92-year-old friend Harriet. She was having an EKG during it, even though we all agreed the numbers would not provide an accurate assessment of her condition — her medical condition, that is. 

    “You...

  • Power of ten

    By Rabbi Daniel Bouskila

    January 30, 2013 | 3:55 pm

    Sometime during the 13th century, in a private study in Barcelona, an anonymous author sat and composed “Sefer HaChinuch” (“The Book of Education”). This systematic study of the Torah’s 613 commandments was beautifully written as a gift from a father to his son. In his...

  • Opportunity of a setback

    By Rabbi Dov Fischer

    January 16, 2013 | 1:49 pm

    This week’s parasha is one of the most central to the Jewish narrative. We read of the final plagues, the storm brought by God’s mighty hand and outstretched arm gathering on the border of Egypt, the Divine command to prepare for the Exodus by baking the matzot and eating the...

  • Are you awake?

    January 9, 2013 | 11:47 am

    There is an old midrash to explain how Moshe discovered his Jewish identity and woke up to his calling as a teacher and prophet. Yocheved, Moshe’s mother, used to sing him lullabies and feed him familiar foods. As she weaned him and led him into the embrace of his surrogate family,...

  • What is in a Name?

    January 2, 2013 | 12:28 pm

    This week we begin a new book of Torah — Shemot in Hebrew and Exodus in English. While the word “exodus” means “going out,” the word “shemot” means “names.” So, it should not be surprising that we are sent through a maze of names and journeys in this week’s parasha.

    The portion...

  • Never alone

    By Rabbi Dov Fischer

    November 20, 2012 | 9:46 am

    In this week’s parasha, Yaakov flees for his life, departing from Beersheva back to Charan — back to the beginning. How optimistic it had been when Avraham came to Israel two generations earlier, abandoning Charan presumably forever (Genesis 11:32-12:6). Avraham “went, took and...

  • Let Heaven and Earth Hear

    September 27, 2012 | 10:14 am

    If each spoken word is a droplet of water, then each voice that utters is a wind that brings forth rain.

    Though, the wind has no shape. Though, water comes in all shapes and sizes. Though, no mortal power can divine the weather even a few days hence, words turn patterns as surely...

  • Here on Earth

    By Rabbi Yonah Bookstein

    September 12, 2012 | 11:40 am

    “The Torah that I am prescribing to you today is not too mysterious or remote from you. It is not in heaven ... it is something that is very close to you” (Deuteronomy 30:11-13).

    A great illustration of this passage is contained in the Yiddish story by I.L. Peretz titled “If Not...

  • First Fruits

    September 5, 2012 | 12:35 pm

    Earlier today I bit into a crisp, bright green plum. The plum, a new variety at my local farmers’ market, showed up for the first time this week. It is hard to believe

    that after months of stone fruit wonders, there are still different varieties appearing. In the simple act of...

  • Call to war

    By Rabbi Daniel Bouskila

    June 6, 2012 | 2:11 pm

    There are powerful moments when life’s experiences bring deeper meaning to the Torah and her classic commentators.

    It was Shabbat, June 5, 1982.

    I was nearing the end of my first year abroad in Israel, and I spent that Shabbat in Haifa with my family. A few days earlier, on June...

  • Lessons My Grandfather Taught Me

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    April 11, 2012 | 11:18 am

    Every Passover, as I sit with my family at our seder, I inevitably think of my paternal grandfather, after whom I was named. I never met him. He died five years before I was born, and I was born on the anniversary of his burial. But from earliest childhood, I felt that my grandfather...

  • Holy Sanctuaries or Golden Calves

    February 23, 2012 | 9:48 am

    As human beings, can we know precisely what God wants from us? It might seem, from the beginning of this week’s parasha, that we can: “Bring Me gifts. You shall accept gifts for Me from every person whose heart is willing. And these are the gifts you shall accept from them”...

  • Déjà Vu, all over again

    January 11, 2012 | 6:55 pm

    It’s a new year and we are beginning a new book of the Torah — Exodus. Unfortunately, we are dealing with the same old problem. Anti-Semitism, the oldest hatred, rears its ugly head.

    Pharaoh, the Egyptian ruler, scapegoats the Jews and turns them into the enemy, a pattern that...

  • Unloading the emotional U-Haul

    By Rabbi Lisa Edwards

    January 4, 2012 | 1:02 pm

    A funeral director once said, “In all the funerals I’ve attended, I have yet to see a hearse with a U-Haul trailer attached.” But while it’s true that “you can’t take it with you,”meaning material possessions, I’m not so sure about emotional possessions. How many of...

  • Parashat Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1-17:27)

    By Rabbi Laura Geller

    November 1, 2011 | 8:29 pm

    Last week’s Torah portion ends with a genealogy, a long list of names of who begot whom and how long they lived. It is one of many genealogies in the Torah. It used to be that when I encountered those lists, I tuned out; I found them boring. But then I read a book by Thomas Cahill...

  • Back to School

    By Rabbi Elazar Muskin

    August 31, 2011 | 10:48 am

    With a new school year upon us, I found the following story, “What Teachers Make,” revealing.

    “The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life. One man, a CEO, decided to discuss the current problems with education. He argued, ‘What’s a kid going to learn...

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