Shabbat Toledot (Gen. 25:19-28:9)

This week we delve into the character, psyche and dynamics of Isaac’s family: Jacob was fairer than Esau, with a lighter complexion and smaller build. Esau was apparently a lightweight when it came to study. Rebecca was smart (bright) when it came to obtaining the blessing for Jacob. Isaac appeared to be unenlightened when it came what was happening in his own household. SO… limited only by your... read more

Way Better Than Beer

There’s an old Beer commercial that ran in the mid-70’s. I can’t find it in any internet archive, but I remember it very clearly: A young kid walks into a pub and up to the bar. Nervously he asks for a (whatever the brand was) beer. The bartender eyes him for a second and gruffly asks “Got any ID”? The kid hands it over, looking even more nervous. The bartender scrutinizes... read more

One G-d. One Torah. OneShul

Patrick and Michael – the great minds behind IndieYeshiva and PunkTorah – have launched the next step in their ongoing effort to create a cohesive, inclusive online Jewish community – OneShul. In their own words: OneShul is your synagogue, family and friends. No matter who you are or where you are in life’s journey, you are a part of this great Jewish community. We are a global havurah... read more

Riding Uphill, part II

One of the comments I got back from the post “Riding Uphill” was from my friend Phil, who said, “Davening is hard, although it gets easier after the first, oh, five or seven years.  Then it gets hard again because you’ll have become so fluent at it that you will need to consciously slow down and focus on Kavana.” I started to think about how long it might take to get... read more

Shabbat Chayay Sarah (Gen. 23:1-25:18)

The trope (chanting of the Torah) for the portion this week includes the “shalshelet” – a musical sequence that only appears four times in all of Torah (Gen. 19:16, 24:12, 39:8; Lev. 8:23). It always appears at the beginning of a verse and in each case, it indicates indecision or wavering. The most famous of these comes later on, when Potiphar’s wife asks Joseph to lie with her and... read more

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