Flashback: You Were Only Waiting

For a long time, I carried around with me a very depressing mental image for the Beatles song “Blackbird”. I would relate it here, but I’ve been told by enough people that it ruined their enjoyment of the song so I usually just keep it to myself. Not that my mental image inhibited my own love of the song. I took a fond, if somewhat morbidly melancholy, pleasure in singing it and hearing... read more

Tazria (Lev. 12:1-13:59)

Tazria begins the discussion of situations where people, places or things are “unclean” or “impure” – which may or may not be as negative as it sounds. However, the very first thing in Tazria (“When she gives birth”) is babies. After a woman gives birth, she is considered impure for a certain number of days (different for a boy versus a girl). Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Could it be a liturgical... read more

Israel Diary: Oasis, part 2

How do you connect to a place? To a moment? To a historical period? Is it even possible to create a connection to a moment you weren’t yourself part of? Talmud asks us to invest in the idea that every Jewish soul was present at Mt. Sinai. Various Rabbis took it a step further and asked that we try imagine (remember?) ourselves standing at the foot of the mountain. Rabbi Elimelech of Lyzhansk took... read more

Shmini (Lev. 9:1-11:47 )

This week Nadab and Abihu – Levites Gone Wild, do something wrong during the opening ceremonies of the new Priesthood. Some translations say they bring forth “strange” fire, others use the word “alien”. Whatever it is, it seems they take things a bit too far. Some rabbis speculate that they are drunk. lists the following synonyms for the word “drunk” (as... read more

Isreal Diary: Oasis, part 1

During our month-long stay in Israel, we spent a lot of time in Jerusalem and it’s nearby areas. But we did venture to a few places further out – Haifa, Ein Gedi (the Masada/Dead Sea area), etc. One of the places I wanted to try to have the family experience was the area known as Mitzpeh Ramon. Many people choose to camp or hike in this area, the site of the world’s largest crater, but... read more

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