Shabbat Lech Lecha (Gen. 12:1-17:27)

From the chaos of Creation through the destruction of the Flood we now arrive at the upheaval of family change. Avram and Sarai leave everything they’ve known for the hinterlands of Canaan (with a few stops along the way). They encounter suspicion, engage in deception, attempt mis-direction and experience supernatural visitation. Abraham washes feet and Sarah laughs. In return, Abraham is blessed... read more

Shabbat Noah (Gen. 6:9 – 11:32)

It strikes me that the Noah story is somewhat layered. On the surface (pun intended), it is a cute story about animals and a boat. Under that is a terrifying tale of the global implication of man’s decisions (global climate change, anyone?). On the surface, we are told that “Noah was a righteous man”, but by the end of the story he has become the world’s first alcoholic, and curses... read more

Shabbat Beresheet (Gen. 1:1-6:8)

  “Turn it, and turn it over again, for everything is in it, and contemplate it, and wax gray and old over it, and stir not from it, for thou canst have no better rule than this.” – Rabbi Ben Bag Bag “You do the hokey pokey and you turn the scroll around…” – Rachel Barenblat It’s one of those few portions that needs no introduction, since it IS the introduction.... read more

Scenes from Yom Kippur: Foul-Mouthed Angel

Of all the things to know about Yom Kippur, the one that is ubiquitous is that you can’t eat. In fact, nothing – food, water, etc should not pass your lips. We do this (in part) because it’s believed that on Yom Kippur we are closer to God – at the zenith of our holiness – and almost equivalent to the angels themselves. Lifted on this spiritual updraft, we transcend, for 25... read more

Scenes from Yom Kippur: Sudden Decompression

In a traditional Yom Kippur service, there are a few basic sections: Shakarit, or the morning service, which runs non-stop from around 8:30am until around 2:00pm (or longer. I heard about services that went until 3:30). Mincha, or the afternoon service, which starts at about 4:30pm or 5:00 and goes until 6:30-ish. Neilah, literally “closing the gate”, or the official end of Yom Kippur, which... read more

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