This week's Parasha tells of Moses' final 'sin' that will excluded him and Aaron from entrance into the Promised Land. Yet, Moses' response this week was his response to a similar problem before. What changed? When in our lives do our same answers lead us to unintended consequences and, when does our Bible invite us to new answers?
June 13th, 2013
June 4th, 2013
This weeks Torah portion carries the name of a person. I always teach that if you have a name for a Torah portion, either the person did something very good or, well, not. Pirkei Avot makes a direct mention of this Torah portion when it comes to disputes, and Jewish tradition has a rich history when it comes to recording the winners... and losers of debates in the Talmud....
May 31st, 2013
The Torah portion this week speaks to the episode in the wilderness when the Israelites are ready for their first attempt to enter into the Promised Land. Things do not proceed according to plan and the ancient community is split by the choices before them. While the circumstances may be different, the choices we make in our lives and in our society also are based on this fear/faith paradigm.
May 23rd, 2013
Looking at B'ha-alotkha we find an observance from the Torah that might drive many of us to plan long trips during a certain Spring holiday. The Torah speaks of the situation when one cannot observe Passover due to being ritually impure from contact with a dead body, or if one is on a 'long trip.' This second Passover existed so that one could remain tied to the community's holiday of Jewish identity. Ironically, the Haftara (reading from the prophets) for this Torah portion is shared with the haftara for the Shabbat during Hanukkah, another holiday that was also...a 'do-over.'
May 21st, 2013
For all of us affected by the storms in Oklahoma, a reflection, a biblical reminder and a prayer.
January 13th, 2013
In the aftermath of the recent shootings in our country, I felt that we needed to rethink how we react/respond to these horrible events. As Jews we are familiar with the face of evil whether it be Pharaoh, Haman, or Hitler. A natural response can be to become angry, yet this may actually get in the way of how grief really unfolds in our lives. Perhaps we need to learn how to be with such events first, then try to figure out what we do to respond.
December 15th, 2012
With the events in Newtown, Conn. in hearts and minds I wanted to look to Torah. There in the portions that surround parashat Miketz, the Torah portion of Hanukkah, we find two emotional moments echoing the events in Newtown. In Genesis 45 we read the episode when Jacob is told that Joseph is still alive. Think of the families who had this moment yesterday in the middle of this tragedy. Consider what it meant to hear their son or daughter was, "...yet alive." Then turn to Genesis 37:29-35 and we find the moment where Jacob is told the lie by the sons that Joseph was dead. In the middle of the biblical story, are Jacob's daughters. I believe as a nation we are Jacob's daughters today, we are those who witness the grief of devastated parents who mourn the loss of their children.
November 24th, 2012
I delivered this sermon at Kol Nidre this year. It was sparked by several events including the scandal at Penn State during this past year. We wonder how such events could happen, especially at a school known for academic integrity. Yet, this is a lesson, and even the members of the Penn State football team are a lesson for us as we wrestle with our own efforts to forgive and become better.
October 1st, 2012
Is it just in our nature to be fearful of the stranger or the 'other' in our society? What happens when Jews forget acceptance and understanding and even begin to create strangers out of fellow Jews in our midst? This sermon examines the 'otherness' we experience in the world and in ourselves with a reminder that Nehemiah read before both men and women at Jerusalem's Water Gate.
September 19th, 2012
Shannah Tovah U'Metukah! A sweet and happy Jewish New Year to all of you. This podcast is my Rosh Hashannah evening service and in it we will explore the meaning of the phrase, V'Ani Tefillati, I am my ... Tefillah.
I would invite you to give to the cause mentioned in this sermon and add your piece of Tikkun, of repair to our world through your Tzedakah (charity).
I have included the link below.
August 25th, 2012
Shalom and thank you for listening. This week we are going to look at Parashat Shoftim, a Torah portion that speaks to the qualities we are supposed to look for when appointing judges. Perhaps this parasha also has some lessons for those of us who are the chief justices in our court of personal opinions...
May 17th, 2012
This podcast is a reflection on our trip to Washington, DC with our confirmation class. While we were there we had a chance to tour the Supreme court and while it was nice to see an image of Moses among the 'law givers' in the court, maybe one very important image was missing...
January 21st, 2012
The Torah portion this week continues with God's charge to Moses to continue to mission of freeing the Israelites. Even after speaking from the heart of the Burning Bush, Moses continues to protest God's call. Perhaps the question for us, like Moses, is not whether or not God calls to us, rather it is the question, "will I be ready for that moment?" Are any of us ready for God to reveal the divine self and respond with, 'hineini?'
December 6th, 2011
Recently I had the honor to write the Devar Acher for the URJ's 10 Mintues of Torah. I want to share my reading of this passage with you this week.
June 24th, 2011
I'd like to have an argument...
Among the things we don't know about the Torah we can include what the dispute was about in the week's Torah portion. Maybe in our Torah, Monty Python, and in our nation we are so use to the argument, we have forgotten why we disagree, and why we must get along.