קוּמִי אוֹרִי, כִּי בָא אוֹרֵךְ; וּכְבוֹד יְהוָה, עָלַיִךְ זָרָח. Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.

This week’s Haftarah brings me back to Jerusalem, of course. Jerusalem, as a city of prophets and a place for G-d’s vision to come alive, a city with blood, tears, hopes and joy all intertwined with each other in one giant ball of cosmic energy too tight and ready to burst out. It always seems…

Ottolenghi Lemon Blueberry Teacakes

Sometimes fortune smiles at you. I mean my culinary fortune. My daughter went to an event with chef Ottolenghi and got his “Sweet” book. Apparently, the chef takes his publishing endeavors seriously. A little while after, she got another book and a letter stating that the first version had some errors in print (the list…

Isaiah – יְשַׁעְיָהוּ – Haftarah – הפטרה

Tradition has is that Haftarah readings were instituted during the times when public reading of the Torah was prohibited in Israel by non-Jewish authorities of the land. The sages then used this “trick” of reading the books of the prophets as to not leave the people without the word of G-d altogether. The specific portions…

First Week in Israel

Technically, this is my second week. I arrived, exhausted after a long layover in Europe and a few hours that took me to get to Tzfat from Ben Gurion, Thursday. Having been met by my friend, a jewelry designer, whom I didn’t see since 1994, I was clearly ready to crash, but happy to see…

חֻקַּת – Laws

Reading this Parshah, everyone always speaks about the red heifer – פָּרָה אֲדֻמָּה I want to talk about the people leading the nation, and their tragedies. This is a Parshah, where both Miriam and Aaron die and Moses makes that tragic mistake that costs him his entrance to Eretz Yisrael. א  וַיָּבֹאוּ בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל כָּל-הָעֵדָה מִדְבַּר-צִן, בַּחֹדֶשׁ הָרִאשׁוֹן, וַיֵּשֶׁב…

Korach קֹרַח

This is a Parshah about leadership. Leadership לשם שמים – for the sake of heaven, and leadership for the sake of oneself. It is also about holiness – קְדֻשָּׁה‎. Are we all holy? Is there one role more holy than another? What is an individual’s place in society? It is also about wisdom – wisdom to act…

Beha’alotecha

A few takes on this week’s Parshah come from some of the sources I like:   “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: ‘Take the Levites from among the Israelites and purify them.’” (Numbers 8:5)  Parashat B’ha-alot’cha describes the final preparations for leaving Sinai: the purification of the Levites, the order of the tribes, and the trumpet calls to signal the…

Bamidbar

“Do not on any account enrol the tribe of Levi or take a census of them with the Israelites.”  (Numbers 1:49)  Below are the words of Dr. David Ackerman: Parashat Bamidbar opens the fourth book of the Torah, also called Bamidbar, in the wilderness of…  In Bamidbar, God orders Moses to prepare the Israelites for their wilderness trek by conducting a conduct a census…

Memphis

So for the last few days, I’ve spent my time at the event my organization holds every two years on the border of three states, Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi. Apparently, the bridge that I saw every day from the Convention Center window marks the border of two of them going along the mighty Mississippi river. What can I…

Acharei Mot – אַֽחֲרֵ֣י מ֔וֹת

Tomorrow is my dad’s Yortzait according to the Hebrew date. Fittingly, the Parshah for the week is Acharei Mot – after the death. I have written a lot about this, and there’s nothing to add today. The pain and the emptiness stay with us, the good memories last much longer, thankfully. Looking back, I get to realize…

Tazria-Metzora

This is a hard Parshah for me as, actually, most of the Parashot in Leviticus – Vayikra. I am going to bring you another commentary from a source that is not that well-known (I think). I subscribe to a newsletter by a Rabbi Ben Zion Spitz, the former Chief Rabbi of Uruguay. He brings an…