וַיֵּרָא? Do I see or do I just Imagine?

Reading this Parshah – Parshat Vayeira, I kept thinking about myself. After so many struggles and so much pain, do I even have the ability to “lift [my] eyes” and really “see” – לראות – רואה? In this Parshah we have characters who see, and those who, clearly, do not: כז  וַיַּשְׁכֵּם אַבְרָהָם, בַּבֹּקֶר:  אֶל-הַמָּקוֹם–אֲשֶׁר-עָמַד שָׁם, אֶת-פְּנֵי יְהוָה….

This land is Your land

Walking the streets of Jerusalem, and especially hiking the land around it keeps me thinking of Gd pretty much every minute when I am not in class. The beauty of this land is matched by the resilience and wit of its people. I am not going to say a lot – see for yourself. From…

Random Verses Inspired by Pain

We are within The Days of Awe, The Days of Repentance, the days we are supposed to look inside and resolve to be better, to forgive others. To forgive ourselves. It is so easy to forgive others. Everyone has a story, a reason, a pain they cannot deal with, and therefore, are hurting those who…

Parshat ha Shavuah Verses Ha’azinu / האזינו

This one is a short work week, and with all the holiday cooking and prepping, I do not see a chance for me to write any thoughtful d’var Torah. I have decided to leave you with the words of my colleague, Dr. Ackerman, again, as I don’t think I can say anything better. The only thing…

Parshat ha Shavuah Verses Re’eh / ראה

This is a Parshah of choices. To go right or left. To live or to die. To walk straight or in curved lines. כו  רְאֵה, אָנֹכִי נֹתֵן לִפְנֵיכֶם–הַיּוֹם:  בְּרָכָה, וּקְלָלָה. 26 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse: כז  אֶת-הַבְּרָכָה–אֲשֶׁר תִּשְׁמְעוּ, אֶל-מִצְו‍ֹת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם, אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם, הַיּוֹם. 27 the blessing, if ye…

Parshat ha Shavuah Verses Eikev / עקב

Reading these last parashot of the year, I keep wondering – why did things go wrong after the years of miraculous existence in the desert that should have taught our forefathers all the right things? יב  וְהָיָה עֵקֶב תִּשְׁמְעוּן, אֵת הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים הָאֵלֶּה, וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם וַעֲשִׂיתֶם, אֹתָם–וְשָׁמַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְךָ, אֶת-הַבְּרִית וְאֶת-הַחֶסֶד, אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע, לַאֲבֹתֶיךָ. 12 And it shall come…

Parshat ha Shavuah Verses – Pinchas / פינחס

There are plenty of great comments on this Parshah.  I am just going to direct you to one of them, from Rabbi Alex Israel. He teaches at Pardes Institute. There are many more if you’d like to read about Pinchas and the census. For me, this Parshah is all about the women, and how they have…

Parshat ha Shavuah Verses – Naso / נָשֹׂא

Since there is no way I will have time to write more this week, I’ve decided to share Dr. Ackerman’s view on the parshah: “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying,’ Take a census of the sons of Gershon, as well, according to their fathers’ household, according to their families.’” (Numbers 4:21) Parashat Naso contains the…

Parshat ha Shavuah Verses – Behar/Bechukotai – בהר/בחקותי

To me, this week’s parshah is speaking about holiness and sanctity no less than the ones talking about the priests’ behavior. It is one of the parashiot that truly shows that the Gd of Israel is the Gd of everything and everyone. By His hand, the world is governed towards justice. This justice starts with the…

Freedom!?!

Freedom! I don’t really want you I don’t really need you Yet, I’ve chosen you. Freedom from the pain Freedom from the sadness Freedom from the doubt Freedom from illusion Freedom from the mockery of LOVE. Free to make decisions Free to go or stay Free to cry whenever Free to die or not. I…

The End of Kaddish Era

Today, 11th of Nissan marks the end of an era for me. Today is the last day of the kaddish for my father, Shimon ben Nachum z’l. Had it been just yesterday when I started? Or ages ago? Today I am looking back to my short runs to the huge historical shul near my work with a minyan (or…