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Rabbi’s Shabbat Message

Rabbi Ariel’s Shabbat message is delivered to the congregation in our weekly e-newsletter. You can also use the links below to visit the Rabbi’s blog, Torah for the 21st Century.

Torah for the 21st Century

This too is Torah, and I need to learn it

Shabbat Terumah: The Gift of Your Life

Posted: February 16, 2018, 9:49 pm
What are you supposed to be doing with your one, wild, precious life? After all, it will all end, and too soon. The parashat hashavua this week is Terumah, “gift”, a word that speaks of a free-will offering that comes from the heart, chosen by the giver out of the joy of the chance to … Continue reading

Shabbat Mishpatim/Shabbat Shekalim: True Judgement

Posted: February 9, 2018, 10:08 pm
A Jewish congregation is formally known as a kehillah kedoshah, a “holy community.” Such a community lives up to its name when all of us within it find ourselves off balance. That seems a strange statement at first glance. Yet it is true: as the Israelites begin to define their lives at the foot of Mt … Continue reading

Shabbat Yitro: Jewish Revelation – It’s Not What You Think

Posted: February 2, 2018, 9:27 pm
Long before either the People of Israel and G*d are ready, they meet at Sinai in this week’s parashah, called Yitro. This parashat hashavua recounts the ultimate Jewish moment of Revelation. This a moment that will be foreverafter enshrined in song and story and liturgy. Yet in our people’s cultural memory we find that there is … Continue reading

Shabbat B’Shalakh: Go Ahead and Jump

Posted: January 26, 2018, 8:10 pm
Parashat B’Shalakh recounts the first steps of the Exodus from Egypt. After much confusion, pain and terror, the time has come and the Israelites – those who choose to follow Moshe – have celebrated the first Passover and are now on the move. Not all the Israelites went along, and some who were not Israelites … Continue reading

Shabbat Bo: Come to Pharaoh

Posted: January 19, 2018, 10:55 pm
So much happens so quickly in the parashat hashavua for this week: the parashah begins with the final confrontations between the ruler of Egypt and the messenger of G*d, and continues with the description of the first Pesakh Seder. Slowing ourselves down to carefully look at, and listen to, the words of the sacred text … Continue reading

Shabbat VaEra: Revelation Hurts

Posted: January 12, 2018, 9:36 pm
The name of this week’s parashat hashavua is VaEra, “I appeared.” This, simply put and so very understated, is the epic moment in which Moshe experiences Divine Revelation. G*d becomes unmistakably, believably, manifest. All subsequent experiences of revelation in Jewish history fall short of it; as the last words of the Torah will put it … Continue reading

Shabbat Shemot: Do You Know Joseph?

Posted: January 6, 2018, 12:45 am
A famous aphorism of our time: it’s not what you know but who. This is the compelling rationale offered for, among other things, the decline of political civility and bipartisanship in our national legislature. Once upon a time, it is noted, our representatives in D.C. lived there with their families, attended little league games together, … Continue reading

Shabbat VaYekhi: Your New Day’s Resolution

Posted: December 29, 2017, 10:02 pm
Taking advantage of what is, interestingly enough after all, only an arbitrary way of calculating a turning point in the counting of our days (why not solstice?), this is the time of year when our society focuses upon the idea of making new year’s resolutions. Jews practice a variation of this idea on Yom Kippur, … Continue reading

Shabbat VaYigash: One Person, One Step

Posted: December 22, 2017, 7:47 pm
O, once again, what a week it has been in the United States of America. I feel so very fortunate to be part of a tradition much older and wiser than the 240-odd years of this nation’s development since its birth. Jews have lived under many forms of government and seen many, many examples of … Continue reading

Shabbat Miketz: Benefit of the Doubt

Posted: December 18, 2017, 9:36 pm
One of the Jewish ethics presented to us most powerfully by our parashat hashavua, and our week as a community, is this: khaf z’khut, “benefit of the doubt.” It is an important Talmudic teaching, and understood as a vital mitzvah of relationships, that we must always give someone the benefit of the doubt – even going out … Continue reading

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