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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 Mishpatim / Shabbat Shekalim: Community – The Difficulty Is In the Details

Posted: February 24, 2017, 11:00 pm
Every year we study once again the account of the moment when our people stood at the foot of Mt Sinai, witnessed a revelation, and became a community. Literally a “peak moment,” our commentators teach that this was the only time in all the history of our People of Israel when we were of one … Continue reading

Prayer for Standing Rock

Posted: February 22, 2017, 7:48 pm
Let us rest, our God, in peace. And let us get up to life. Awaken us to another day of action, of solidarity and support. Lift us out of slumber with a resounding affirmation of life and those who protect the living earth. Spread out over us a sukkah of peace, and give us good … Continue reading

Shabbat Yitro: Community comes from Sinai

Posted: February 17, 2017, 7:22 pm
On this Shabbat Yitro our parashat hashavua describes the moment of standing at Sinai, that moment that made us a community. Close readers of the Torah such as our ancient and modern commentators and interpreters have long noted that the Torah speaks of those who came out of Egypt as an erev-rav, a “mixed multitude,” … Continue reading

Shabbat Bo: Come to The Hard Place

Posted: February 3, 2017, 4:39 am
Bo el Par’oh, Moshe is commanded at the beginning of our parashah: “come to Pharaoh”. Many have asked: why “come”, when the right verb should be “go”? To consider this we first should look at a different, but possibly related, question. This parashat hashavua describes the escalating tensions between Pharaoh, King of Egypt, and the … Continue reading

Shabbat Va’Era: Reveal Yourself

Posted: January 27, 2017, 11:30 pm
In last week’s parashat hashavua we witnessed a rapid transition in which the people of Israel went from a good life in Exile to a persecuted, miserable slavery. At the end of the  parashah Moshe, after his first attempt to organize the people of Israel, is discouraged. וַיָּשָׁב מֹשֶׁה אֶל י-ה, וַיֹּאמַר:  אד-נָי, לָמָה הֲרֵעֹתָה … Continue reading

Do Not Oppress the Stranger

Posted: January 27, 2017, 11:27 pm
A group of ragged refugees from Egypt millennia ago created the ancient Sacred Scriptures of Judaism. Shared by Islam and adopted by Christianity, they proclaim no less than thirty-six times “You shall not oppress the stranger. You know the feelings of the stranger, for you have been strangers yourself.” The Sacred scriptures of the United … Continue reading

Shabbat Shemot: A New King Arose Who Did Not Know Joseph

Posted: January 20, 2017, 5:53 am
Now there arose a new king who did not know Joseph (Ex.1.8) – These words from the opening of the Book Shemot, Exodus, rise up, an uncanny echo reverberating through history, mocking those of us who think that the Torah is tamed and not so up to date. These are the words that greet us … Continue reading

Asara b’Tevet: Countdown to January 20 2017

Posted: January 9, 2017, 7:34 pm
Yesterday the countdown began, although you may not have noticed. Yesterday was Asara b’Tevet, a minor fast day in Judaism which marks the day on which the Babylonian Empire laid siege to the ancient walls of Jerusalem. It was created as a fast day because that day was the beginning of the end for the ancient … Continue reading

(this week) Shabbat VaYigash: One Step

Posted: January 6, 2017, 10:52 pm
Parashat VaYigash brings us to the denouement of the saga of Joseph and his brothers. Favoritism and jealousy have led to immature acts of aggression, lives have been torn apart and now it seems that all is lost. Joseph’s brothers stand before him all unaware that this is their brother; Joseph, who does recognize them, … Continue reading

(next week) Shabbat VaYehi: What’s the Last Word?

Posted: January 6, 2017, 10:23 pm
Our parashat hashavua this week concludes not only the Book Bereshit but also the saga of Jacob, Joseph and his brothers, and that entire generation. One of the most fascinating passages in the parashah describes Jacob, on his deathbed, and his last words to his sons. Although we refer to the scene as Jacob’s deathbed … Continue reading

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