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Learning to Live Free

01/26/2023 09:24:55 AM


When the body is enslaved, the mind often keeps it company. People who have only known captivity can only dream of freedom in the vaguest terms. It floats about in their minds, a shapeless ideal that they dare not try to picture, lest the images infest their present and make the bleak reality of their daily lives even harder. Sometimes, in captivity, it’s best to turn off your mind.



01/19/2023 08:31:46 AM


This week’s Torah portion, Va’era (Ex. 6:2 – 9:9) has threats, plagues, suffering and a repetition of names for God that seem to represent different aspects of the Divine. God hardens Pharoah’s heart so that when Moses and Aaron ask that the Israelites be allowed to go to the wilderness to worship their God for three days he refuses. The first distinctive word of the first verse gives us the portion’s...Read more...

A Divine Spark

01/12/2023 08:25:58 AM



There is a burning bush at my family’s camp in the Adirondack Mountains. It’s more of a stump, really, but every summer, my kids and I look forward to finding it, making sure that the magic is still there, that the bright...Read more...

Vayechi – We end the book of Genesis with hope

01/05/2023 08:31:18 AM


The first of our five books of Torah ends this Shabbat, in the dark of winter we find that Jacob’s family fortunes have shifted as the new king makes his mark on his land. Egypt was a place of shelter for the Israelites when there was famine in Canaan but it will not always be hospitable. This week’s portion draws our focus not to the outside environment but rather to the transition of one generation to...Read more...


12/29/2022 10:28:08 AM


Torah Portion VaYigash opens with an older brother bargaining to be allowed to replace his youngest brother as a hostage. Dramatic, no? The drama is actually that he, Judah, is the brother who Joseph blames most for having been sold to a passing caravan! Who is Judah bargaining with? None other than Joseph, but an Egyptianish Joseph who triggers no recognition in his brothers. The stage is set for the ultimate...Read more...

Feast or Famine

12/23/2022 10:04:28 AM


It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that life is all or nothing, feast or famine. A quick look at a newspaper will tell you all about those who are diving into their money piles like Scrooge McDuck, buying social media platforms and taking personal rockets into outer space for funsies. We hear less about the other side of the equation: the desolate, the hungry, the fearful, the lonely. Their stories do make the news, usually much...Read more...


12/16/2022 08:12:41 AM


This week’s portion, VaYeshev, is the third in a row of names that indicate action: VaYeitze, VaYishlach: He went out and He sent, and this week we have And He settled (in the land where his father lived, in Canaan). We know what it’s like to live in a land where we do not share the same identity as those around us. Particularly at this time of year in the US we may be greeted with “Merry Christmas” or...Read more...

The Struggle is Real

12/08/2022 08:13:32 AM


Sometimes, I struggle to get out of bed in the morning. I struggle to get out the door on time. I struggle to keep up with my e-mail and never ending To Do lists. But the struggles do not stop there. I struggle to understand how best to parent my children. I struggle to send them to school on those days when the superintendent sends out an alert that the school has received yet another bomb or shooting threat. I struggle to find answers to...Read more...


12/02/2022 08:42:53 AM


How often has it happened that you have set out with a clear goal in mind, only to find yourself derailed by an unexpected development.  In the first words of this week’s Torah portion VaYeitzei (Gen. 28:10-32:3) Jacob leaves Beer Sheva, headed for Haran, almost exactly the opposite flight plan of his grandfather Abraham.  The plan was for him to find a wife from his uncle Laban’s household. But...Read more...


11/22/2022 08:32:57 AM


It started in utero. At first, the fight seemed comical: Twin A seemed to be kicking Twin B through the thin membrane separating the two, and Twin B responded by twisting around and placing two tiny butt cheeks directly in the face of Twin A. Touché, Twin B. Touché. As the woman housing the tussling twins, however, I found myself less and less amused by their antics. A kick on one side seemed to ricochet from the other, and on more than one...Read more...

Sat, January 28 2023 6 Shevat 5783