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Time For a Little Detox?

05/25/2023 04:17:22 PM


Few of us these days spend much time thinking about our own personal purity. And with good reason! If two people in a conversation can easily hold three opinions, imagine how many different concepts of personal purity can be entertained on a planet of 8 billion people! Group these people into religious and philosophical schools of thought, and it won’t be very long before their ideas on the subject go...Read more...

Has It Been 10 Months Already?

05/18/2023 01:30:06 PM


Almost… which means that June is my last month here, and I will be taking time in Israel before I begin my next adventure in South Windsor. I will take this opportunity to ask all those who so generously lent me furniture and household items to please get in contact with me so that I can make arrangements to return these items to you. If you no longer want your item back, I will be happy to donate it, either...Read more...

What Do We Lose When We Let the Land Rest?

05/12/2023 09:34:39 AM


This week marks my mother Roslyn H. Benamy’s 21st yahrtzeit so my thoughts are very much around how she might have reacted to current events, as well as the weekly Torah portion. We are still at Sinai, as the first words of this last portion of Leviticus reminds us: “God spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai saying:” (Lev. 1:1) and we are being told (again) to keep the Sabbath. Here, in chapters 25 and 26 at the end...Read more...

May the Faith Be With You

05/05/2023 09:35:36 AM


I don’t much like the book of Leviticus, in case that hasn’t been clear until now, so hang on. We began reading the 21st chapter of it this week, and up to the 24th almost all the material has to do with emphasizing the importance of the priests, the kohanim . It follows logically that all the Children of Israel should support the special status of these people and protect them. They were key to communicating...Read more...

Love Your Neighbor as Yourself, I am the Eternal

04/28/2023 08:04:50 AM


The middle of Leviticus is where we find ourselves this week in the yearly cycle of Torah readings, smack dab in the middle.  The six chapters of Leviticus (16-21) we read this week contain many, many details that pertain to Aaron and the priesthood and sacrifices. These types of details may seem repetitive and obscure in their meaning or intent and this is not a popular portion to preach on when these portions...Read more...

The Relative Nature of Nissan

04/21/2023 08:28:57 AM


The time just before Pesach I described as being hectic and pressured in a different message, but the time after Pesach is another thing entirely. Less than a week after the end of the seven day experiment in limiting personal freedom, Israel remembers the Shoah, the Holocaust perpetrated against the Jews by Nazi Germany. The radio stations play only sad songs, or no songs at all, entire TV channels don’t...Read more...

What Unites Us? What Divides Us?

04/05/2023 01:17:41 PM


This is THE existential question facing any society, any group, even any family! When it comes to Jewish identity we have both the religious aspect, which for many of us is what we think of when we say “Jewish”, but we also have the ethnic aspect. The immense diversity in ethnic expressions of Jewish identity is, on the one hand, a cause to rejoice; more ways to achieve the same goal means more “wins” for...Read more...

A Flame That is Meant to Last

03/30/2023 10:47:23 AM


We’ve often heard it said that the only thing constant is change, and those of us who have lived through a few decades can readily attest to that belief. Remember Y2K? Perhaps you remember a world without social media? Door-to-door Encyclopedia Britannica salesmen? Card catalogues at the library? The very existence of Czechoslovakia? Good times.

As we move through this ephemeral...

A New Book, A New Month, A New Beginning?

03/24/2023 08:34:48 AM


This is the first Shabbat in the month of Nisan, the month of Spring and renewal. This is also the first Torah portion in the Book of Leviticus, also known as “Torat Kohanim”, i.e. the manual for priests. We are between the merriment and extremity of Purim and the celebration of freedom that we invite all to join in: “come, have boiled fish croquets with horseradish, shredded apple salad and crackers”. Yes,...Read more...

This is the Bread of Affliction: Let All Who Are Hungry Come and Eat, All who Have Need Let Them Come to Make Pesach

03/16/2023 09:47:20 AM


There hasn’t always been a set Passover Seder. It didn’t spring up as a full blown ritual in one generation, and certainly not during the generations we were resident in the Land of Israel. At one time early on in the first century, Passover was a time of pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem and offering of the Paschal sacrifice, which the egg refers to on our modern seder plates. After the destruction of...Read more...

Tue, May 30 2023 10 Sivan 5783