‘Rabbi’ Category

Rabbi

May 9, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message: Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

Lev. 19:18 You shall neither take revenge from nor bear a grudge against the members of your people; you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. יחלֹֽא־תִקֹּ֤ם וְלֹֽא־תִטֹּר֙ אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י עַמֶּ֔ךָ וְאָֽהַבְתָּ֥ לְרֵֽעֲךָ֖ כָּמ֑וֹךָ אֲנִ֖י ה׳ This verse from our parsha, Kedoshim, is one of the most well known in the entire Tanach. Innumerable explanations have been written about, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” one of the core principles of the Torah. First and foremost, a person is expected to love themselves. After all, how can a person love another person if they do not love themselves. Unfortunately, this is not always so obvious to all of us. This demand can seem to be impossible to fulfill. Is it really[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

Rabbi

May 3, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message from Rabbi Metz

They say timing is everything. This week our Torah portion opens by stating “And the Lord spoke to Moses after the death of Aaron's two sons, when they drew near before the Lord, and they died.” In a tragic and much-interpreted incident, Aaron’s two sons, Nadav and Avihu died in making some type of offering to God. After suffering this catastrophic loss, the text continues to acknowledge the event and then describes the prescribed sacrifices the High Priest is to perform on Yom Kippur. The Torah suggests that these sacrifices offer expiation to the Jewish people of their sins between themselves and God. Especially now, I find significant meaning in the connection of these two seemingly disparate subjects. One can infer that Aaron must be[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

Rabbi

April 25, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message: Counting the Omer

During the seder on the second night of Passover, we counted the omer. We are commanded to count each day in between Passover and Shavuot. About 7.5 years ago Lev and I learned that our first child would be born around erev Shavuot, we have gathered together to say the blessing and count the omer. Before we say the blessing we have a tune to the words in Hebrew: הִנְנִי מוּכָן וּמְזוּמָן לְקַיֵים מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה שֶׁל סְפִירַת הָעֽוֺמֶר כְּמוֺ שֶׁכָּתוּב בַתּוֺרָה:‏ וּסְפַרְתֶּ֤ם לָכֶם֙ מִמָּחֳרַ֣ת הַשַּׁבָּ֔ת מִיּוֺם֙ הֲבִ֣יאֲכֶ֔ם אֶת־עֹ֖מֶר הַתְּנוּפָ֑ה שֶׁ֥בַע שַׁבָּתֹ֖ות תְּמִימֹ֥ת תִּהְיֶֽינָה׃‏‏‏ .עַ֣ד מִֽמָּחֳרַ֤ת הַשַּׁבָּת֙ הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔ת תִּסְפְּר֖וּ חֲמִשִּׁ֣ים יֹ֑ום Behold, I am prepared and ready to perform the mitzvah of counting the Omer, as is written in your Torah: You are to count from the end of the[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

Rabbi

April 12, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message: Searching with Light

Throughout the week I study each parsha and read various commentaries and explanations written by ancient and modern rabbis. This week I read the following explanation of the parsha, written by one of my teachers, Rabbi Joel Levy at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. I found the following piece thought provoking and extremely relevant. Please click here and share your thoughts with me. ___________________________ The central section of Parashat Metzora deals with the outbreak of tzara'at (a leprosy-like growth) on plastered buildings. On discovering an outbreak the homeowner is instructed to report it to a priest who would then come and inspect the house to determine whether or not the outbreak constituted a true infestation that required full purification rituals.[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

Rabbi

April 5, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message: Speak Respectfully

We have all been heard, and possibly told others, “if you have nothing nice to say, do not say anything at all.” This week we read in the Torah in Parshat Tazria about lash on harah. This is often translated as gossip, yet it could also be slander or speaking negatively. For thousands of years, the Jewish people have discussed the merits of measured, level-headed speech. Life would become unbearable if we said the first thing that came into our head. The Torah demands that we strike a balance between truth and peace. Of course, it is, to tell the truth, and not to lie, but we also need to strive for peace among people. Sometimes peace takes priority over truth. When we[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

Rabbi

March 22, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat & Purim Message

On Purim, we put on costumes and celebrate Esther’s victory, our victory against the wicked Haman. One of the fundamental mitzvot or commandments of Purim is to give gifts to the needy, called mutant l’evyonim. The Ba'al Shem Tov* taught: “It is a mitzva...to dress up on Purim.”  Indeed, it is a great mitzvah, because in this way one cannot tell the nobleman from the poor. And therefore they [the rabbis] instituted the mitzvah of gifts to the poor on Purim, because when people dress up, the mitzvah of tzedakah may be performed in its most appropriate manner [כתיקונה]. One does not know then to whom they give, and the one who receives does not know from whom they receive, and thus no[...]

Category : Purim Rabbi Rabbi's Journal

Rabbi

March 14, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message: Lessons from Leviticus

We have finished Genesis, on the creation of the world, followed by Exodus, in which we went from slavery to freedom. What’s next? Where do the reader, and the Jewish nation, continue from here? The next stage is the book of Leviticus, which is also called, “The Book of Holiness.” A high standard is expected of us:”You shall be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.” What does the Torah mean by this demand? The commentators explain that this relates to personal sanctity: we are meant to be holy people within our physical selves and the physical world. This holiness is expressed within the small details listed in the Book of Leviticus dealing with sacrifices, respectful dialogue, holidays, the[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

Rabbi

March 8, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message: The Best-Known Symbol

In the middle of the winter, we gather together to enjoy as much fried food as we can stomach and to light the Chanukkiah. A Chanukkiah is a kind of a Menora that is specifically for Chanukkah. The Menora was initially made for the Mishkan, or Tabernacle, that was our portable temple while we, the Israelites wandered in the wilderness. In our Pasha this week, Pekudei, the Torah describes the Menora as having seven branches. The artisans made the Menora by hammering out the shape from one single piece of metal rather than being made from separate pieces of metal that were joined together. The Menora was first placed in the Mishkan and later in the Temple in Jerusalem. It has[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

Rabbi

February 28, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message: Come Together

The opening verse of our Torah portion, Vayak’hel tells us that Moses brought the entire congregation of Israel together to tell them God’s commandments. Why is it so important that Moses brought everyone together? What strength do we have in being one unit and what place does an individual have among the masses? Abba Kovner* was a member of the HaShomer HaTa’ir youth movement in pre-war Europe and was a leader of the partisans during the Holocaust. He provided an answer to these questions.   "…The first week after I arrived in Israel, I went to the Western Wall. When I was just a few steps away from the stones, I felt that I did not belong, that I am a part of another[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

Rabbi

February 14, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message: We Are What We Wear

Following the description of the structure of the Tabernacle last week in Parashat Terumah, our portion, Tetzaveh, leads off with a depiction of the High Priest’s “sacral vestments” - the choshen hamishpat (breastplate of decision), the ephod, a robe, a fringed tunic, a headdress, and a sash. Classical commentators describe that their overall purpose is to elevate the holiness of Aharon, the High Priest, Kohen Gadol. The Hebrew word, kedusha/holiness is setting something apart – making it distinct and unique – so that it prompts greater feelings of carefulness, respect, and honor. Part of the Jewish wedding ceremony is called kedushin, from this same root. Each person is saying the other is special and set apart as their spouse. [caption id="attachment_10105" align="alignright" width="283"][...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal

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