‘Rabbi’s Journal’ Category

Rabbi’s Journal

May 20, 2018
By Beth Mordecai
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Each Day Counts

This week we begin reading the book of Bamidbar or Numbers in the Torah.  The second verse of the portion includes God’s commandment to Moses to count the number of families traveling in the desert.  The medieval, French commentator, Rashi tells us that God wished to count the children of Israel often because we are so dear to Him.  With each counting, God was able to acknowledge each person or family. Perhaps this is similar to a teacher constantly counting children on a field trip.  The teacher looks to each child with care and makes sure no one is missing. This Saturday night, we will celebrate the holiday of Shavuot.  We have been counting every day from Passover to Shavuot.  Tonight[...]

Category : Omer Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shavuot

Rabbi’s Journal

May 4, 2018
By Beth Mordecai
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Respectfully Disagree – The Message of Lag B’omer

Good Afternoon,   Every day between Passover and Shavuot God commands the Israelites to count the days for seven weeks, or 49 days. The 50th day will be the holiday of Shavuot.   The time of the counting of the omer is also traditionally a period of semi-mourning.  Many Jews do not celebrate B'nai Mitzvah, weddings, listen to music, or cut their hair.     The most common explanation for these practices comes from the Talmud, which tells us that during this season a plague killed thousands of Rabbi Akiva‘s students because they did not treat one another respectfully.   When the students disagreed with each other in the course of studying they insulted each other instead of listening and disagreeing with kindness.  In punishment, God sent a[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal

Rabbi’s Journal

April 27, 2018
By Beth Mordecai
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Are You Holy?

Good Afternoon, At the beginning of parashat Kedoshim, God speaks to Moses, saying: Speak to the whole community of the children of Israel, and you will tell them: You shall be holy, for I, Adonai your God, am holy.”   Reading this verse I felt the echoes of an ancient challenge speaking through the ages.  This urging toward Kedushah or holiness is framed as a communal responsibility. There are two radically different conceptions of Kedushah in Jewish tradition: The first perspective understands holiness as separation, as in the blessing we say to end Shabbat or a holiday, Lehavdil Bein Kodesh l’chol, to make a separation between holy and secular. Rashi, the medieval commentator says that holiness is inextricably bound to the concept of separation. [...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal

Rabbi’s Journal

April 21, 2018
By Beth Mordecai
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Israel at 70

This week we celebrated Israel's 70th birthday.  May Israel and her people live up to our highest ideals.  May Israel prosper in peace and joy. One of our dedicated members, Vardi Roy, shared this message with me.  It was written by the Chief Rabbi of South Africa, Warren Goldstein.  He wonderfully weaves together themes of celebrating Israels with the portion we read this week from the Torah and the important theme of gratitude.  I wanted to share his incredible message with you this week.  Please let me know your thoughts at Rabbi.SaraMetz@gmail.com May God continue to bless Israel and her people, together with Jews all around the world, with prosperity, safety, unity, and success.  Israel at 70 - by[...]

Category : Israeli News Rabbi Rabbi's Journal

Rabbi’s Journal

April 13, 2018
By Beth Mordecai
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This Week’s Torah Portion, Sh’mini – The deaths of two of Aaron’s sons

Good afternoon, I hope you are enjoying the wonderful weather today! Please enjoy my thoughts on this week's Torah portion, Sh'mini. This week we read the account in the Torah of the deaths of two of Aaron’s sons, Nadav and Avihu.  We are told that “they brought before the Lord foreign fire, which He had not commanded them.” (Lev. 9:1) In the very next verse, we read, “And fire went forth from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.” Lev. 9:2.  The question we are left with is: why did God kill Nadav and Avihu? What was their great crime? Rashi brings two possible reasons for their deaths, attributed to Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Ishmael respectively.  Nadav and[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal

Rabbi’s Journal

April 5, 2018
By Beth Mordecai
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Passover, Freedom and the Hallel Prayers

Good Morning,   I would like to share with you some thoughts on Passover, freedom and the Hallel prayers.  Please let me know your thoughts or questions at Rabbi.SaraMetz@gmail.com   Hallel is the collection of psalms we joyously sing to celebrate a holiday or the beginning of a Hebrew month, on Rosh Chodesh.  Usually, we sing the psalms together as one unit during the day. Earlier this week during the Passover Seder, we said Hallel at night and it was split into two sections.  This strange happenstance should be a bright flashing light, trying to teach us something.  The way in which Hallel is split is symbolic.  The first part of Hallel focuses on our joined communal memory of our redemption from[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal

Rabbi’s Journal

March 23, 2018
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message: “Come Closer”

Good Afternoon, “Come closer.”  This is what God is saying to us.  Our weekly portion, Tzav,  focuses on the different types of sacrifices the priests or kohanim would offer in the Tabernacle.  The Torah describes the multiple animal and grain sacrifices, what is given, when, why and how.  I often say that every translation is an interpretation. The word “sacrifice” we use in English, has the connotation of giving something up, voluntarily or compulsory. In Hebrew, the word that is used to describe the animal, grain or act is korban, קרבן.  This is the noun that comes from the Hebrew verb, להקריב.   Sacrifice is not a good English translation as it does not give the same nuance as the Hebrew.  The verb, להקריב,[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal

Rabbi’s Journal

March 16, 2018
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Mesage: Committing an unintentional sin

Good Afternoon,   This week we start reading the book of Leviticus.  This book outlines the many intricacies involving the procedures a Priest would conduct including sacrifices.  In this Torah portion, Moses also teaches the people the laws of which sacrifices to give and when.  One of the situations discussed is when a person commits an unintentional sin.     According to Hasidic thought and various psychological approaches as well, when we do something inadvertently, it is not a mere accident but it is our motives coming out from deep in our soul or subconscious.  These actions reveal what is truly going on deep in us.  Thus, one should not only ask forgiveness and make amends for the actual act that was committed, but for[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

Rabbi’s Journal

March 9, 2018
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message from Rabbi Metz – D’var Torah: A Woman’s Gifts

Good Morning, This week I would like to share with you a thought-provoking interpretation of this week's Torah portion.  This was written by one of my teachers, Rabbi Joel Levy, of the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. We will discuss this further Shabbat morning. Please share your thoughts with me at Rabbi.SaraMetz@gmail.com. D'var Torah: A Woman's Gifts Rabbi Joel Levy, Rosh Yeshiva, Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem  This double parasha, which describes the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness, mentions various contributions made specifically by the Israelite women. The first is found in Exodus 35:25-26: "...every woman wise of mind with their hands they spun ... the goats'-hair." By way of the ancient and time-consuming activity of hand-spinning - twisting fibers together to[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

Rabbi’s Journal

March 2, 2018
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message from Rabbi Metz – Tangible Objects of Holiness

Good Afternoon, We have all see various depictions in film and art of Moses descending Mt. Sinai with the tablets in his hands.  He then sees the Israelites below him worshipping the golden calf and throws the tablets down as they shatter below him.  We read of this scene in this week’s parshah, Ki Tissa. The Kuzari, written by the medieval Spanish Jewish philosopher and poet Judah Halevi explains one possible reason for how the people could commit idol worship so soon after the revelation at Sinai.  Halevi explains that the people were waiting with great anticipation for Moses to return. But what were they expecting to receive, the tablets of what was written on them? Halevi explains that the people needed some[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal

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