‘Rabbi’s Journal’ Category

Rabbi’s Journal

August 8, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message: Reviewing History

Looking at history is the major theme of this week’s Torah portion, Devarim, the first portion in the book of Deuteronomy. The book of Deuteronomy opens with Moses and reviewing the history of the Israelites’ 40 years of wandering. He shared memories of the spies who spoke out against the land, and of the punishment that followed – 40 years of wandering until the old generation died off. He recounted the sins of the people and the hope that they would now be worthy to enter the land. Just as Moses reviewed the history of his people to that moment, we do as well. As we study our history, we understand that there are two ways to view our history. We can[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

Rabbi’s Journal

August 2, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message from Rabbi Metz

While studying the double Torah portion for the week, Mattot - Massei, I read a commentary by one of my teachers, Rabbi Bradley Artson. His words were especially relevant and interesting to me. So much so, I wanted to share them with you. Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Metz *** In this week’s Torah portion, the Torah addresses the issue of unintentional manslaughter. What is the appropriate penalty for someone who kills someone else unintentionally? Should there be any penalty at all? Our portion discusses the establishment of six Cities of Refuge. Anyone who unintentionally killed another person was permitted to flee to these cities. Once within their walls, the man-slayer was protected by law against any revenge or additional punishment. In this way, the Torah balanced the need to[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

Rabbi’s Journal

July 30, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message from Rabbi Metz about the BDS Movement

As a rabbi and Jewish person, I support and love Israel. Israel is our second home and the Jewish homeland. I want Israel to live up to its own highest ideals and to continue to be a light among the nations. This week an important bipartisan resolution, was passed by the US House of Representatives on an overwhelming vote of 398-17. This puts the House on record opposing the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement and its efforts to target U.S. companies that do business with Israel. I hope for a future when these kinds of resolutions will be unnecessary. Join Beth Mordecai for the High Holidays when I will be speaking about the Jewish people's complicated and loving relationship with Israel. Please read the[...]

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Rabbi’s Journal

July 19, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message from Rabbi Metz

This week, the Torah portion contains a bizarre story about a sorcerer who tries to curse the Israelites. Afraid of the approaching Israelites, Balak, King Balak of Moab retains the sorcerer Balaam to curse them. Balaam consults with God and is told not to go. But after King Balak sends a more impressive delegation, Balaam asks again, and God relents; he can go, but he must do whatever God commands. Balaam tries to curse the Israelites but is unable. King Balak is frustrated as his hired sorcerer is doing the exact opposite of his wishes. Balaam is only doing what he is able, that which God allows. In Numbers 23:27, Balak said to Balaam, “Come now, I will take you to a different place. Perhaps[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

Rabbi’s Journal

July 11, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message for Parshat Hukkat

The Israelites find themselves without water after Miriam’s death. A Midrash tells us that a well appeared whenever the Israelites camped because of Miriam’ merit. The well’s existence ceased at Miriam’s death. The people become thirsty and start to complain…again. The people lament: Why did you make us leave Egypt to bring us to this wretched place, a place with no grain, or figs, or grapes or pomegranates? There is not even water to drink! Numbers 20:2 Moses responds by going with his brother, Aaron into the tent of meeting to approach God. They are then told to assemble the entire community around a rock. There, they are to take a staff and order the rock to produce water. The stone will then produce enough water for all[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

Rabbi’s Journal

June 21, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message from Rabbi Metz

Often, when we remember the past, we only remember the best parts. I was recently speaking with a friend. She shared a story with me about her childhood when her family was not financially secure. For years, their main pieces of furniture were plastic and metal folding outdoor chaise lounges. These were the kinds with the woven plastic strip of fabric. They had plastic milk cartons for side tables. Her parents always worried about being able to pay the bills and feed the family. When my friend spoke of the past, she said that she would go back to those days if she could. She did not remember the electricity being shut off, her parents trying to ration food and feed her and her[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

Rabbi’s Journal

May 30, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
no comments.

Shabbat Message from Rabbi Metz

This week we finish reading the book of Leviticus with the portion entitled Behhukkotai. This long Hebrew word refers to God’s laws. The parsha opens with the verse: If you follow My statutes and observe My commandments and perform them, I will give your rains in their time, the Land will yield its produce, and the tree of the field will give forth its fruit. The Torah is stating the ideal; if you do good, you will be rewarded with good in return. Simple enough of a concept, yet one that is so very difficult. This statement points to a difficulty many have with faith. How do we read these words in the Torah and look to the world and see something so very[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

Rabbi’s Journal

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’s Journal

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’s Journal

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

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