‘Rabbi’s Journal’ Category

Rabbi’s Journal

November 21, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
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Thoughts on Parshat Vayera

Rabbis have the incredible honor of joining families for many lifecycle events. We help to bring God’s blessing, increase joy, or offer comfort. Our Torah portion this week is Chaye Sarah, the life of Sarah. The Torah opens this parsha by describing the number of years that were in Sarah’s life. We read that “the life of Sarah was one hundred years and twenty years and seven years,” (Genesis 23:1) as if this tells us everything that we need to know about who our matriarch Sarah was. Rashi, quoting the 4th-century Midrash Genesis Rabbah (58:1), explains that Sarah’s age was recorded in this unusual format with “the word ‘years’ written after every digit ... to tell you that every digit is to be[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

Rabbi’s Journal

October 11, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message: Let my teaching drop as rain

Below is a beautiful interpretation of this week’s parshah, Ha’azinu written by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth. In this portion, Moses gives his last address the the people. Please enjoy and let me know what you think. Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Metz _____________________________________ In the glorious song with which Moses addresses the congregation, he invites the people to think of the Torah – their covenant with God – as if it were like the rain that waters the ground so that it brings forth its produce: Let my teaching drop as rain, My words descend like dew, Like showers on new grass, Like abundant rain on tender plants. (Deut. 32:2) God’s word is like rain in a dry land. It brings life. It[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

Rabbi’s Journal

October 4, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
no comments.

Shabbat Message: Returning

This Shabbat is known as Shabbat Shuva, the Shabbat of return. The ten days, in between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are known as the ten days of teshuva. During these days we are urged to be more self aware, to notice our thoughts and actions. We are then charged to try to be better and to not repeat our same mistakes. The word teshuva is often translated as repentance. Yet, the root of this word means returning. The goal of the High Holidays is for us to truly look at who we are, to examine ourselves. We aim to see who we really are, as our best selves. We then must ask ourselves if we are on the path to being this[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

Rabbi’s Journal

September 19, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message: The Importance of Storytellers

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks writes a weekly commentary on the Torah portion. This week he writes about the power of stories in our communal memory. I hope you will find this piece as moving as I did. Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Metz _____________ Howard Gardner, professor of education and psychology at Harvard University, is one of the great minds of our time. He is best known for his theory of “multiple intelligences,” the idea that there is not one thing that can be measured and defined as intelligence but many different things – one dimension of the dignity of difference. He has also written many books on leadership and creativity, including one in particular, Leading Minds, that is important in understanding this week’s parsha. Gardner’s argument is that[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

Rabbi’s Journal

September 12, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
no comments.

Shabbat Message: Building a Parapet

Some weeks are so busy; it can be hard to find time to breathe. There may be so much going on it is difficult to give complete focus to any task. Our parsha this week, Ki Teitzei, contains 74 mitzvot, or commandments. One of these commandments is a curious law: “When you build a house, you shall make a parapet for your roof so that you do not bring bloodguilt on your house if anyone should fall from it.” (Deut. 22:8). This law is designed to protect the owner, the family, and visitors to the roof. In the Ancient Near East, the roof was a place to socialize, dry flax, and sleep using nature’s air conditioning on hot summer nights. People were[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

Rabbi’s Journal

September 6, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
no comments.

Shabbat Message: Open Your Hand

This week I read this incredible piece by Rabbi Nicole Guzik and feel this message to be deeply relevant and important. Please enjoy these words of Torah and share your thoughts with me. Shabbat Shalom - Rabbi Metz ****** In our recent visit to the beach, our children lamented that we had just one boogie board to share among the three kids. Such problems…I realize the sheltered lives they live. Overhearing our silly conversation was a homeless man, smiling while watching my bickering children. He looked at me and said, “I have an extra boogie board. Take it.” And before I knew it, he wrapped the board’s cord in my hand and smiled an even larger grin. I said, “Can[...]

Category : Rabbi's Journal Shabbat Torah Teachings

Rabbi’s Journal

August 30, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message: Bettering Our Souls

This Friday night is Rosh Chodesh, the holiday of the new month, celebrated at the beginning of each Hebrew month. Friday night marks the beginning of the Hebrew month of Elul, the last and final month of our calendar before Rosh HaShannah, our new year. It is traditional to sound the Shofar every day during services in Elul to wake up our souls. The shofar calls to alert us to the need to make the changes in our lives that we so desperately know we need to make. During this time of year, we engage in what is known as a “Cheshbon haNefesh,” an accounting of our souls, to help us identify the actions, and behaviors, and attitudes that we want[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

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
no comments.

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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