‘Shabbat’ Category

Shabbat

June 2, 2015
By bethmordecai
no comments.

DAY 1067: Outside the Box? Assessing “Let’s Do Shabbos Together: Shabbat Meals Across Beth Mordecai”

Dear Hevreh, The term "thinking outside the box" is one I find problematic. It's meant to describe someone who is creative in finding alternative ways to get things done, with the "box" symbolizing the way things normally get done. The first problem with this concept is that people or ideas labeled as "outside the box" are assumed to not care about "the box," i.e. about the usual way things get done. There is a reason why things "inside the box" have gotten done in a certain way for a long period of time. These things "inside the box" are called customs and the longevity of customs is a testament to the strength of their meaning and their usefulness. And when customs[...]

Category : Let's Do Shabbos Together Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat
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Shabbat

May 8, 2015
By bethmordecai
no comments.

Parashat Emor 2015/5775 (Triennial II) — Shabbat Appears Everywhere

Parashat Emor 2015/5775 (Triennial II) -- Shabbat Appears Everywhere Shabbat (the day of rest) is mentioned countless times in the Torah, including in this week's Torah portion of Emor (Leviticus 23:3). Why does this command appear so many different times? Isn't once enough? Today we will explore a number of places in which the Torah commands the Israelites to observe Shabbat. We will try to glean meaning from each instance using the interpretive principle of "smikhut parshiyot" (סמיכות פרשיות), which teaches us that the meaning of a text can be gleaned by understanding the context in which it is written. Please join us for this interesting class on the meanings of Shabbat!

Category : Online Learning Online Parashah Class Shabbat
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Shabbat

March 6, 2015
By bethmordecai
no comments.

DAY 979: Celebration Can Mean Different Things

Dear Hevreh, Tonight is Celebration Shabbat a chance for all of those celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, or other simhahs in March to come together in song, dance, and blessing. (Full disclosure: I will be one of the ones celebrating a birthday blessing tonight ;-) ). Yet, to be honest, every service is an opportunity to celebrate together. Whether it's checking in on our weeks or just enjoying the rituals of our tradition, there's nothing like coming together in community and celebrating our Judaism. But in addition to these joyous kinds of celebration, there is another critical kind of celebrationthat we experience every Shabbat service. It's the celebration of life through the recitation ofkaddish for a loved one. Yes, kaddish helps us grieve, and grieving is not something[...]

Category : Celebration Shabbat Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat
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Shabbat

February 9, 2015
By bethmordecai
no comments.

DAY 954: We Live By Our Contact With The World Around Us

"וחי בהם" ולא שימות בהם (תלמוד בבלי עבודה זרה כח:ב על ויקרא יח:ה) "And you shall live by them" and not die by them (Babylonian Talmud Avodah Zarah 27b interpreting Leviticus 18:5) Dear Hevreh, Ever since our people left Egypt we have been a nation of "mixed multitudes" (Exodus 12:38) an assortment of individuals and traditions from different backgrounds. Some come to share their unique backgrounds (see Jethro) and some come to experience the uniqueness of Judaism (see Aramaeans eating the Passover sacrifice). No matter the reason though Judaism has always mixed together with people and traditions from different cultures. It is part of our DNA as a wandering people. Some would[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat
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Shabbat

December 12, 2014
By bethmordecai
no comments.

DAY 895: Shabbat is a Day to Strike

Dear Hevreh, As I've often remarked, Shabbat is a wonderful time to rest. It's a chance to break from the usual grind of work and life to take a moment and reflect. Yet, this Shabbat I'm thinking of another kind of "break" that also comes from the root of the word Shabbat (Sh-b/v-t) meaning "to rest;" yhat word is Sh'vitah which means "strike." In particular, sh'vitah refers to the actions of a group of people (usually workers) to STOP what they're doing in order to achieve some kind of goal (i.e. better wages, better working conditions, etc.). What is remarkable about the term sh'vitah (especially as it relates to Shabbat) is that by its very root it indicates that when someone (or some group)[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat
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Shabbat

November 20, 2014
By bethmordecai
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DAY 873: In Trying to Process the Attack in a Jerusalem Synagogue

(11/20/14), Most, if not all of us, are aware of the terrible crime committed the other day in a synagogue in Jerusalem. Terrorists murdered a group of Jewish worshippers while the worshippers were standing in the opposite direction -- to the east -- to davven the Amidah, a prayer recited by all Jews everywhere around the world. The symbolism of this horrible moment in an increasingly devastating conflict couldn't be more acute. The davveners were facing towards the center of Jewish worship -- the Temple Mount -- while their murderers attacked in response to purported fears that Jews wanted to take over the Temple Mount for Jewish worship. Despite occasional flare-ups, the fact that Jews pray towards the Temple Mount and Muslims pray[...]

Category : Adult Education Israeli News Jewish Current Events Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Services Shabbat
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Shabbat

November 14, 2014
By bethmordecai
no comments.

DAY 867: Celebrating Jonah’s First Year

Dear Hevreh, I've experienced many firsts in my time at Beth Mordecai, from lifecycle events to preaching, teaching, and organizing. But none of these firsts can compare to another first that I experienced while being at Beth Mordecai...the first time I became a father. The wonderful highlights (and rare lowlights) of first year of fatherhood are too numerous and overwhelming to describe in a simple journal. But what I can share is that during this journey, it feels like every step (literally) is a major lifecycle event, every conversation is a chance to teach (and sometimes preach), and every moment is replete with the little details that need to be organized. And as I reflect on this first year, I realize how Beth[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat
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Shabbat

November 7, 2014
By bethmordecai
no comments.

Shabbat

September 12, 2014
By bethmordecai
no comments.

DAY 804: Reflecting on America — A message in honor of September 11th

Dear Hevreh, Yesterday our country commemorated another anniversary -- the 13th -- of the attacks on September 11th, 2001. This "bar mitzvah" year is no celebration, but as we shared at Perth Amboy's commemoration yesterday it is an opportunity to recall what unifies us together, what makes us uniquely American. For many of our ancestors, America represented a beacon of light that promised a better and more prosperous future for us, their children. And for many of us though not all, that promise of a "goldene medinah (a golden land)" has been fulfilled. Yet, for many, including in our community and in our hometown, that promise is still a dream. If we are one of the lucky ones who feels[...]

Category : Perth Amboy News Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat
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Shabbat

June 6, 2014
By bethmordecai
no comments.

DAY 706: Busying Ourselves With Torah

Dear Hevreh, As we come out of a holiday full of meaningful Torah learning, I am reminded that no matter how enjoyable, how meaningful, or how special Torah learning can be it is not always easy to find the time to continue our learning. The blessing we are supposed to recite before learning Torah -- Barukh Attah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh Ha-Olam Asher Kid'shanu B'mitzvotav V'tzivanu La-asok B'divrei Torah (Blessed Are You God King of the Universe Who Has Sanctified Us with Your Commandments and Commanded Us To Busy Ourselves With the Words of Torah) -- teaches us that like any business or occupation, Torah learning needs our time and effort. Yet, how often do we actually busy ourselves with Torah? If we're[...]

Category : Bar and Bat Mitzvah Bar Mitzvah Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat Shavuot
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