‘Rabbi’ Category

Rabbi

February 17, 2020
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message: The Ten Commandments

Last week we experienced the miracle of the splitting of the Red Sea. This week, we stand together at Sinai to receive set of teachings commonly known in English as “The Ten Commandments.” The content of these teachings is as important as their order. They are: I am the Lord, your God, Who took you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall not have the gods of others before Me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image… You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain… Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it…. The Lord blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it. Honor your father and your mother… [...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

Rabbi

February 6, 2020
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message: Move From Prayer to Action

The Torah was written with an economy of language, meaning a minimum of words. Every black letter carefully written on the white parchment holds within it immense meaning and potential. The Rabbis often look for interpretations and explanations to better understand the text. Often the Torah switches from one narrative to another and back again. Between 400-1200 CE, the Rabbis compiled various narratives that come to explain or give more detail about a part of the Torah know as Midrashim. Exodus 14:5-22 states, “Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry out to Me? Tell the Israelites to go forward. And you lift up your rod and hold out your arm over the sea and split it, so that the[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

Rabbi

January 30, 2020
By Beth Mordecai
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“A Mixed Mixture Went Up”

In this week’s parsha, Bo, we celebrate our exodus from slavery. We, the children of Israel are a mighty nation that God is bringing out from slavery to redemption, to freedom. God brings us out as a community. Our Torah tells us “a mixed mixture went up.” The rabbis believe that every word in the Torah was specifically chosen by God for a reason. In this verse, I believe the Torah is commenting on community and relationships. Not only is there a mixture of people going up from slavery to freedom, it is a diverse group that is mixed amongst itself. I understand this verse to be telling us of the importance to branch out from your family or your social comfort[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

Rabbi

January 23, 2020
By Beth Mordecai
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Shabbat Message – Showing Gratitude

As the Plagues of Egypt are about to begin, the Torah relates that God tells Moses to tell Aaron to stretch out his hand over the river. It seems strange that Moses does not do it himself! Our sages offer a compelling explanation. Since the river sheltered Moses in his basket when he was an infant, Moses is not allowed to hit the river now, and instead, Aaron is given the job. The reasoning seems somewhat odd. What difference does it make that the river once “helped” Moses? Will it be “insulted” if Moses hits it now? Since when do rivers have feelings? And why is it better that Aaron hit the river? Rabbi Avigdor Nebenzahl discusses this question in his book Talks[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

Rabbi

January 6, 2020
By Beth Mordecai
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Welcome to 2020

The running joke in my family is that none of our kids have glasses… yet. If someone does,not yet have glasses, it is a matter of time for each of them. Yet how well a person sees with their eyes and how one sees with their hearts are two very different things. We just celebrated the new year of 2020. Bob Dylan asks us, How many times can a man look up, before he sees the sky? He tells us the answer is blowing in the wind. Many compare God’s presence in the world to the wind. It cannot be seen directly, yet it can be felt, and we can see its effect. There are many things in this world we cannot[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal

Rabbi

December 19, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
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Chanukkah Lights

It’s Hanukkah time again. Soon the lights of the hanukkiah will grow brighter each night, as we commemorate the victory of the few over the many, the fight for the freedom to live as Jews, and the courage that it took to turn back to a sacred tradition. As in the Maccabees time, the Jewish people are a small minority in America, valiantly trying to maintain our distinctive beliefs and practices in a time of diminishing belief and lessening of religious ritual. More than two thousand years after the Maccabees’ battles, we still admire and find inspiration in their devotion to God and their miraculous deliverance by God. They fought for Judaism, and they celebrated their victory by re-asserting the[...]

Category : Rabbi Rabbi's Journal Shabbat

Rabbi

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

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

October 4, 2019
By Beth Mordecai
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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

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

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