Parsha b’shalach: Growth, Freedom, and the Master of Mystery

This week’s parsha (Torah portion) is called b’shalach, and it finishes off the pharaoh and Egypt portion of our story.  And likewise, we will conclude the discussion on the breaking of habits that control us. After all, if pharaoh represents the part of us that wants to keep us enslaved to a habit, it would make sense that his destruction signifies the destruction of whatever is keeping us from being free.  But that is not all that happens in the … Continue reading

Making Beer and Kosher Pots & Pans

I have been making beer for a long time.  Over 20 years in fact.  I have even won a gold medal with one of my beers.  Not only that, but I have taught a few people who have one gold medals with their beers.  One of those people is my brother. Now, one of the important rules of beer making is that your brewing pot should not be used for anything else except for making beer.  When I told this … Continue reading

Why does the Torah say, “Come?” (parsha Bo)

This week’s parsha (portion) was called “Bo” in Hebrew which means come. The name comes from the first sentence of parsha that says: “And haShem (god) said to Moshe (moses), “Come to pharaoh because I have caused his heart to be heavy, and the heart of his servants, for the sake of my two signs that I am bringing close.”  I have heard a lot of talk about why use the word “come” instead of the word “go.”  Before I … Continue reading

Breaking Habits (parsha Va-ayra)

As I read the parsha (Torah portion of the week), I am struck by all the repetition. It seems like every time we turn around, God (haShem) is telling Moshe (Moses) or Moshe and Aaron to raise the staff up to create a plague, or to tell pharaoh to let haShem’s people go to serve him even though, Hashem tells them, that pharaoh will not do it. And pharaoh’s heart keeps being set against the idea of sending the people. … Continue reading

Exodus or Names

Hi everybody, Welcome to the second book that Moshe/Moses wrote: Exodus, or the Hebrew name Shmot which means names. Why is it called names? Well, that is a story for another day. Today I wish to look at the overall story that we read last week. It starts out by naming all the tribes/children that follow Yaakov/Jacob down to Mitzrayim, which is the Hebrew word for Egypt. We then have a new king who does not know about Yoseph/Joseph and … Continue reading