The Evils of America as the Melting Pot

A number of years ago, a Jewish co-worker and I wanted to share a part of our tradition with our co-workers.  Hanukah was approaching and we wanted to make latkes, or potato pancakes, for everyone at lunch time.  For some reason, we went to the human resources people to get their ok.  They told us that we could not do it because it is against the law to bring religion into the workplace.  At the time we were bummed out … Continue reading

Parsha (double) Tazria-Metzora: Purity and Tzaraat

This week we have a double parsha (weekly Torah portion) which deals with purity.  (For those who don’t know, the Jewish calender is lunar based and needs to add an extra month every other year or so to keep the month of spring in the springtime.  When that extra month is not there, like this year, we have to double up some of the parshas.  And this week is one of those times.)  The first parsha talks about the purity … Continue reading

Your Desire vs God’s Will… or How Do We Know God’s Will?

Hello and welcome to the Thursday Shmooze.  We haven’t had one for the last few weeks because of Passover, but now that the holydays have passed, it is time to shmooze! This week a friend brought me an interesting question.  It starts with the end of Passover; specifically the splitting of the sea.  Now according to the midrash, there was a man named Nachshom who was the first to walk into the sea.  The water got up to his nose … Continue reading

Parsha Shmini: Merging with God and Living to Tell the Tale

At last we are getting to the weekly Torah portion (parsha) called Shmini.   I say, “At last,” because our parsha has been preempted, for the last two shabbats, by the holy days involved with our becoming a people:  Pesach (Passover). Shmini is an interesting parsha, recounting the first sacrifices made by the newly anointed priests in the newly created mishcan (tabernacle).  At the climax, after haShem (god/dess) comes down on the people and eats the sacrifices, two of Aharon’s … Continue reading

What is the Weekly Torah Portion (Parsha) this Week?

Last week I did not write anything on the parsha (weekly Torah portion) because the parsha was a special one for Pesach (Passover).  Perhaps I should have written about Pesach instead, for that is what the parsha was about.  I was very busy cleaning my house of chometz (leavening), and myself of ego. This is one of the traditions I learned while I was in Israel:  chometz is created by yeast eating the sugar in the grains and producing CO2, … Continue reading