Parsha Yitro: The Torah on Advice

What an exciting shabbat we are going to have this shabbat!   The parsha (weekly Torah portion) we will read includes haShem (god) actually talking to us.  Imagine being in a group of 600,000+ looking up from the base of a smoking, shuddering mountain, with the sounds of shofars (ram’s horn horns) trumpeting, and hearing/seeing the voice of god talking to each and every one of us… However, I get ahead of myself, for this is near the end of the … Continue reading

Tu b’Shvat: The Jewish New Year for the Trees

One of my teachers, R. Raz Hartman gave over the following in a class several years ago.   I hope I do it justice, and that you enjoy it. Before I start, I want to share a few basics.  For those of you who know this already, please bear with me.  According to our family tradition, our man Moshe (Moses) went up on Mt. Sinai and received the Torah.  What he received was not just the written Torah, but also an … Continue reading

Parsha B’shalach: A Torah of Freedom

This week’s parsha (Torah portion) was made for all the musicians in the audience.   In it we find Miriam striking up the band as we sing the song of freedom after crossing through the Yam Soof (Sea of Reeds).  However, I am getting a little ahead of myself.  First, we’ve got to get there, and then we can sing, and then continue on our merry (?) journey to a date with the divine itself. Our parsha starts out by reminding … Continue reading

Parsha Bo: Come to the Godly part of Pharaoh

One way to look at shabbat (the Jewish sabbath) is that it is the completion of a 7 day cycle, and when it is over, we start a new cycle. Another way to look at it is to think of it as the moon. What I mean by this is that Wednesday is like the dark moon, and the energy of shabbat starts to grow and shine stronger and stronger as we go into Thursday and Friday, and is at … Continue reading

Parsha Va-ayra: A Grind it out Torah

We are almost at the end of the Jewish month of Tevat, getting ready to go into the month of Shvat, and we find ourselves in the throws of the 10 plagues that god has sent against Egypt.  How did we find ourselves in such a predicament?   We are here because god won’t allow Pharaoh to let a bunch of slaves go out on a 3 day journey to make a sacrifice to their god.   What in the world is … Continue reading

Parsha Shmot: The Torah of Change (Part 1?)

Hello and welcome to the Exodus. This week’s parsha (Torah portion) is the first of the second book that Moshe (Moses) transcribed from the divine creator-of-everything.  I wonder what it must be like to put down in print your own story as told by someone else.  Did Moshe ever stop haShem (god) and say, “Wait a minute, that’s not how it happened.  It was like this.”?  Then again, he is the humblest man in the world, so maybe he figured … Continue reading