Sh’mot is Hebrew for “names.” As God answered, “I, God, am the one who gives humans the ability to speak.” He has given us the words to say when it is necessary for us to speak up. All we need to do is be the best person we can be and respond to the challenges around us with the unique qualities with which we are gifted. We need to just show up and hear the call. In this week’s portion, Moses’ reluctance and excuses not to speak up challenges us to think about what each of us is called to do. It challenges us to question how much we speak and if and when we lead or follow. We are...Read More
When Grandma is asked in “Grandma’s Reply” (published in Covenant of the Generations) how she felt about not carrying Torah, she replies, “Ah, Medele, but I did carry Torah. I carried Torah in my heart and in my soul. I carried it within me into the cellar, and its words appeared on my lips in the boat. I carried it within me as I packed and unpacked my candlesticks, those same candlesticks your mother used to help light your path toward Torah.” She finishes her reply with a request: “So go today and touch the Torah. Feel in your hands the power and love that I know in my heart, that my...Read More
Today's fast-paced world of brief information exchanges and impulsive communication seems to be moving us away from actually connecting to one another. Modern technology allows us to communicate with anyone, anywhere, anytime, and yet, we're feeling more disconnected, frustrated, and isolated than ever before. The media shows us models of communication where talking over others and shouting to be heard are the norm. What we really need are examples of how we can hear one another from the heart and communicate with each other with more compassion, awareness and clarity. This week's Torah...Read More
The great Jewish philosopher Rambam taught that the law as a whole aims to defend two things: the welfare of the soul and the welfare of the body. Our tradition inspires our belief that government must enact laws that enhance the welfare of both. Unfortunately, over the past weeks, Congressional leaders have focused on passing a harmful tax bill instead of addressing urgent issues that, without action, will endanger the bodies of millions and the soul of our country. Congress should act swiftly to resolve these issues before recessing for the holidays.
Congress has placed...Read More
Parashat Mikeitz describes Joseph’s rise from a lowly prisoner to second in command in Egypt. He has spent two years in an Egyptian prison, but during this time God has been with Joseph, and he matures as he recognizes that his ability of dream interpretation is a gift from God. When Pharaoh has his double dream of seven fat cows consumed by seven emaciated cows followed by seven ears of healthy grain replaced by seven ears of scorched grain, the chief cup bearer remembers Joseph and his gift. Joseph is summoned, cleaned up to look like a respectable Egyptian, and humbly stands before...Read More