Shmot D’var: Stopping to Taste Freedom

“A long time after that, the king of Egypt died.  The Israelites were groaning under the bondage and cried out, and their cry for help from the bondage rose up to God.”  (Exodus 2:23) Out in the wilderness, Moses stumbles across a burning bush that was consumed.  From the bush, God instructs him to go back to Egypt and tell Pharoah to […]

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Parashat Va’yetzey, Dec 10, 2016 – We Are Leah

“God saw Leah was unloved, and opened her womb.” Her sister-wife Rachel, however, will long remain barren, following the tradition of her husband’s mother and grandmother. Leah’s spectacular fecundity is the singular deviation from infertility issues plaguing each of our tradition’s three patriarchal/matriarchal families. No sooner does she wed Jacob, than a cascade of sons in quick succession pours forth: Reuben, Levi, […]

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Prayers of Hope and Joy at the Conclusion of the Cycle

With sundown this evening, we begin the holy occasion of Shemini Atzeret/Simhat Torah. Some two-and-a-half millennia after the Torah decreed that Jews observe the “8th Day of Cessation” as the festive culmination of the annual cycle of the three Pilgrimage Festivals, the leaders of our tradition added the novel dimension of “Rejoicing with the Torah.” Though we usually think of the two […]

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