Archive | Teachings

Shabbat Hagadol: Preparing for Passover

The Shabbat that precedes the beginning of Passover is known in our tradition as Shabbat Hagadol – The Great Sabbath. The first night of Passover this year falls next Friday night, so this Shabbat is Shabbat Hagadol. The exact origin of this title is not exactly clear, but it is probably drawn from the special […]

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Vayikra: Leviticus as Literature

Vayikra el Moshe va’yedaber YHVH eilav me’ohel moed YHVH called to Moses, and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting (Leviticus 1:1) For the modern reader, the Book of Leviticus appears to be an odd and even unwelcome intrusion into the grand saga of our ancestors. After the satisfying conclusion of the Book of […]

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Vayakhel-Pekudei: Realizing Our True Nature

Va’yomer Moshe el B’nei Yisrael: “Re’u, kara YHVH b’shem Betzalel, ben Uri, ben Hur, l’mateh Yehudah, va’yemaleh oto ru’ach Elohim b’chochmah bi’t’vunah u’v’da’at u’v’chol melacha.” And Moses said to the Children of Israel: “See, the Creator has singled out by name Betzalel, son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, endowing him […]

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Ki Tisa: The Golden Calf

Vayikahel ha’am al Aharon vayomru eilav: “Kum aseh lanu elohim asher yelchu lefaneinu, ki zeh Moshe, ha’ish asher he’elunun me’eretz Mitzrayim, lo yadanu meh hayah lo!” The people gathered against Aaron and said to him, “Do something! Make us a god who shall lead us, for that Moses, the man who brought us up out […]

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Trumah: Creating Holy Moments

Daber el B’nai Yisrael v’yikchu li trumah me’et kol ish asher yidvenu libo tikchu et trumati…V’asu li Mikdash v’shachanti b’tocham. Tell the Children of Israel to bring Me gifts – you shall accept gifts for Me from every person whose heart so moves them…And you shall build Me a sanctuary and I will dwell in […]

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Yitro: Listening for the Aleph

Anochi YHVH Elohecha asher hotzeiticha me’eretz Mitzrayim mi’beit avadim. I am Life Unfolding who brought you out of constriction and enslavement. (Exodus 20:2) I have the incredible good fortune this month to be writing to you from New Zealand. I have never been here before and am thrilled to have this opportunity to teach and […]

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Beshallach: Spiritual Boot Camp

Va’yilonu kol adat B’nei Yisrael al Moshe v’al Aharon bamidbar In the wilderness, the whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. (Exodus 16:2) Beshallach is a momentous Torah portion. Pharaoh, his kingdom in ruins, has finally let the Children of Israel go. They arrive at the shores of the sea, Yam Suf (sometimes translated […]

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Bo: Teach Your Children

V’hayah ki yishalcha vincha machar laymor “Mah zot?” And when, in times to come, a child of yours asks you, “What is this?” (Exodus 13:14) As we enter Parshat Bo the Exodus narrative is reaching its climax: the plague of locusts descends, then darkness so dense that the Torah says one could touch it. Pharaoh […]

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Va’era: I Will Be With You

Vayedaber Moshe lifnay YHVH leimor: “Hen B’nai Yisrael lo sham’u eilai v’eich yishm’eini Phar’o, va’ani arel sfatayim!” And Moses spoke to YHVH, saying: “Look, the Children of Israel would not listen to me; how then should Pharaoh listen to me – me, a man of impeded speech!” (Exodus 6:12) Moses, the reluctant prophet, has returned […]

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Shemot: The Long Walk to Freedom

Vayomer melech Mitzrayim lameyaldot ha’ivriyot asher shem ha’achat Shifrah v’shem ha’shenit Pu’ah vayomer b’yaldechen et ha’ivriyot ur’item al ha’ovnayim im ben hu v’hamiten oto v’im bat hi v’chaya. The king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shifrah and the other Puah, saying, “When you deliver the Hebrew women, look […]

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