Archive | Teachings

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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Vayechi: When Torah and Life Intersect

Vayik’revu y’mei Yisrael lamut… When Israel’s time to die drew near… (Parshat Vayechi, Gen. 47:29) Vayik’revu y’mei David lamut… When David’s time to die drew near… (Haftarah of Vayechi, I Kings 2:1) This parashah marks the yahrzeit (anniversary of the death) of my father, Dr. David Kligler of blessed memory. He passed away on the […]

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Vayigash: Judah and Joseph

Vayigash eilav Yehudah vayomer “Bi Adoni…” And Judah approached him and said, “By your leave, my lord…” (Gen 44:18) This may be the most dramatic moment in the entire Book of Genesis. During the long famine, Joseph’s 11 brothers had come down to Egypt to seek provisions. Joseph, now vizier of Egypt and in charge […]

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Vayeshev: What goes down must come up!

Vayeshev Ya’akov b’eretz m’gurei aviv b’eretz kna’an. Eleh toldot Ya’akov: Yosef ben sh’va esrei shana hayah ro’eh et achiv batzon. Jacob now settled in the land of his father’s sojourning, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob: Joseph was seventeen years old, and he would tend the flocks with his brothers. […]

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Chanukah: Let Your Little Light Shine

I pause from the weekly cycle of Torah readings and take note of the procession of the seasons and of the holidays: we have reached Chanukah, the Festival of Lights. Part of the genius of the Jewish Holidays is that they resonate on many levels of experience. As we travel through the Jewish year, the […]

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Vayishlach: What’s in a Name?

Vayomer, “Lo Ya’akov ye’amer od shimcha, ki im Yisrael, ki sarita im Elohim v’im anashim vatuchal.” And he said, “No more shall you be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have struggled with God and with men, and you have overcome. (Gen. 32:29) I love this story: It is time for Jacob to go home […]

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