Parsha Vayigash: Letting go of Resentment

Vayigash, Hebrew for “and he drew near”, recounts the story of how Joseph was reunited with his brothers in Egypt. Many years after they sold him into slavery, Joseph has risen to be the second most powerful man in Egypt, behind only Pharaoh himself. His brothers have traveled from Canaan to Egypt to bring back […]

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Parsha Mikeitz: Resting Within The Paradox

This week’s parsha (Torah portion), Mikeitz (“at the end”) opens by describing the inability of Pharaoh’s wise men to interpret their master’s dreams.  Pharaoh details a scene of seven fat cows grazing by a river where another seven sickly-thin ones come to join them.  After co-mingling for a bit, the seven lean cows eat up the fat cows, but […]

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Parsha Vayishlach: Re-naming Ourselves

This week’s parsha, or weekly Torah portion, is Vayishlach, which means “and he sent.” In this parsha, Jacob sends messengers to his estranged brother Esau because he wants to reconcile. The messengers return with the terrifying news that Esau will soon arrive with four hundred men, and that Jacob has reason to be worried. Jacob takes various precautions […]

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Thanksgiving Meditation

There is a built-in sense of indebtedness in the consciousness of man, an awareness of owing gratitude, or being called upon at certain moments to reciprocate, to answer, to live in a way which is compatible with the grandeur and mystery of living.  – Abraham Joshua Heschel One of the reasons I love holidays is […]

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After the Storm

During Hurricane Sandy, as I listened to the wind, rain, and tree branches whoosh and whoop outside the windows; as the doors flung themselves open and crashed against the walls, and the lights flickered and went off; and as we watched Mayor Bloomberg offer instructions and updates, I kept returning to a blessing. Baruch Ata […]

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Lech Lecha: the Torah of Leave-Taking

This week’s parsha, Lech Lecha, contains one of the most famous lines in the Torah: “Go you forth from your land, from your birthplace, from your father’s house to the land I will let you see.” These words from G-d to Abraham begin Abraham’s path to becoming the father of the Jewish people and of the […]

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Bereshit: When “Good” Really is “Good Enough”

Bereshit, meaning “In the Beginning,” is the very first chapter of the Torah, and is chock full of some of the most famous stories in the Bible — maybe even the world. We start with the creation of the universe, Earth, and everything on it (seas, land, plant, animals, humans). From there, we read about […]

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Parsha Vayalech: Days of Awe

This week’s parsha, Vayalech (“and he went”), is read on Shabbat Shuva– the Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, in the middle of the “Days of Awe.” This timing is supposed to feel liminal. We’re poised between the birthday of the world and the day of death’s dress rehearsal. On Rosh Hashanah, we listen […]

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Vegetarian Teshuvah

During Labor Day I was thinking a lot about the idea of labor and what it means to work. I kept coming back to the fact that we’re in this preparatory period, the month of Elul, leading to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and it’s so much work! This time is all about teshuvah, meaning […]

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Parsha Ki Teitzei: Replacing Judgment with Compassion

This week’s parsha, or weekly Torah portion, is Ki Teitzei, translated as “if you go,” which is also how the parsha begins. The entire Torah contains 613 commandments, or mitzvot, and this one parsha contains 74 of them! The mitzvot discussed in Ki Teitzei cover a wide range of topics. Here is a short list: do […]

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