Ki Tavo: Breathing Through Struggle

The name of this week’s parsha, or Torah portion, is Ki Tavo, which means “when you enter.” In this parsha, Moses lays out for the Jewish people the rituals they should observe when they enter the Promised Land. The various rituals all have a common theme: honoring the history of the Jewish people, and all that G-d […]

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Ki Tisa: Finding Pride in Humility

This parsha, meaning portion, Ki Tisa, translates to the lifting of heads, as in taking a census. It is among the most important and fundamental parshat in the Torah and is quite long. Ki Tisa discusses Moses’s journey up Mount Sinai, the receiving of the Ten Commandments, the creation of the golden calf and Moses […]

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Parsha Chayei Sarah: Chesed in Brooklyn

This week’s Torah portion, or parsha, is called Chayei Sarah, meaning “the life of Sarah”, is so named because its first few words tell us that Sarah lived 127 years. The Torah portion then proceeds with the story of Sarah and her husband Abraham’s family. One section of the portion tells us that Abraham sent […]

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Balak: Seeing Things More Clearly

This week’s parsha, or Torah portion, comes from the book of Numbers and is called Balak, so named for the king of Moab who features prominently in this particular story. The Israelites had settled in Moab and Balak, intimidated and disgusted by their numbers, sent for the prophet Balaam to come to Moab and curse the Jews. […]

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Acharei Mot-Kedoshim: (En)Lighten Up

This week there is a double parsha, or Torah portion, Acharei Mot-Kedoshim, which translates to “After death, Holy.” It begins right after Aaron’s sons have been killed for attempting to get too close to G-d and entering the divine sanctuary without authorization, then goes on to outline specific practices that should be followed on Yom Kippur, the day […]

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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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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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Shlach Lecha: Finding our Inner Caleb

This week’s parsha, from the book of Numbers, is Shlach Lecha, which translates as “send for yourself.” This reading finds Moses and the Israelites in the desert of Paran. At the behest of G-d, Moses sends 12 heads of the community to scout out the Land of Canaan, where G-d has proclaimed the Hebrews will […]

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Emor

This week’s Torah portion is called ‘Emor’, which means “speak” — and the portion deals with three general areas: First, G-d tells Moses to instruct Aaron and the rest of the priests on levels of priesthood, separation, and ritual defilement; Second, Shabbat and the other the holy days of the year and how we are […]

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Passover as a birthing story

I have to admit I’ve avoided writing this for a long time. Not because I didn’t want to write about it and not because I don’t love the topic – as a long-time meditator, longer-time Jew, Jewish Meditation Center Board member and sit leader in my local community, I’m pretty involved. It’s just that when […]

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