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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The Nature of Teshuva

What is the nature of teshuva (often translated as repentance or return)? How does this process begin?  How do we ourselves take steps towards being our best selves, and how do we create the space for others to do so? One immediate response might be that which Maimonides, the Rambam, suggests in his Laws of […]

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Clear your mind, the rest will follow.

This year’s Rosh Hashana was great- I was with family who I love and miss, caught up with cousins I definitely don’t see enough, and spent as much time as humanly possible with the cutest 16-month old on the planet. I also went to synagogue and took long walks up and down hills. My cousins […]

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Expectations, Effort, and the Task of T’shuvah

I don’t know about you, but I often find the High Holidays very daunting. I mean, we’re supposed to take stock of our entire selves, turn our lives around, and inspire G!d to grant us another year of life! Stakes can’t get much higher. Part of it, too, is that t’shuvah, the process of reconnecting […]

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The gift of being “bad”

As I have mentioned in some of the sits, I’ve always struggled with some of the traditional ways T’shuva and repentance were taught to me – the guilt-inducing, chest-beating, “I’ve-been-so-bad-but-next-year-I-will-be-better” variety. As a kid during the High Holidays, I was racked with guilt about how “bad” I was, and how badly I wanted to be […]

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