Spirituality – Ritual

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  • KABBALAT SHABBAT February 22, 2022
    KABBALAT SHABBAT    One of the most beautiful moments in the week is the time, late Friday afternoon, when the work week is finally ending and Shabbat is about to begin. It is, for those of us who take Shabbat at all seriously, a special, spiritual mystical time. It is a moment when we can feel ...
  • APPLYING SPIRITUAL GROWTH TO LIVING ONE’S LIFE February 2, 2022
    APPLYING SPIRITUAL GROWTH TO LIVING ONE’S LIFE LIFE Recently, a friend who had read most of my posts asked how my spirituality and my relationship to the prayers and the texts affects my day-to-day life. How does this change my life, my behavior, my relationship with the world? I have paraphrased his question a bit, but ...
  • PARTICIPATION IN THE SHALIACH TZIBBOR’S REPETITION OF THE AMIDAH January 7, 2022
    THOUGHTS ON CONGREGATONAL “PARTICIPATION” IN THE REPETITION OF THE AMIDAH The Amidah is the central section of the traditional prayer service. It consists of 19 separate prayers or B’rachot on ordinary weekdays, seven on Shabbat or a Holiday and what feels like 15 or 20 million on the High Holidays, especially Rosh Hashana Musaf. The general traditional ...
  • THE SPIRITUAL AND COMMUNAL IMPORTANCE OF THE DAILY MINYAN December 20, 2021
    THE SPIRITUAL AND COMMUNAL IMPORTANCE OF THE DAILY MINYAN   The daily minyan, morning and evening, is one of the most important services (pun intended) a synagogue can provide its community. The synagogue is, by definition fact, a faith-based community organization. Certainly, one of the ways of expressing that faith is by daily prayer. Jewish law and ...
  • Al HaNissim / Chanukah November 29, 2021
    Al HaNissim (for the miracles) is passage added to the Amidah and the Grace After Meals (Bentching) on ChanukahPurim and Israel Independence Day. In it we offer thanks and credit God with the miraculous event being celebrated on those holidays. On Chanukah the prayer refers to two different miracles. First it discusses the military victory over ...
  • THE SHEMA- PART 3 November 29, 2021
    THE SHEMA – PART 3 The third major theme that I see in the first two passages of the Shema and in virtually all of the third passage (Num 15:37-41) is that we should provide ourselves with virtually constant reminders of our connection to God and God’s laws. These reminders are set forth in three forms. You ...
  • THE SHEMA – PART 2 November 23, 2021
    THE SHEMA    PART 2 The Shema, as I noted earlier, is an integral part of our statement of faith and of our prayer services. It consists of three passages from the Torah, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Deut. 11:13-21 and Numbers 15:37-41. Part one dealt with the first verse (Deut 6:4), the definitive statement of monotheistic connection to the ...
  • THE SHEMA PART 1 November 17, 2021
    THE SHEMA Part 1 The unit of biblical passages that we know as The Shema is essential to our out liturgy. It is part of our morning (Shacharit) and evening (Ma’ariv) services on weekdays, Shabbat and on holidays. It is also recited when retiring for the night. It has been referred to as “the watchword of our ...
  • MAKING OUR SENSES PART OF OUR SPIRITUAL LIFE – PART 2 October 28, 2021
    MAKING OUR SENSES PART OF OUR SPIRITUAL LIFE – PART 2 I have written before about connecting our senses and our spirituality. The earlier essay focused on the senses of hearing and sight. But what about our other, perhaps more earthly, senses, smell, touch and taste. How can these be part of our spiritual lives? In various ...
  • Sing A New Song to the Lord October 11, 2021
    SING A NEW SONG “Shiru l’Hashem shir chadash” sing unto the Lord a new song. This is the opening verse of several of the psalms. They include two of the psalms recited before “L’cha Dodi” on Friday evening during the Kabbalat Shabbat service and one psalm which is recited every morning as part of the p’sukei ...
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S3K – How Spiritual Are American Jews