Spirituality – Ritual

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  • SOUNDING THE SHOFAR DURING ELUL August 23, 2022
    SHOFAR BLOWING DURING ELUL During the month of Elul, the last Hebrew month before Rosh Hashanah, the Shofar is sounded at every morning service except Shabbat. In our congregation we also blow shofar at night, a custom we developed for congregants who, because of work schedules etc., could not make the morning minyan. The sounding of ...
  • DEUTERONOMY AS A METAPHOR FOR GROWTH August 8, 2022
    DEUTERONOMY AS METAPHOR     The book of D’varim (Deuteronomy) can be looked upon as a metaphor for personal growth. Let’s start with a look at Moses at the burning bush in Exodus, chapter 3. Moses has, rather impetuously, killed an Egyptian taskmaster and had to flee to Midian. Now he is tending his father-in-law’s sheep in ...
  • OBSERVING THE FAST DAYS July 10, 2022
    THE FAST DAYS I was thinking about the rituals commemorating the humiliating defeat of Israel/Judea culminating with the destruction of the first and second Temples first by the Babylonian Empire under Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BCE and later the Roman Empire in 70 CE. Our rituals concerning national calamity involve scriptural readings, changes to the prayer service ...
  • 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 ...
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