Weekly Shabbat Message

Shabbat Shelah-Lekha 5782

Posted on June 24, 2022

When the scouts return from reconnoitering the Promised Land, their panic proves to be contagious. The Israelites bewail their predicament, longing for a more peaceful death. They would rather have perished in Egypt and would even accept death in the wilderness. Anything would be better than to die by the sword of the giant enemy Continue Reading »

Shabbat Beha’alotekha 5782

Posted on June 17, 2022

The wilderness journey gets underway this Shabbat, but while the Israelites are supposed to be going north, their experience quickly goes south. Despite gifts of Divine accompaniment, a reliable notification system, and a steady diet of manna, the Israelites begin to complain with such bitterness (and irony) that Moshe is ready to give up. Instead Continue Reading »

Shabbat Naso 5782

Posted on June 10, 2022

This week we read Parshat Naso, which is dominated by the longest chapter in the Humash. That’s where we read of the gifts brought by each tribe to the dedication of the altar. Each gift is identical, yet the Torah records each separately, to emphasize the devotion of each and every tribe. Earlier in the Torah portion, Continue Reading »

Shabbat Behukotai 5782

Posted on May 26, 2022

This week, I am going to share music of a different nature. Our Torah portion, Behukotai, includes a long warning about what can happen to the Israelites if they do not adhere to God’s commandments. It’s not a pretty picture, and it seems that societies unmoored from basic decency are liable to fall apart. Their decline Continue Reading »

Shabbat Behar 5782

Posted on May 20, 2022

Parshat Behar is small but mighty! It introduces us to Shemittah and Yovel, the sabbatical and jubilee years. Its focus is economic, not environmental. It also emphasizes the transitory nature of property, both real estate and moveable assets. The forgiveness of debt is a powerful reminder that nothing is truly ours to own forever. Judaism Continue Reading »

Shabbat Emor 5782

Posted on May 12, 2022

From the moment we began reading about the building of the Mishkan, we have been immersed in a pursuit of orderliness. That is the primary fascination of the Priestly strand of the Torah, and it continues to dominate this week’s Torah portion, Emor. Our portion can be divided into three units. The first two are laws governing Continue Reading »

Shabbat Kedoshim 5782

Posted on May 6, 2022

This week we read Parshat Kedoshim, continuing the unit of Leviticus known as the Holiness Code. Chapter 19 is in many ways the epicenter of the Torah, its moral and ethical foundation, as it prescribes behavior for the ideal society in its pursuit of kedushah. We ought to be able to find some good music connected to Continue Reading »

Shabbat Aharei-Mot 5782

Posted on April 29, 2022

This week, instead of my usual musical selections that are connected to the Torah portion, I’m sharing some of the songs I’ll be referencing in my dvar Torah Shabbat morning. With Yom Ha’atzmaut just days away, it’s great for us to get in the mood to celebrate Israel with some great Israeli music! Please click the links below for Continue Reading »

Shabbat Metzora’/HaGadol 5782

Posted on April 8, 2022

On Shabbat HaGadol, our attention turns even more sharply to Pesah. It’s a time for great excitement, anticipation, and joy. At the same time, these past two weeks have been very difficult for our People, with a spate of terror attacks on Israelis in residential settings. So this week’s musical selections focus more on the events that Continue Reading »

Shabbat Tazri’a/Hahodesh 5782

Posted on April 1, 2022

This Shabbat, we will experience what can only happen at most twice a year: reading from three Sifrei Torah. We start with the weekly portion, Tazri’a, and continue the priestly emphasis on holiness and ritual purity. Since it’s Rosh Hodesh Nisan, we read the passage from Numbers that ordains additional sacrifices (musaf) for special occasions, starting with Continue Reading »