I love it when my Jewish anniversary falls on the Torah Portion Noah. In 2004 I converted on the October 13th and the Torah Portion for that week was Noach. So there is a special place in my heart for this week’s Torah portion.
We learn that Human beings are created B’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God. What a concept and probably the most important idea in the Torah we are all created in the image of God. To be created in God’s image is not just about the Awesomeness power of God it is also a statement of responsibility about the way we are to treat others. Do we see God in others? Do we recognize that all people are created in the image of God?
One of the things that I love about the weekly Torah portion is that so often when I need a passage to speak to me about what is happening in our world today the words are there on the page and they jump out out at me. This week we are in the Torah portion Chukat.
This coming shabbat is the start of passover we also call this holiday zman cherutainu - זְמָן חֵרוּתֵנוּ - a time of our freedom.
This week week we are in the the Torah portion Tzav. And I want to talk about giving thanks. In this week’s torah portion We learn that one who offers a Korban aka sacrifice for the purpose of giving thanks must eat that Korban on the day when it is offered and none of it shall be set aside until morning.
What does is your purpose in life? Are you called to something ?
Joseph is someone who dared to be different and he dared to dream big. In what ways are you like Joseph?
We are often reminded of the awesomeness of God in the spectacular moments in our lives and those are moments when we may find ourselves especially open to a connection with God
But it's also possible to experience God's presence in the mundane everyday moments of our lives. And then like Jacob we can exclaim "God is in this place"
There is a lot happening in this week’s Torah Portion. Do you have a sibling? Are you rivals? Check out this week’s podcast.
Let’s talk about what it means to be a good host. In this week’s podcast, we have two examples of hospitality, one good and one gone mad.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about the kind of Jewish community that I want to help build and be a part of, not just as a Rabbi but as a member of the community. It’s important for me as a rabbinical student and future Rabbi to find ways to connect with as many Jews as possible. Not just the ones in our shuls, or other Jewish organizations but the ones that go unnoticed, we often call them the unaffiliated.
On this episode of Jewish prayer. I'm focusing on prayers of peace. A universal truth in Christianity, Judaism and Islam is the idea of treating others the way we want to be treated. Or Love your neighbor as yourself. This is often referred to the Golden rule.
In 2015 I lived in Jerusalem as part of my training to become a rabbi, I was fortunate to go on a trip to East Jerusalem sponsored by Encounter. The purpose of the trip was to listen to Palestinians tell their stories about their realities of living in Jerusalem.
Below is the video of me singing this prayer for peace on my balcony in Jerusalem
Here is the audio if you just want to listen.
I'm really excited about this podcast. I've made some changes and I hope you like them.
We are entering the holiest time of the year beginning with the Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah. This week’s Torah portion is a double portion Nitzavim - Vayeilech. We have come to the last day of Moses' life and he has gathered all of Israel, one final pep talk. Moses tells them that if they observe the commandments, great things will happen to them but if they don't and they get to the other side and decide to forsake god then bad things will happen. He’s like look You can choose to be happy and have joy in your life or to be unhappy and complain. You can be Be thankful or not. You have the choice of life and death, blessing and curse I want you to choose life.
This is our first episode on Jewish Prayer. Let’s Talk about Modah Ani or if you identify as male it’s Modeh Ani
I really am a morning and it’s so important to start your day off with gratitidude.
מודה אני לפניך מלך חי וקים שהחזרת בי נשמתי בחמלה, רבה אמונתך.
Modeh/Modah ani lifanecha ruach chai v’kayam shehechezarta bi nishmahti b’chemlah, rabah emunatecha.
I offer thanks to You, God, for You have restored my soul within me; You God are awesome.
Modeh/Modah is said immediately upon rising before we get out of bed and should be the first words we utter every morning.
When we recite Modeh/Modah Ani we are essentially thanking G-d for giving us another day. We wake up grateful instead of thinking about what may have happened the previous day and our first conscious thoughts are spent expressing, “thank you.”
I understand that things are not always great and there are often rough times but it’s nice to wake up and kind of remind ourselves to be thankful instead of thinking about the stuff that weighs us down. Basically, if we wake up with a sentiment of gratitude, we feel grateful, and we can continue with a more positive day
Start your day with gratitude. Be grateful and thankful for each day we are here.
Modah Ani - I thank you you God for restoring my soul in me and giving me another day in this body. You God are Awesome!.
Check out my original version of Modah Ani below
Here is a video version of me singing Modah Ani on my balcony in Jerusalem
In this episode I'm discussing future changes for the podcast