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Monthly Archives: 13 Heshvan 5770 (October 31, 2009)
Parashat Lech Lecha ~ October 31, 2009 ~ 13 Cheshvan 5770 (Words to Taylor Kaufman, on the occasion of her Bat Mitzvah) In your d’var torah and in our discussions with one another, we spoke about the significance of names and how they shape who we are. In Jewish tradition it is customary for us to give our children the names of those who have left this world for the world beyond this one, in an attempt to give the ones whom we cherished in life a sense of immortality. Even though they might not be living any longer, the character of who they were lives inside each of us who bear their name. Taylor, you spoke eloquently about the significance of your names even though you doubt that you carry with you much of the past. All I can say to you, Taylor, is wait. In time, the meaning of these things will be revealed to you.
Parashat Noach ~ October 24, 2009 ~ 6 Cheshvan 5770 After looking at the Parashah about Noah, I have come to the conclusion that if he were my neighbor, I am not so sure that I would have liked him very much. Never mind the construction while building himself an ark over a hundred year period, the constant noise of sawing wood and hammering nails and the debris that gives the entire neighborhood a bad name, not to mention what it would do to the property values. I know that the Torah tells us at the very end of the reading for last week that “Noah had God’s grace” and the opening verse to this week’s reading tells us that “Noah was a righteous man, perfect in his generation” (Genesis 6:8-9) – but I got to tell you, the man was less than perfect! For one thing, he never said a word to his neighbors. He kept very much to himself, and his kids – “momenyu!!!” – were they terrors! No one had a moment’s peace when they were roaming the fields with their bows and arrows. The Bible is silent regarding Noah’s wife. However, the midrash, the stories of … Continue reading
Parashat Bereisheet ~ October 17, 2009 ~ 29 Tishrei 5770 (Words to Zachary Patt, on the occasion of his Bar Mitzvah) A Rescue Mission Zachary, Genesis, the book of the Torah that we read this Shabbat marks the beginning to a new cycle of study. In your own life, you, too, are experiencing a new beginning – as a bar mitzvah, an adult in the Jewish community. In his introduction to his book about the stories of Genesis, Sir Rabbi Jonathan Sacks makes the following comment regarding the breadth to this first chapter that punctuates your life from this day forward: Just as God has the freedom to create, by endowing humans to be created “in the image of God,” we, too, have a certain freedom to act and interact in our world. What distinguishes us from the other creatures that God created is the notion that “we are shaped by our environment, but we can shape our environment as well,” [Page 8] He continues, “To a degree shared by no other life form known to us, we can choose how to act and how to react… We can obey but also disobey… We can create harmony or discord… (Zach, … Continue reading