Parshat ha Shavuah Verses Ha’azinu / האזינו

This one is a short work week, and with all the holiday cooking and prepping, I do not see a chance for me to write any thoughtful d’var Torah. I have decided to leave you with the words of my colleague, Dr. Ackerman, again, as I don’t think I can say anything better. The only thing…

Parshat ha Shavuah Verses Re’eh / ראה

This is a Parshah of choices. To go right or left. To live or to die. To walk straight or in curved lines. כו  רְאֵה, אָנֹכִי נֹתֵן לִפְנֵיכֶם–הַיּוֹם:  בְּרָכָה, וּקְלָלָה. 26 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse: כז  אֶת-הַבְּרָכָה–אֲשֶׁר תִּשְׁמְעוּ, אֶל-מִצְו‍ֹת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם, אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם, הַיּוֹם. 27 the blessing, if ye…

Parshat ha Shavuah Verses Eikev / עקב

Reading these last parashot of the year, I keep wondering – why did things go wrong after the years of miraculous existence in the desert that should have taught our forefathers all the right things? יב  וְהָיָה עֵקֶב תִּשְׁמְעוּן, אֵת הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים הָאֵלֶּה, וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם וַעֲשִׂיתֶם, אֹתָם–וְשָׁמַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְךָ, אֶת-הַבְּרִית וְאֶת-הַחֶסֶד, אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע, לַאֲבֹתֶיךָ. 12 And it shall come…

Parshat ha Shavuah Verses Vaetchanan / ואתחנן

Fittingly, after the 9 of AV, we are reminded by Moshe Rabbeinu what we have to do in order to stay alive on the “good land”.     ו  וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם, וַעֲשִׂיתֶם–כִּי הִוא חָכְמַתְכֶם וּבִינַתְכֶם, לְעֵינֵי הָעַמִּים:  אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁמְעוּן, אֵת כָּל-הַחֻקִּים הָאֵלֶּה, וְאָמְרוּ רַק עַם-חָכָם וְנָבוֹן, הַגּוֹי הַגָּדוֹל הַזֶּה. 6 Observe therefore and do them; for this is your…

Parshat ha Shavuah Verses – Matot-Masei / מטות־מסעי

This Shabbat we read the two last Torah portions of the book “Bamidbar / Numbers”. And here’s how they start:     ב  וַיְדַבֵּר מֹשֶׁה אֶל-רָאשֵׁי הַמַּטּוֹת, לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר:  זֶה הַדָּבָר, אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה. 2 And Moses spoke unto the heads of the tribes of the children of Israel, saying: This is the thing which the…

Parshat ha Shavuah Verses – Pinchas / פינחס

There are plenty of great comments on this Parshah.  I am just going to direct you to one of them, from Rabbi Alex Israel. He teaches at Pardes Institute. There are many more if you’d like to read about Pinchas and the census. For me, this Parshah is all about the women, and how they have…

Parshat ha Shavuah Verses – Balak / בָּלָק

I love this Parshah! Almost until the very end of it, it talks about the beauty and strength of Israel, almost to the point of modern Anti-Semites saying that “Jews own everything”. Israelites’ flight from Egypt and miraculous things that happened to them in the desert instilled such fear in the neighbouring nations that they…

Some Observations

This was an interesting week for me: challenging, exhilarating, nourishing, disturbing, all at once. Last Sunday, I have started a week long Jewish Professionals Institute at Mechon Hadar. My reasoning was mostly financial – since I wouldn’t be able to afford going to Jerusalem this year to study at Pardes, I decided I would take…

A Random Step

This Sunday I am embarking on a new adventure. I am starting a week-long class at Mechon Hadar. Again, not without trepidation. This is not exactly the place where the level of observance and Yirat Shamaim is according to my view of the world. And yet, I’ve decided to try it. For a very practical reason – there…

Parshat ha Shavuah Verses – Korach / קֹרַח‎

This is a very hard Parshah. Honestly, aren’t most of them hard to digest? Here, we see that the fight for a better position, more privilege or higher standard of living is as old as time itself. Korach, a man of distinguished lineage and great knowledge orchestrates a revolt against Moshe and Aaron. When the…

Women Leadership in Orthodoxy. A New Reality.

Yesterday, I have spent my morning attending the graduation (smicha) ceremony of the Yeshivat Maharat that took place in the beautiful Kehilat Yeshurun synagogue of the Upper East Side. Not without some trepidation I went not really knowing what to expect. For some time now I have been fascinated with roles of women in leadership within…