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12/09/2023 09:58:42 AM

Sep12

Parashat Metzora:  Degradation and Elevation, by Cantor Ron Donenfeld

17/04/2024 04:27:39 PM

Apr17

In this week's Torah portion, Parashat Metzora, we delve into the intricate laws concerning tzaraat (often translated as leprosy), a condition which affects not only individuals but also garments and houses. The text meticulously details the purification rituals required for those afflicted, revealing layers of metaphysical and existential reflections that transcend the literal interpretation.

The parasha provides a platform to...Read more...

Beyond Blemishes: Delving into the secrets of Parashat Tazria

11/04/2024 09:33:29 AM

Apr11

In this week's Torah portion, Tazria, we are heavily occupied with many seemingly arcane laws surrounding purity and impurity. While on the surface, these regulations may appear esoteric or outdated, a deeper examination reveals profound insights into the human condition and our spiritual journey as Am Yisrael.

The Torah's meticulous delineation of purity laws serves as a blueprint for navigating the complexities of life. Just as...Read more...

G-d’s Promise and Human Leadership

05/04/2024 09:46:13 AM

Apr5

This week’s Haftorah for Parashat Shemini takes us on a journey through the biblical book of Shmuel. This book’s stories encapsulate pivotal moments that are not merely historical or narrative in nature; they are so much more: The stories are deeply symbolic of the interface between the Eternal Divine and the human, between sacred intentions and worldly constraints.

The narrative commences with King David's endeavor to bring the...Read more...

The Sacred and the Profane: The “Strange Fire” of Nadav and Avihu 

03/04/2024 12:13:51 PM

Apr3

Parashat Shemini opens with the culmination of the Tabernacle's dedication and quickly transitions to the tragic story of Nadav and Avihu, Aaron's sons, who offer "strange fire" before G-d, and are consumed by G-dly fire. This dramatic episode serves as a springboard into discussions about the boundaries of holiness, the importance of following divine commands precisely, and the role of human understanding in comprehending...Read more...

Living with Intent: Parashat Tzav

27/03/2024 11:45:40 AM

Mar27

Parashat Tzav, the second portion of the Book of Leviticus, continues the discussion on the laws of sacrifices, specifically detailing the obligations of the priests in conducting the offerings and the intricacies of the sacrificial ceremonies. This section of the Torah, rich in ritual and ceremony, may seem distant from contemporary life, yet its underlying principles resonate deeply with a philosophical view of reality that sees the...Read more...

B’Khol Dor Va’Dor: Purim Fest 1946

21/03/2024 02:29:11 PM

Mar21

“In each and every generation, they rise up against us to destroy us, and the Holy One, Blessed Be He, rescues us from their hands.”(Passover Hagaddah) 

Passover is quickly approaching, but Purim is coming even sooner. The story of Purim, celebrated by Jews around the world, commemorates a profound moment of survival and triumph against the specter of complete annihilation. The narrative, preserved in Megillat Esther,...Read more...

Sacifices from the Soul: Vayikra’s Eternal Message

20/03/2024 04:23:30 PM

Mar20

This week, we embark on a journey through the sacred corridors of Parashat Vayikra. This passage opens the venerable book of Leviticus, a gateway to the ancient rites of sacrifices—acts of devotion presented before the Divine in the hallowed ancient memory of our Beit HaMikdash. These Temple rituals, veiled by time, and a challenge to personally relate to them, continue to whisper to us of a different time. We once lived in a...Read more...

Pekudei: A Dialogue Between the Earthly and the Heavenly

13/03/2024 02:16:28 PM

Mar13

In this week's Parasha, Pekudei, we conclude the Book of Exodus. We delve into the final stages of the construction of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). This Parasha not only signifies the culmination of a physical structure, but it also symbolizes the profound interplay between the Finite and the Infinite, the Earthly and the Heavenly. Understanding this theme is fundamental in cultivating a relationship with the Divine.

Pekudei can be...Read more...

A Window To G-d: Dreams in Jewish Thought

06/12/2023 01:06:22 PM

Dec6

Shalom,

As we read this week’s Parashat HaShavua, Vayeishev, a particularly exciting topic stirs our curiosity: the deep, and profound theme of dreams in the Torah, and how their interpretations related to us in a physical, rational world. This week's Torah portion, filled with stories of Joseph and Pharaoh's respective  dreams, begs us to search even deeper, into the depths of the the spiritual dimensions of dreams in our...Read more...

Sarah and the "Ugly Rabbi"

09/11/2023 09:41:31 AM

Nov9

What is true beauty?

Parashat Chayei Sarah begins with the death of Sarah, and Abraham immediately looks for a burial place for his beloved wife, which leads him to purchase the Cave of Machpelah. In this same Torah portion, we also read of Avraham's servant Eliezer’s quest to find a wife for Yitzchak. Eliezer’s journey results in him choosing Rivka to be Yitzchak’s wife, because of her kind deeds.

Much has been said...Read more...

Parashat Vayeira: Reject "The New Normal!"

02/11/2023 04:10:09 PM

Nov2

Avraham Avinu, “Abraham our Father”, embodies everything that we Jews think of when we think of hospitality and kindness. This was so vividly illustrated in parashat Vayeira: despite recovering from circumcising himself at the age of ninety-nine, Avraham eagerly and graciously welcomed three strangers (who turned out to be angels in disguise) into his tent.

Our Sages teach us that “G’dolah Hachnasat Orchin Yoter Mikabalat...Read more...

Hin’ni, Humility and Leadership

21/09/2023 09:46:42 AM

Sep21

Shalom dear friends,

Every year, when preparing the “Hin’ni”(“Here I am”) prayer, I admit I feel a little silly.  Rosh Hashanah is the Day of Judgement, and obviously a sincere Jewish congregation wants for its Shliach Tzibbur (“Emissary of the Congregation”) to be an Anav…..someone who is humble. This make sense….and then it is followed by me theatrically walking up from the back of...Read more...

The Importance of Minyan Attendance, by Cantor Ron Donenfeld, Director of Spiritual Engagement

13/09/2023 12:51:05 PM

Sep13

Minyan attendance holds great significance in living a Jewish life. In the Babylonian Talmud, communal prayer is profoundly emphasized in Masekhet Berakhot 6b. The Talmud says, "Wherever ten are found, there the Shechina (The Divine Presence) rests,". This stresses the principle that even our regular minyanim of regular Jews, together forms a holy collective,  in which our unity actually enhances our Divine connection. As Jews, we have a...Read more...

Sat, 22 June 2024 16 Sivan 5784