Tetzaveh: A Kindle for the Soul

Tetzaveh: A Kindle for the Soul

In this week’s portion, Tetzaveh, G-d continues instructions to Moses concerning construction of the Tabernacle. The portion begins at Exodus 27:20 with this sentence: וְאַתָּה תְּצַוֶּה אֶת־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ אֵלֶיךָ שֶׁמֶן זַיִת זָךְ כָּתִית לַמָּאוֹר לְהַעֲלֹת נֵר תָּמִיד  The Jewish Publication Society translates this verse as: “You shall further instruct the Israelites to bring you clear oil of beaten olives for lighting, for kindling lamps regularly.”  It’s a practical translation, but to simply leave it at that risks completely missing what may be the more important meaning of the verse.  Let’s look at a few of the actual words.  

Continue Reading »
Mar 01

Our “A-mish-agas” Jewish lives

Our “A-mish-agas” Jewish lives
Last night I watched a television documentary on the Amish people of Pennsylvania and Indiana.  I was fascinated to mentally compare Amish life, values, and strategies for community preservation with traditional (some would say "Orthodox") and "... Continue Reading »
Feb 29

T'rumah: The "Hellishness" of Chutzpah

T'rumah: The "Hellishness" of Chutzpah

This week’s Torah portion, T’rumah, provides detailed specifications for construction of the Tabernacle, the Israelites’ first project after having received the law on Mt. Sinai.  Should we care about the minutiae of how the Tabernacle was built?   Our sages certainly thought so – and not just because they were interested in ancient Israelite architecture!  From the Torah’s detailed description, they found guidance for conducting their own lives.  So can we. ...

Continue Reading »

Keeping Israel in Perspective

Keeping Israel in Perspective
Back in the seventies, I spent a summer living and working in New York City.  I remember thinking that NYC was “like any big city, but much more so.”  It had just about anything that you could want...and much that you wouldn’t.   ... Continue Reading »
Feb 22
Posted in: Israel

The Restroom Prayer

The Restroom Prayer
One of the most important goals of both Jewish prayer and ritual is to infuse spirituality and meaning into ordinary moments and actions. Our tradition asks/requires us to pray when we awaken, before and after eating, as we prepare to sleep … and a... Continue Reading »

The Dilemma of Individual Choice

The Dilemma of Individual Choice

I grew up in the Reform movement, which holds that Jewish "law" is not binding. Instead, it encourages every Reform Jew to become very knowledgable about Jewish traditions and then to decide for him/herself which of them to follow. This philosophy also fits very well with American conceptions of liberty and individualism which I have studied for decades as both a lawyer and historian.  Yet, as a rabbi vitally concerned with the continuity of the Jewish people and its traditions, I question whether any community can thrive, or even survive with shared values, common rituals, and standards of proper behavior, if every member simply chooses what he or she will do. 

Continue Reading »
Feb 20

Sh'mot: A "Shameful and Foolish" Policy?

Sh'mot: A "Shameful and Foolish" Policy?
D’var Torah; Shabbat Sh’mot Rabbi Art Levine, Ph.D., J.D.   January 13-14, 2012 – 18 Tevet 5772 A “Shameful and Foolish” Policy? This week the world’s news media has reported the assassination of another Iranian nuclear scientist. Many... Continue Reading »

Va'era: Torah, Shabbat, and the "Purpose-Drive Life"

Va'era: Torah, Shabbat, and the "Purpose-Drive Life"
D'var Torah; Shabbat Va-era Rabbi Art Levine, Ph.D., J.D. January 20-21, 2012 – 26 Tevet 5772 Torah, Shabbat, and the "Purpose-Driven Life" Do you lead a "purpose-driven life?" If that phrase sounds familiar, it may bring to mind the title of a... Continue Reading »
Feb 20

Beshalach: Torah's Best Food? Miracle Whip

Beshalach: Torah's Best Food? Miracle Whip
D’var Torah; Shabbat Beshalach Rabbi Art Levine, Ph.D., J.D. February 3-4, 2012 – 10 Shevat 5772 Torah’s Best Food? Miracle Whip “Man does not live on bread alone,” says Deuteronomy 8:3. And indeed, the Torah is replete with other food ref... Continue Reading »
Feb 20

Yitro: Apples, I-G-d, and J-Tablets

Yitro: Apples, I-G-d, and J-Tablets
D’var Torah: Yitro (Exodus 18:1-20:23) By Rabbi Art Levine, Ph.D., J.D.   February 10, 2012 Apples, I-G-d, and J-Tablets In the beginning, the Designer created apples. Then He/She created beings with artificial intelligence, and t... Continue Reading »
Feb 20
Page 24 of 25First   Previous   16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  [24]  25  Next   Last   

A bird that you set free may be caught again, but a word that escapes your lips will not return.
Jewish Proverb