Vayakhel — O Lord, won’t You buy me a Mercedes Benz?

February 21, 2014

rabbiadar:

I love this! Best answer I have seen to the question: Why pray if I am not sure anyone is listening?

For readers on mobile devices, here is the link.

Originally posted on Godtalk:

It seems that every time that I get a cold it goes straight for my voice. Instead of my usual mezzo-soprano, my voice has spent most of this week somewhere in the baritone range. My deepest gravelly voice, in fact, sounds a bit like Janis Joplin, which is precisely why I have one of her songs on my mind today:

O Lord, won’t You buy me a Mercedes Benz
My friends all have Porsches, I must make amends,
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So Lord, won’t You buy me a Mercedes Benz

I love that song! It’s just so direct about it.

But we all know, of course, that this kind of pleading does not work. We are all sadly familiar with the fact that God does not take special orders of this kind. It’s usually something we learn as kids: you can’t get a…

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Parshat Tetzaveh (5774)

February 9, 2014

rabbiadar:

A great post about Jewish headwear from a blogger from whom I always learn something interesting:

Originally posted on Hardcore Mesorah:

Exodus 27:20 – 30:10

Jewish Tall Hats and Turbans

Today we are going to talk about hats. The hats we wear and the roles that hats play in society. We will be looking at the function that hats play in Jewish culture and ritual as well.

Jews in Jerusalem,1895

Jews in Jerusalem,1895

Even if you aren’t a hat wearer, we all take notice of hats. Some of us more than others. However hats and head dresses are something that are not just pervasive in our society, they are actually part of the uniform of many important people. From the earliest years most of us have looked to people’s hats as a symbol of who they are and the role they play in our world. We begin to identify the different notable people by their hats; police, firefighters, nurses, chefs, etc.

Hats can tell us a lot about a person. Be it a baseball…

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A Blessing For Trees: Poems Upon The Skies

January 26, 2014

rabbiadar:

Dear Readers, if you have not yet encountered the work of Ilene Winn-Lederer you are in for a treat. I’m reblogging one of her posts so that you can acquaint yourself with her marvelous Torah-themed mystical art.

Originally posted on :

BlessingOfTheTreesModel3ALike the universal languages of music and art, trees speak to us without words, inspiring us to describe them with our own words and visual expressions. In Deuteronomy (Devarim) 20:19-20, we learn that even in wartime is life precious and that trees are essential to our continued existence: “When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy its trees by forcing an axe against them: for thou mayst eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down; for is the tree of the field a man, that it should be besieged by thee?…” Equally eloquent are the words of the late Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran in his collection of aphorisms, Sand And Foam: “Trees are poems the Earth writes upon the sky…”.


I was reminded of these ideas during our recent observance of Tu B’Shevat

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Martin Luther King Day, 2014

January 20, 2014

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ – the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr

Today we in the United States celebrate Martin Luther King Day. A few days ago, I noticed articles about it being a Day of Service, not a day “off” but a day “on.” And every year, I wonder how many people have already planned the day, and wind up just feeling guilty and avoiding the whole thing. I wonder how many aren’t “off” to do “service.” So here is a project for those of us who are not cleaning beaches or sorting coats or working at food kitchens:

If you are in school, and working one or more jobs to stay in school, and there is no free time….

If you are the parent of young children, or a sick child and there is no free time…

If it never occurred to you that today is anything but a holiday, and you needed a holiday, darn it…

If you are working two or more jobs just to keep body and soul together and there is no free time…

If you are a celebrity, and a million people are making demands on you…

If you are disabled by physical or mental illness, and your options are limited…

If you are overwhelmed by life, for any reason at all….

There are still ways we can do for others.

I can say “thank you” to the person who does me a service.

I can drive carefully, with regard for the lives and safety of others.

I can speak kindly to the person who is in my way.

I can give others the benefit of the doubt.

I can speak up for someone else who is being mistreated in a way that may seem small to me but may be big for them.

I can acknowledge the humanity of others, by my manner and my speech.

If in a world of billions, even a thousand of us do one or more of these things, the world will shift. The balance will be altered. Try and see.


Jewish Geneology

January 3, 2014

rabbiadar:

I’d like to introduce my readers to Dr. Laura Schulman and her blog. This is the first of a series of posts about Biblical stories, with wonderful additions from midrash and the Zohar.

Elsewhere in the blog she writes vividly about living with bipolar disorder, and I heartily recommend those posts as well.

Happy reading!

Originally posted on Bipolar For Life:

The lovely Gimpet of Repressed Expressions has been encouraging me to write something Jewish.  It hadn’t crossed my mind, really, because it’s so much a part of who I am that I don’t think about sharing it with others unless somebody asks me specifically.  I have no qualms about sending people translations of Psalms and parts of the Torah (Hebrew Bible) though, so I guess that constitutes sharing.

That’s enough of an introduction, so let’s dive into the meat of this material.  My goal in this post is to show you how the Hebrews came to be a people, and how the different Abrahamic faiths split off from a common root.

That root was Abraham, whose original name was Abram.  Actually it was Avram, but the “v” is changed for a “b” in translated Christian Bibles because in the first translations into Greek and then Latin, the translators didn’t know…

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2013 in review – Thanks for reading!

January 3, 2014

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 49,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 18 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


Shiphrah, Puah, Phyllis, Rebecca and Liz

December 23, 2013

rabbiadar:

My friend and colleague Rabbi Laura Novak Winer has some wonderful insights on Parashat Shemot and on the rabbis who organized Shave for the Brave.

Originally posted on Rabbi Laura:

Okay, so we were a day late. But I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to study parshat Shemot with the Temple Beth Israel Women’s Torah Study Group.

image

Shemot is one of my favorite Torah portions. Its kind of like having a favorite child, I know. Yet Shemot speaks to me unlike other passages from Torah.

Unlike other sections of Torah, the names (shemot) we learn are those of women.  And not just 1 woman, or 2 but 7 women!  All together, we interact with 12 women in this one portion:

Shiphrah and Puah, the brave midwives
Yocheved, Moses’s mother
Miriam, Moses’s sister
Bat Pharoah (the daughter of Pharoah) whom the rabbis name Batya
Tzipporah, Moses’s wife
Tzipporah’s 6 sisters, whom Moses helps save from a dangerous situation

12 women paralleling the 12 tribes of Israel.

12 women who start a revolution.

12 women who, through their civil…

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Why did the turkeys cross the road?

December 8, 2013

image

I snapped this shot after I realized I’d be sitting in the driveway at Temple Isaiah for a while. Eventually I made it by the flock to teach my Sunday morning Intro class.


Nelson Mandela z”l

December 5, 2013
English: Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gaute...

Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gauteng, on 13 May 1998 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When you see the letters z”l after a person’s name, it means “may their memory be for a blessing.” The wish seems almost unnecessary here: Nelson Mandela was a blessing in life to his country and to the world, and his memory will certainly be for a blessing as well.

He did not seem to make his choices out of fear, no matter how legitimate the reasons for fear. If more of us could learn that one thing from him, our world would be a better place.


Unhappy Thanksgiving

November 28, 2013
Sad man holding pillow

 (Photo credit: hang_in_there)

I know what it’s like. I’ve been there: Unhappy Thanksgiving.

 

The details are private and personal, but the larger picture: the family gathering that is more painful than fun, the lonely Thanksgiving far from people you love, the holiday when there is an empty chair at the table – I’ve been to all those Thanksgivings, and they were miserable.

 

One of the blessings I count today is that this year is a good year for me: I’m surrounded by family, in a happy home, with food on the table, and the turkey is paid for. I have what I need, and more.

 

Not all years were like that. And I know, for someone reading this, this year isn’t like that. I’m truly sorry that you are having an Unhappy Thanksgiving this year. If I had a magic wand, I would heal all the hunger, and the loneliness, and the poverty, and the broken hearts – but I have no magic wand.

 

All I can tell you is that this is just one day. If the sun is shining, take a walk. If you can identify a blessing, give thanks for it. Gratitude is often the beginning of something good, weirdly enough.

 

But know that I know you are there, and I’ve been there. I wish you better years ahead.

 


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