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Manna, Memory and Memento

This week’s Torah portion, Beshallach, begins with the Israelites crossing Yam Soof, the Red Sea (literally, the “Sea of Reeds”) and leaving Egypt behind. There are immediate difficulties, most specifically, a lack of water...

Dying to Live Our Best Life

It could be said that our patriarch, Jacob, was the first person to create an ethical will, essentially, a spiritual bequest to his heirs. In this week’s Torah reading, Vayechi, which means, “and he–meaning...

Let the Light of Hanukkah Shine On

Hanukkah ends at sunset, but unlike the endings of Shabbat and festivals–when Havdalah marks the separation between the holy and the mundane–there’s no ritual to mark this ending, and I’d like to propose one....

When Dreams Come True

In this week’s Torah reading–Mikketz–Joseph is finally released from prison and brought to Pharaoh to interpret two dreams which none of Egypt’s magicians had been able to do. As I was reading the text...

Vayetze: Because Superheroes are Human Too

In honor of my bat mitzvah anniversary, and in memory of Stan Lee. When I began learning and studying Torah and other sacred Jewish texts as an adult, I had some trouble realizing and...

A Change of Scenery Changes Us

This week we read the third portion in the book of Bereshit, Genesis, Lech L’cha, from the first sentence. Lech L’cha means, “go, go forth, go for–or to–yourself.” As Freud is famous for saying,...

A Water-Optional Tashlich

When I was young, “doing tashlich” meant walking down to the little brook in our front yard and throwing in bread crumbs. Whether or not that water was actually moving was unclear, but we...

When Rosh Hashanah falls on 9/11

In 1945, a B-25 Mitchell bomber crashed into the Empire State Building between the 78th and 80th floors, killing 14 people. It was clearly an accident, so 17 years ago when I received a...