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Teachings

Behar 5782

Parashat Behar, our Torah reading for this week, introduces us to the Shmita year. Every seven years, Leviticus/Vayikra instructs us that the land must lie fallow—no agricultural or food production is permitted and there are a number of other restrictions put into place in addition. As it so happens, 5782 is a shmita year. For those of us living in...[ read more ]

Pesach 5782 On The Seder As A Living Experience

On seder night, we embark on a holy commemorative journey through the Haggadah as we move spiritually and temporally from degradation to praise. We do not merely recount by rote our journey out of Mitzrayim, out of the narrowness to a wide expanse, but we engage in holy reenactment of the experience. In Mishnah Pesachim 10:5, it is taught that...[ read more ]

Finding My Possibility Model

A version of the below piece originally appeared as part of Hot Off The Shtender, a series of reflection pieces from SVARA.   It is hard, nay impossible, to adequately capture the feelings that came over me when I learned about the passing of a dear friend: the fierce and unapologetic activist for disability justice and lover of Torah, Sheryl...[ read more ]

Shabbat HaChodesh 5782

I wish to dedicate this dvar Torah to the memory of Sheryl Grossman. Her love of Torah and her steadfast, unapologetic commitment to justice for people with disabilities will remain with me always. She taught me that one could both be a lover of Torah and a fighter for justice for those most marginalized. Her legacy will continue. One of...[ read more ]

On The Lessons We Can Learn from Queens Esther and Vashti: Purim 5782

Purim is a holiday filled with paradox. It is simultaneously the happiest festival on the Jewish calendar and a day on which we reckon with all of the ways in which we experience brokenness in our world and in our communities. We are feeling that keenly this year in particular as we bear witness to the horror of an unprovoked...[ read more ]

Torah From A Mussar Perspective Mishpatim

This piece originally was published as part of Torah From a Mussar Perspective in 5781/2021.   During this pandemic time, I have found myself frequently moving between periods of normal energy and periods of considerable fatigue. I note that the latter is not unexpected, given all that has occurred in our world and in my own life this past year....[ read more ]

Torah From A Mussar Perspective Shmot 5782

This commentary originally appeared as part of Torah From A Mussar Perspective from the Mussar Institute.   The Mussar tradition understands that we aren’t meant to simply read the parasha of the week but are instead invited to live deeply with and into it. This accords with the idea that the Torah speaks to every generation. Put another way, in...[ read more ]

Torah From A Mussar Perspective Vayeshev 5782

The below commentary first appeared as part of Torah From A Mussar Perspective through the Mussar Institute.   Parshat Vayeshev contains within it the multi-faceted story of Judah and Tamar. Judah, Jacob and Leah’s fourth son, has journeyed away from his brothers and has married a woman named Shua with whom he has three sons. In time, Tamar marries Judah’s...[ read more ]

Thoughts For Yom Kippur 5782

Yom Kippur is often translated into English as the Jewish day of atonement, though I feel that this is a mistranslation. Yom Kippur's awesomeness, in the literal sense of the word, is that the Jewish tradition provides us with a 25-hour period, Shabbat Shabbaton (the sabbath of sabbaths) to focus wholly on realigning with who we want to be in...[ read more ]

The Heart Knows the Bitterness Of Its Soul: Experience As An Integral Expression of Holiness

With the marking of Rosh Chodesh Elul this week, the Jewish tradition invites us into the holiest months of the year. It’s a time for personal introspection and stock-taking, a time to ask ourselves about the people we want to be in the new year. This Elul is particularly significant as with Rosh Hashanah, we usher in the Shmita or...[ read more ]




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