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Teachings

Pesach 5779

One of the central obligations of Pesach, as we read in the Haggadah is that we each, individually, have the obligation to see ourselves as though we ourselves went out of Egypt. The story of the Jewish people’s liberation, then, becomes a collective, national retelling beyond time, space and generation. Not only did our ancestors come out of Egypt—Mitzrayim, but...[ read more ]

Shemini 5779

In our parsha this week, Parashat Shemini (Leviticus 9-11), we have one of the most famous episodes in all of Torah. Aaron, the High Priest and brother of Moses, has four sons, and two of them—Nadav and Avihu—priests in their own right—approach the altar and make an offer which G-d does not command. As a result of offering this strange...[ read more ]

Our Covenant Includes All: Thoughts on Deuteronomy 29

Our chapter is largely concerned with HaShem telling the Children of Israel what will befall them if they stray from the covenant which, it is emphasized, includes everyone, those who are there on that day and those who are not. If the Children of Israel uphold our covenant with HaShem and perform the mitzvot in accordance with it, all will...[ read more ]

Vayakhel 5779

This drasha was delivered at Beth El Hebrew Congregation in Alexandrea, VA, March 1, 2019/25 Adar I, 5779 Shabbat shalom! It is my honor and privilege to be with you this Shabbat. I wish to thank the Beth El Hebrew Congregation Inclusion committee as well as Rabbi Spinrad and Cantor Kaufman for welcoming me into your community this weekend. Our...[ read more ]

Jewish Disability Advocacy Day 2019 Dvar Torah

I was privileged to deliver the following dvar Torah at Jewish Disability Advocacy Day 2019, February 26, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Shalom friends! It is an honor and privilege to be with you all this morning as we gather for Jewish Disability Advocacy Day, a time for us as Jews who care deeply about the issues impacting all Americans with...[ read more ]

Tetzaveh 5779

This dvar Torah was delivered at Anshe Emet in Chicago. Parashat Tetzaveh, 11 Adar Rishon, 5779 Shabbat shalom! It is an honor and privilege to be with you this Shabbat. I wish to extend a sincere thanks to the Kehilah Kedoshah committee, as well as to the Anshe Emet clergy for inviting me. Parashat Tetzaveh, coming directly on the heels...[ read more ]

Terumah 5779

This drash was delivered at Congregation Beth El in Bethesda, Maryland. Parashat Terumah 5779 4 Adar Rishon, 5779 Shabbat shalom! It is a real honor and privilege to be with you all today on this Shabbat in which we lift up, honor and celebrate Jews with disabilities and all that we bring to our sacred communities as we observe Jewish...[ read more ]

Reflections on the Spiritual Practice of Hitbodedut

This reflection was written in 5777/2017. Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, Section 25 of Likutey Moharan on Hitbodedut A person should set aside a set time daily to speak with God freely in their vernacular, instructs Rabbi Nachman of Breslov to his students and disciples. This daily practice, an addition to thrice-daily liturgical prayer is known as hitbodedut, deriving from the...[ read more ]

Divrei HaTefillah: Baal Shem Tov, selection from section Peh Chet of Amud HaTefillah

This was written in 5777 and is intended for use as a kavvannah or meditation before Pesukei Dezimra, verses of praise, on a Shabbat or chag morning. Before we begin our davening this morning with Pesukei DeZimra or psalms of praise, I want to offer a brief kavannah or intention for our prayers. Many do not realize that Judaism has...[ read more ]

Mishpatim 5779

This commentary was written for the Avodah Jewish Service Corps in 5779/2019. Mishpatim, our Torah portion for this week, consists of a series of miscelaneous laws covering a wide array of subject matter, everything from the laws of owning slaves (an incredibly important conversation to dig into though that is not our area for this week), the importance of keeping...[ read more ]




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