Wine, Wisdom, and Wonder

by Rabbi Cheryl Peretz
posted on March 28, 2019
Judaism is a religion of faith. It is also a religion of behavior – and not just in contemporary times, but in ancient days and everlasting. In this week’s Torah portion, Shemini, the Torah says: “And the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying: Drink no wine or other intoxicants, you or your sons, when you enter the Tent of Meeting, that you may not die. This is a law for all time throughout the ages, for you must distinguish between the sacred and the profane, and between the unclean and the clean, and you must teach the Israelites all the laws which the Read more...

Half a Blessing

Headshot of Rabbi Edward Feinstein
by Rabbi Edward Feinstein
posted on April 7, 2013
Torah Reading
Haftarah Reading
The great Israeli author, Shai Agnon, related a fable about a little boy and his old father, who together tended a goat. Each day the goat wandered off, to return at evening, its udders filled with the sweetest of milk. The boy wished to know where the goat went and on what grass it grazed, to give such extraordinarily sweet milk, so he tied a string to the goat's tail and followed. Over hills and through forests they went, until they descended into a dark cave. Down a long, winding path the goat led the boy. Finally, they emerged into the light. Read more...

On Storks and Scarcity

Headshot of Rabbi Adam Greenwald
by Rabbi Adam Greenwald
posted on April 2, 2013
Torah Reading
Haftarah Reading
In Parshat Shmini's long enumeration of the forbidden bird species, the Torah declares the stork to be unkosher. This would be an entirely unremarkable fact - who would eat a stork anyway-- if not for the strange name these birds are given in ancient Hebrew. The stork is called hasidah, coming from the word hesed, meaning compassion or kindness. We are familiar with the Torah's general prohibition on "birds of prey," but what is it about this "bird of kindness" that renders it ritually unfit? Read more...

On Brotherly Love

Headshot of Rabbi Jay Strear
by Rabbi Jay Strear
posted on March 26, 2011
Torah Reading
Haftarah Reading
Maftir Reading
These are AWESOME days. As our hearts reach out to those suffering in Japan, we cannot help but be simultaneously broken by the magnitude of more than 10,000 dead, and touched, awestruck by the sheer will of the human spirit to endure nine days under rubble, as two survivors did. Equally confounding is the complexity in Libya where cruise missiles and military might are being used to save lives. And as I write this, Israel enters yet another "phase" of conflict. The power of Nature and the power of Human Beings are both unpredictable and beyond comprehension. Read more...