How to Use (and Not Abuse) Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur is soon upon us. It is a time in which we focus on teshuvah, traditionally translated as “repentance,” but the Hebrew root is more closely related to “turning.” Teshuvah is the act of turning from past ways and harmful habits to create a new and better future for ourselves. It also involves turning …

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Why We Get Sick

Recently on one of my rabbinic listservs, a colleague asked about this week’s Torah portion of Metzorah. The portion speaks of tzara’at, the biblical affliction commonly translated as leprosy (but not really connected to what we consider leprosy). This portion and last week’s, named Tazria, both deal with this issue. In fact the two portions …

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A Prayer for Healing after a Hate Crime

After the hate crime attack against my synagogue last week, we not only need to repair the damage and address security measures, but we need to heal spiritually as well. I penned this prayer that I shared last Shabbat and at our community meeting the following week: Eloheinu v'elohei avoteinu v'eemoteinu Our God and God …

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I Am Your Healer

This week’s Torah portion, Beshallach, is famous for the Song at the Sea. The Israelites, having survived centuries of oppression, and having witnessed the plagues which struck the Egyptians around them, finally make their way to freedom. Although at first confronted by the Red Sea in front of them while the Egyptian army was in …

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