Can You Repeat That? – Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei 5783

When we read any of our sacred texts, we’re told that no word should be taken for granted, that every word has meaning and then some. However, this section of text, which closes the second book of the Torah, is repetitive in nature. So, why would God or Moses include this repetition?

To Give and To Give – Parshat Ki Tissa 5783

This week’s portion is Ki Tissa, and a word used in the beginning of the text is v’natnu, which means “and they gave.” In Hebrew, this word is a palindrome, and this fact is often used to explain that giving is cyclical; sometimes we give, sometimes we receive.

What Is Democracy? A Call to Action

Last Friday evening, I mapped out the issues at stake with the judicial reforms that are being considered by the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. While a great many Israelis have understood that judicial reform has been needed for many years, I reviewed how the current measures, if they all passed as is, would completely gut the balance of powers that are so essential to a functioning democracy.

A Way of Life – Parshat Tetzaveh 5783

I have beautiful physical possessions handed down to me from relatives, and I cherish them and look forward to handing them down to my children. But I also take comfort and pride in the knowledge that I’ll be handing down the values, experiences, and life lessons that my parents passed to me.

Bird at a Feeder

It’s the mirror-smooth, pristine surface of freshly fallen snow, so pure and untouched, that makes all of life feel new and fresh. Just a day later, the marks of messy life are everywhere.

Everything Has Its Purpose – Parshat Terumah 5783

This week’s parshah focuses mainly on the building of the Tabernacle, the Mishkan, including what the ark and decorative pieces will look like. It's a wonderful reminder that just because something may serve an ordinary function, doesn’t mean it can’t also have a holy (or artistic) purpose too.