Join us for Shabbat Services: Friday at 6:00 pm, Saturday at 9:30 am
An egalitarian Conservative congregation serving the diverse Orange County Jewish Community

Rabbi Spitz’s Blog (Page 3)

Torah and Tidbits: Emor

Emor “If one maims his neighbor, what the perpetrator did to another must be done to him. Thus, a fracture for a fracture, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” (Leviticus 24: 19). The statement “an eye for an eye” appears clear. But, did the Torah literally demand mutilation as punishment?…

Yom HaAtzmaut Sameach- Happy 69 Israel!

Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion linked Yom HaZikaron, Memorial Day, with Yom HaAtzmaut, Independence Day. Today in Israel a siren blares for a minute, as the nation literally comes to a standstill to honor those who have sacrificed for Israel to exist securely. Tonight is festivity, marking the dream fulfilled of a sovereign Jewish…

Tazria-M’tzora – The Power of Words

Words matter. Uniquely, the Torah describes God wielding words to create: “Let there be light,” and there was light (Genesis 1: 3). Words may also tear the fabric of relationship. creating distrust. In the Torah, the misuse of words prompts a public shaming by a hideous scaling of skin. M’tzora, the title of our Torah reading,…

Counting Up – Shemini

Free, free at last and yet, not done. Erich Fromm, the great psychologist, stated that freedom is composed of two elements: freedom from (bondage) and freedom to (define ourselves). We define ourselves, he emphasized, by our commitments. We count the days from the second night of Passover for seven weeks (Leviticus 23:15-16). The count down…

Matzah in Context: Torah & Tidbits from Rabbi Spitz

Matzah in Context On the night before departure from Egypt, the Israelites ate the delicacy of roasted lamb with matzah and bitter herbs, maror (Exodus 12:8). The latter two foods reminded the slaves why they wanted to leave. For matzah was lechem oni, bread of poverty [Haggadah]. When the Israelites rushed toward freedom the next morning, they placed…

Torah – Va’Yikra

Wow. Please. Sorry. Thanks. These are the emotions that prompted a person to bring a sacrifice to God and that are the wellsprings for our prayers. This week we begin Leviticus/ויקרא, the middle of the Five Books of Moses. The rabbis teach that children should begin their studies with Leviticus for child-like wonder is the…

Passover Resources from Rabbi Spitz

Dear Friends, Our Pesech seders are a celebration of our collective identity. The following are some resources to help you prepare and to enrich your gathering of family and friends. 1.The Order of the Haggadah, a Program. When we read through the Haggadah its structure is unclear, which is ironic since the word “seder” means…

Vayakhel-Pekudei: Collective Efforts are Essential

Why the three-fold description of construction of the building of the mishkan, the sacred tablernacle? Previously, we read God’s instructions for construction. Now the building process is described and a summing up at completion is provided. Repeatedly, we are told that Moses, the builders, and the Israelites did just as God commanded. The sages will explain…

Ki Tissa: Moses’ Hidden Aura

“So Moses came down from Mount Sinai. And as Moses came down from the mountain bearing the two tablets of the Pact, Moses was not aware that the skin of his face was radiant [keren], since he had spoken to him [God]….And when Moses had finished speaking with them [the Israelites], he placed a veil over…