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Rabbi Spitz’s Blog (Page 3)

What would Elie Wiesel say now?

What would Elie Wiesel say now? I miss the clarion voice of our great survivor who repeatedly addressed hate. Charlottesville’s “Unite the Right” rally began on Friday night as a mob surged through the campus of the University of Virginia carrying tiki torches, many chanting words freighted by the past, including “Blood and soil…Jews will…

More Than Bread: Ekev

More than bread: Ekev “A person does not live by bread alone” (Deuteronomy 8:3). What does this mean? In the immediate context of our Torah reading, the verse emphasizes that the Israelites have survived due to manna- God’s daily provision- and that they will need more than physical nourishment in the Promised Land. They will…

Word(s) Count: Va’Ethannan

Word(s) Count: Va’Ethannan Why does Moses alter God’s words? Moses prepares the children of the slaves to enter the Promised Land. He repeats the Ten Commandments, but with changes. Exodus 5:1-14 is the immediate account of Mount Sinai. Deuteronomy 5:6-18 is Moses’ retelling. The first seven verses, 103 words are identical with the exception of…

Small Groups Year 3 Launches at Kol Nidre!

Small Groups, year three. Please consider hosting or participating in a group for five weeks of conversation that will explore Love. We have already written a draft of the booklet that will offer content and context for you to meet with friends five times to further your understanding of how love informs your life. Click here for…

“Poised for Action:” Mattot-Mas’ei

This week is a double portion that concludes the book of Numbers, the fourth book of the Torah that covers thirty-eight years of travel through the desert. The people are now poised to enter the Promised Land. Mattot means tribes. Each of the twelve tribe had a distinctive identity as part of a larger collective.…

Korah: The Words Of A Demagogue – Torah And Tidbits

“Holy, Holy, Holy,” the angels chant in praise of God in the prophet Isaiah’s vision (6:3). As we echo those words in our kedushah prayer we go up on our toes signifying that God is uniquely elevated. Korach leads a rebellion against Moses, his fellow Levite. His challenge focuses on holiness: “You have gone too…

Sh’lach: “And” rather than “Or”

What went awry? Contemporary Biblical scholar, Avivah Zornberg, faults Moses’ instructions. The Israelites “broke into loud cries and wept all night” (Numbers 14:1) in response to the report of the scouts. The goal of their mission was to prepare the Israelites to fulfill a long awaited goal: taking possession of the Promised Land. Instead, the…

Constancy Of Character: Beha’alotkha

Dr. Abraham Twerski, a Hasidic rabbi and psychiatrist, uplifts me with memories of our times together and through his writing on both the nature of addiction and the wisdom of the Jewish tradition. Dr. Twerski’s words resonate because I identify his life’s work and personality with compassion, humility, and integrity. In his book, Living Each Week,…

May your possessions not possess you. Naso: Climate Change and Consumption

In this week’s Torah reading we are offered a three-fold, priestly blessing that begins, Yeverachecha Adonai VeYeshemerach- May God bless you and protect you (Numbers 6:24). Isaac Abravanel (15-16th century, Spain-Italy) understood this blessing as cautionary: May God give you material abundance and protect you from the possessions possessing you. We run the risk of obsessively gathering…