Guide to Purim

You’ve heard of Purim, right? It’s a day we dress up, feast, and listen to stories. Sound familiar? For some, Purim may just be another day to dress up, eat and socialize. But Purim isn’t just about the triangle-shaped cookies…

Vayak’hel: Making Our Lives Beautiful

And Moses said to the Israelites: See, the Lord has singled out by name, Bezalel, son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah.  He has endowed him with a divine spirit of skill, ability, and knowledge in…

Meaningful Clothes: Spiritual Attire Then and Now

When I was a kid, I wasn’t very enthusiastic about going to synagogue, but I especially hated having to get dressed up for temple. Putting on fancy clothes just reinforced the formality and discomfort of the whole experience. If prayer…

Is God a Sexist?

Ethiopians say that their gods are snub–nosed and blackThracians that they are pale and red-haired –Xenophanes (c.570-c.475 BCE) Traditional religions of virtually whatever stripe are sexist: they cast men and women in sharply different roles, with males dominant. Religion plays a leading…

The Mishkan: A Lesson in Unity

The Midrash to Proverbs opens with a quote from the Book of Job: “Where can wisdom be found? Where is the source of understanding?” (Job 28:12). In the Midrash, Rabbi Tanhum ben Hanilai suggests that these questions refer to King…

Don’t Tell Me What to Do!

We live in an age of radical autonomy. Each individual zealously guards their own independence from everyone else. We resent when someone presumes to tell us what is right or wrong, seeks to impose external limitations to our discretion or…

Wrap Your Head Around This: Women Can Wear Tefillin, Too!

If you were to visit the Western Wall today, you would see public stalls for men to wrap tefillin, a set of leather straps and small boxes meant to be worn during prayer. You would not see any stalls for…

Kabbalah: An Offshoot or a Staple of Judaism?

An often mentioned but little explored concept in Judaism is mysticism, or as Jews refer to it, Kabbalah. Literally translated as “tradition,” this school of thought builds its theology off an ancient prolific text called the Zohar, which focuses entirely…

On the Topic of Free Will

One of the topics that the majority of people find difficult to understand – is the topic of “Free Will.” Non-Jewish Astrologers always debated whether there is Free Will or not. If indeed there is, as most of them admit,…

Parashat Beshalach: Building the Relationship with God

One of the most unfathomable instances and awkward transitions in the entire Torah takes place right in the middle of this week’s parsha. The people had just spent months seeing God’s power firsthand, experiencing grand miracles, watching what God had…