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A Bisl Torah

Walk the Walk


My favorite mitzvah of the year comes immediately after Yom Kippur. As the last shofar blast pierces the night, we are supposed to run home and start building our sukkah. The first nail hammered into the ground to symbolize an urgency to begin our year with action.

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Lemons, Not Limes


About a year ago, I purchased two potted lemon trees. For months I marveled over the trees’ phases of life. The beautiful white flowers, many visiting hummingbirds, and luscious fragrance of beginning blooms. Over time, I noticed dozens of green buds emerging from the branches. Finally! Our lemon tree was producing fruit. And yet, day by day, my family would wonder, “When will these green buds ever turn yellow?” We even thought, perhaps, we purchased the wrong trees. Did the nursery accidentally switch our desired lemon trees for limes?

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I See Double


A few weeks ago, one of our beloved Sinai Temple members, Norman Pell passed away. Norm epitomized goodness. There is no other way to explain it. I know I wasn’t special in the ways he interacted with me because everyone felt the same way. Norm’s love for others went above and beyond.

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Forty Years Young


Today is my 40th birthday. While most birthdays feel special in some way or another, my 40th feels significant. Perhaps because one of my most vivid childhood memories is celebrating my father’s surprise 40th birthday. I couldn’t believe that I was invited to a party with so many adults. And now, I look back at the moment and wonder if my dad felt exactly the way I do today. Sure, I woke up, age 40. But really, aren’t I just a kid? My license tells one story, but my internal clock is feeling quite young.

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The Trail of Time


On our family road trip to the Grand Canyon, we decided to take a leisurely shuttle to see the various viewpoints. Our driver was surprisingly convincing, encouraging us to get off at the first overlook. We spent ample time looking at the splash of colors painted across the canyon and watched mules make their way towards the Colorado River. But then we realized we missed some important information from our bus driver. The only option for getting back to the visitor center was to keep walking to the next overlook.

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Walking Together


This week, I visited one of our beloved members as she got up from shiva and walked around the block, signifying a reentry into the world. It was inspiring to see eight other synagogue members arrive for the walk, accompany her, reminding her that she is not alone. Just as we began, the rain began to drizzle and yet, the drops did not deter the group. We walked together, an image of community, noting that the rhythm of our steps provided a comforting symphony to the sounds of a shattered heart.

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After the Storm


During our last evening in Philadelphia, a massive storm hit our geographical area. Even before the rain poured down, an unexpected gush of wind caused the electricity to go out. Within seconds, hail fell from the sky. The storm was over in minutes, but the aftermath was astounding.

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More Fun Than You Can Handle


In New Jersey, it is a seasonal tradition to go “fruit-picking”. In our past visits, we picked apples and pumpkins. This occasion we enjoyed picking blueberries, sunflowers, zucchini, and sweet corn. As we walked into the farm, a decorated sign caught my eye: “More fun than you can handle.”

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She’s Got Your Back


It’s a regular weekend occurrence for our family to venture to Target. This past Sunday, after checking out with items most certainly not on our list, we made our way to the parking garage. A homeless man took notice of how I held our sons’ hands, each with their fingers laced into my own. He smiled and spoke directly to Zachary and Henry, “Boys, take care of your mom. She’s got your back and you’ve got hers.”

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