Menu   

A Bisl Torah

Did You Get What You Need?


There are high hopes, high expectations around the holidays. Perfecting recipes, reuniting with loved ones and good friends, spending quality time together and reflecting on what you’re most grateful for. But then you wake up and remember, nothing goes as expected. The Yiddish phrase reads, “Human beings plan and God laughs.” The pie didn’t set, there was back to back traffic on the 405, someone spilled the wine, the kids were noisy, and conversation went awry. Oh yeah, you also overslept during the Black Friday sales. Instead of burrowing back into bed, our faith encourages us to seize the day,…

Read this post

Skipping A Page


Rushing has become normative behavior. We rush to work, rush to put dinner on the table, rush to finish the chores, and rush to meet a deadline. Funny thing is, rushing doesn’t necessarily mean productivity. Often the faster we work, the less detailed, nuanced and thoughtful is the final outcome. Bedtime with my children is a favorite example. My almost five year knows all of our tricks. If it feels as if the story she has chosen to read is ridiculously long and unending, admittedly, I try to skip a page here and there. My heart is racing, wondering when…

Read this post

I’ll Save You A Seat


This week has been difficult and emotionally exhausting for our country. No matter where we stand on the political spectrum, no matter whom we voted for, it is clear there is a deep seeded fear of the “other”. The objection to reach out, lean in, inquire, probe, and wonder why someone feels or acts differently than we do is antithetical to the Jewish faith. For thousands of years, Jews question, converse, debate, argue and reason with those that do not necessarily view the world with a similar lens. What is our Jewish obligation? To extend a hand, ear and heart…

Read this post

Lean on Me


Admittedly, I am not what you would call a “sports enthusiast.” Although I loved playing basketball in high school, I rarely follow sports statistics and never purposefully schedule time to watch events on television. That being said, my husband introduced me to the stories of Leroy Sutton and Dartanyon Crockett, and I found myself inspired and moved by two athletes who carry each other through life’s ups and downs. ESPN profiled the journey of these two men. When Leroy was 11 years old, he walked home on train tracks. Seeing a freight train in the near distance, he attempted to…

Read this post

Justice & Mercy


As we once again start at the beginning of the Torah, some of my favorite pieces of midrash (rabbinic stories) emerge from our tradition.  A gem from Genesis Rabbah: God’s creation of heaven and earth can be compared to the following: A parable of a king who had cups made of delicate glass. The king said: If I pour hot water into them, they will expand and burst; if cold water, they will contract and break. What did he do? He mixed cold and hot water, and poured them in, and so they remained unbroken. Likewise, the Holy One said:…

Read this post

Don’t Miss the Moment


Last night congregants invited us over to dine in their beautiful sukkah. The food was delicious, company was great and our children enjoyed playing together. But the best part of the evening was when our host gathered his daughters onto his lap, each of us following suit with a child in our arms and proceeded to tell us a story. He explained that a few “Sukkots” ago, by chance he found himself alone in his sukkah, clearing up from the family dinner that occurred a few hours prior. And so he took the few minutes of quiet, sat down in…

Read this post

Are You Listening?


Arguably, truly listening to someone is one of our hardest tasks as busy human beings. Often we think that we can listen while multi-tasking. Doing laundry, checking emails, washing the dishes…listening feels like something we can do while engaged with something else. But try an experiment: listen to a loved one or a friend while multi-tasking and then listen to that person while focused solely on them. Sitting down next to them, looking in their eyes. You may have “listened” to the exact same words but guaranteed the person will feel both seen and heard the second time around. The…

Read this post

The Middle Child


Tomorrow, our son, Zachary is turning three. I never really understood the dilemma of being a middle child. I am the oldest of four and there was always a playmate for a sibling. Teams were evenly divided; there was equal opportunity for each child to be teased. While the four of us may argue which child received more attention or which child always chose the evening family activity, I don’t think a kid felt lost in the shuffle. We have three children and while we try very hard to give each child the time they deserve, the “middle child blues”…

Read this post

Rush


It is the Friday before Rosh Hashana. For some of us that means final sermon preparations, printing, rehearsing, and making sure we know the correct cantillation for our Torah readings. For others it means preparing the apple kugel, ironing the table cloth, picking up meat from the butcher and polishing our silver candlesticks. And for most, it feels busy. Rushing to finish. Rushing to “feel” done. Rushing so that everything is perfect. And yet through the hustle, we forget to rush towards what is most important. The true essence woven within the Yamim Noraim—the Days of Awe. So in this…

Read this post

Some Old Truths for the New Year


Tomorrow evening, we gather together for what is called Selichot: a night of petitioning God to remember us in this High Holy Day season. Often the days of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur feel overwhelming…the amount of people, the pressures that comes with being called the “holiest time” of the year. Certainly Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur gives us the impetus to change our lives. But Selichot feels different. Selichot feels private. Meditative. Contemplative. If you need a real jump start for change, join us at Sinai Temple, 8:30pm, Saturday night. And as a prelude to the evening, let the…

Read this post