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A Bisl Torah

Recurring Dreams


I have a few recurring dreams. One of which is wandering aimlessly around a school setting, miserably late to take an important test. A dream interpreter might point out that I am worried about a deadline or wrestling with the idea of disappointing others. Another interpreter might say that I still feel traumatized by my high school science and math classes (not my best subjects.) And finally, another analyst might ask me what it means to feel tested.

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Know Before Whom You Stand


A few days ago, I encountered some poor customer service. I made an appointment, arrived, was told the appointment had changed, and asked to come back later. I rearranged my schedule, came back for the new appointment, and was informed to return in a few hours.

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To Begin Again


It happens in mere seconds. The book of Devarim, the final verses of the Torah are read, we stand in recognition and less than a minute later, the first book of the Torah takes its place. If someone left the room, the transition between ending and beginning would hardly be apparent.

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Spiritual Guests


The holiday of Sukkot provides a directive for hospitality. But not just the welcoming of friends and family in the here and now. There is an ushering of spiritual guests from the heavens above.

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Outside Respite from the Outside World


As the Talmud explains, a kosher sukkah provides more shade than sun. Rashi teaches that the sukkah’s shade is meant to be a respite from the heat. Imagine wandering in the desert. The less shade, the more susceptible one is to the outside elements. The beating of a sweltering sun is slightly mitigated with a few branches overhead.

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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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