Menu   

Posts by Rabbi Erez Sherman

Darkness


Ask someone to describe darkness and you will receive different definitions. Rabbeinu Bachya in interpreting this plague gives three examples. There is tangible darkness, thick darkness, and darkness that will materialize. Each one of these is experienced differently.

Read this post

Magic


Magic allows us to be in awe of what we do not know. We love the suspense, the thrill, the fact that the impossible can happen in front of our eyes. Do you remember the first time you learned how to perform a trick or learned how the magician makes it happen? It often takes the fun out of the game and magic simply becomes reality.

Read this post

Learning from Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel


Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel would interview students entering Rabbinical school. He once asked, “If you were stranded alone in Antarctica, what is one thing you could not live without.” The student trembled in fear, unsure of how to answer this great Rabbi. A Torah? A mezuzah? A siddur? After a few moments, Heschel responded, “If I were you I would take a winter coat.”

Read this post

A Blessing of Retirement


Last week, my father retired as a Rabbi after fifty years in the pulpit. This Shabbat will be the first week in a half a century that he will not give a sermon or acknowledge a birth, yahrzeit, or a wedding couple from a bima. He will be a Jew in the pew. Often, people approach Rabbis and say, “I’m coming to you because you have a more direct route to God.” In reality, each of us have the same access to the Divine.

Read this post

Sacred Words That Matter


When we look at photos from the past year, we are often unrecognizable. Was that really me? We dressed differently, we had different hairstyles, and we have experienced life’s ups and downs. When we look in the mirror in a new secular year, we are in fact a different person. The same is true when Joseph reunites with his brothers. They do not recognize him as a person second in command in the land of Egypt. Joseph urges them to tell their father that God has made him the master of all Egypt in order to take care of his family. In this speech, Joseph says, “It is my mouth that is speaking to you.” Rashi explains that Joseph spoke lashon hakodesh, the sacred language of Hebrew. While he may have been dressed as the master of Egypt, he truly was their brother and son, the child they knew years before.

Read this post

The Chanukah Miracle


On Sunday evening, we will light the first Chanukah candle on one of the shortest nights of the year. Every single morning and evening of Chanukah, we add a prayer to our amidah. Al hanisim–we thank God for the miracles and for redemption. The words are simple, but for them to come alive, we must look at the actions the Talmud proscribes. The Rabbis debate in the Jerusalem Talmud how many candles shall be lit. One Rabbi says a single candle for the entire house, while another says a single candle for each person in the house. The argument continues with the famous Rabbinic pair. Shammai tells us to light eight candles the first night, and reduce to one on the last night. Hillel gives us the tradition of our day: light one candle the first night, and eight on the last, for we must only go up in holiness and not down.

Read this post

Our Voice


A few weeks ago, my son looked at the moon as we were driving and said, “Abba, Rosh Chodesh is here.” While the rest of the world would simply say, “Look at the new moon,” this young child put it in perspective of his Jewish identity.

Read this post