Honorable Mensch-ion

Bless the Broken Road

The Talmud teaches that atop of King David’s bed, hung a harp. As soon as midnight would arrive, a northerly wind would blow upon the strings of the harp and cause it to play itself. The music would awaken King David from his slumber and he would arise to study Torah until the break of dawn. This Saturday evening, we follow the study habits of King David. We will gather at Sinai Temple for our Selichot service, the prayers recited the week before Rosh Hashana. We pray that our sacred music will awaken our souls to do the hard work…

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A Simple T-Shirt

While scrolling my Twitter feed after Hurricane Harvey’s landfall, I saw a post by University of Houston basketball coach, Kelvin Sampson. He made a simple ask. Send 20 t-shirts to Houston. On my bookshelf, I spotted 20 leftover T-shirts from our Sinai Temple Basketball Camp and I felt the urge to help. By the end of the day, these t-shirts were Houston bound. I will never know who will wear these shirts, and the recipients will not have heard of Sinai Temple. In our Torah we learn the mitzvah of a hashavat aveida, returning lost property. Yet, watching the news…

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If Only…

I was in line for frozen yogurt last night minding my own business as the customer in front of me started to gossip and use inappropriate language. She noticed the kippah on my head, and said out loud, “I shouldn’t be speaking like this!!!” After I told her I was a Rabbi, the conversation switched to theology. She had the urge to tell me that four years ago, her father passed away suddenly. She looked at me as I was about to order and said, “Rabbi, you really believe in God when you hear things like this?” This week we started…

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See For Yourself

In a Philadelphia shopping mall this week, a large sign hanging from the ceiling read, “Seeing is believing.” Today, driving through Lancaster, Pennsylvania I noticed church after church with membership advertisements One read, “God knows you…but do you know God?” I could not help but think of the first word of our parsha, Reeh, meaning “See!” See the difference between the blessings and curses that God puts before us. The Talmud teaches that hearing is not comparable to seeing. We cognitively comprehend the difference between hearing and seeing. When we watch the news from afar and see a tragedy afflict…

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God as Coach

The modern theologian Rabbi Neil Gilman once assigned our Rabbinical school class this task: Create your own God metaphor. We were required to ask the same question that we ask our own toddlers, “What does God look like to you?” The artists in the class drew a picture, and the poets composed poems. I came up with something different. With a passion for sports, I described God as a coach. When a team is winning, it is the coach who is in the shadows. The players often receive the credit for what happens on the court. Yet, when the chips…

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Summer Camp

It is hard to describe the feeling of welcoming in Shabbat. You must experience it in order to be able to describe it. That is because welcoming in Shabbat is not only a thought in our minds, but an action of our bodies and souls.

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