Here is something that I wrote in a workshop run by Avigayle Adler! We were asked to write a letter expressing the feelings being felt by one of the 4 sons from the Pesach seder to their father… See what you think!
Don’t condemn me for having a strong spirit and strong opinions! I am definitely not quiet but I am only argumentative because everyone has almost always tried to tell me how to be. I just want to be me and for others to listen to and embrace my practice.
There is nothing like seeing my father dressed head to toe in all white.
His soul hearkens to the time of the Kabbalistic rabbis who, draped in white clothing, would sing Kabbalat Shabbat in the fields. I imagine my father in his Shabbat white watching the sun set with his arms spread like angels’ wings and his heart leaping out of his chest toward his Creator. It is quite a breathtaking sight.
My family takes the Kabbalistic practice of wearing white clothing on Shabbat and many chagim very seriously. Every family member has a section of his or her wardrobe for the special white pieces, including shoes. We appreciate the physical expression of spiritual openness and humility; but my father has always had a special relationship with this practice. Continue reading →
Over the past couple of weeks, students in their first year of the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators have been participating in a Devar Torah workshop with DLK (Rabbi David Levin-Kruss). This is the Devar Torah I wrote to be presented at the workshop yesterday, for Parashat Emor. Please keep in mind that this was written for middle school students and it is written to be read aloud. Emor has a many parts and it was hard to decide what to focus on, especially since I needed to find something Continue reading →
Count for yourselves, from the morrow of the rest day from the day you bring the omer as a wave offering, seven weeks. Leviticus 23:16
The essence of the Counting of the Omer between Pesach and Shavuot is to mend the seven attributes (1), to bring to them a holy awareness. When you have done this, making yourself into a complete image of the divine in all of your ways, in holiness and purity, then the Shekhinah, in whose image you are made, is also mended. Then we are fit to be God’s, and God to be ours, like a bride ready to enter the wedding canopy… Continue reading →
Having only one seder last year, while in Israel, followed by having two this year, has led me to reflect on why this custom is maintained, and how best to perpetuate it as a meaningful one. Like the other holidays that are celebrated one extra day outside of Israel, this practice originated because of a lack of clarity about the calendar. If the new moon was spotted, and the news was rushed to Jerusalem and verified there, there might not be enough time to get that news out to Babylonia (or wherever Jews were in exile). As a cautionary measure, then, those Jews celebrated an extra day to be sure that they did not treat the actual holiday as a normal day, and work on it. While we now have a set Jewish calendar, and I could tell you when Pesach will fall in the year 5973 (2213), the custom has persisted in most of the Jewish community.
While seders specifically are a ritual that requires a lot of preparation, and therefore having an extra can feel cumbersome at times, Continue reading →
Throughout Pesach my mind has been overflowing with questions, thoughts and new insights. As I ponder what to share with you, I recall one tradition which gets my mind thinking every year.
After the birkat hamazon (grace after meals) a cup set aside for the prophet Elijah is poured and we open the door for him.
When I was younger I vividly recall simultaneously believing that Elijah would be in a physical form standing at the door and I remember staring at Elijah’s cup, imagining an immaterial being drinking from it. The forms of his existence as well as these traditions were an enigma to me at the time and continue to draw my attention.
This tradition is fraught with possible meanings, some of which are as follows: Continue reading →
When I asked him why he made the haggadah he took a step back and gave me a weird shocked face, and said, “no one has asked me that question.” I also looked surprised, “no one has ever asked you why you wanted to make a haggadah?” He replied, “Well, not tonight.” (three hours into a five hour open art haggadah gallery of in the fancy Inbal hotel)
He then goes on to tell me why he made the haggadah. His wife got diagnosed with cancer around Passover time, went through chemo; and eventually, Continue reading →
“So I was walking down the sidewalk one day, and a bus hit me in the head.” Such are the stories you hear at a lunch table in Israel. But we’ll come back to that.
In more recent news, I just finished celebrating my first day of Pesach in Israel. And let me tell you, the matzah here is amazing. Israelis actually spend a good portion of the pesach seder laughing about the fact that Americans still haven’t discovered the conspiracy that makes American matzah taste like dusty wood chips. They call it “מבצע ביצה” (Operation Egg) in code.
So many meanings at this time of year!
For the first (and only) seder, I went to the house of one of my Pardes teachers. The seder was absolutely wonderful; it was Continue reading →
First, dimensionality. You take a point, it has no dimension to it. You add another point and you have a line, the dimension of length. You add a 3rd point and you get length and height. But it’s not until you add that 4th point that you length, height, and finally width. 3 dimensions! And that is the world we live in. It’s not a flat world. Only with that 4th point do we get space as we know it. A vessel to receive.
So on our most basic level – we have a Place to exist, breathe, walk around, because of 4ness. That’s why it’s called the 4 corners of the earth. Continue reading →