Righteousness, not Self-Righteousness:Thoughts for Shabbat Hazon, July 25, 2009

"Wash you, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek justice, relieve the oppressed, judge the orphan, plead for the widow. Come let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isaiah, chapter 1, verses 16-18)

Anti-Semitism, Here? Now? Thoughts for Shabbat Re'eh, August 15, 2009

"Any weapon whetted against you shall not succeed, and any tongue that contends with you in judgment, you shall condemn; this is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their due reward from Me, says the Lord." Isaiah 54:17

When I came to synagogue on Tuesday morning August 11, I was told at the door by our superintendant that there was going to be an anti-Jewish rally right across the street. I had not been notified about this in advance, and was puzzled why a "rally" was being staged against us.

Economic Downturn, Spiritual Upturn: Thoughts on Parashat Beha'aloteha, June 13, 2009

When Aaron the high priest is commanded to light the Menorah, the Torah uses the word "beha'aloteha"--when you kindle. The literal meaning of the word is: when you raise up (the lights). A homiletical meaning may be: when you light the Menorah, you yourself will be raised, you will feel better about yourself--stronger and happier. Aaron is being told that by kindling the lights of the Menorah, he not only brings light to the sanctuary and inspiration to the public: he actually improves himself.

Spiritual Foundations: Thoughts on Parashat Shemini, April 18, 2009

"...and all the congregation drew near and stood before the Lord. And Moses said: This is the thing which the Lord commanded you to do, that there may appear unto you the glory of the Lord." (Vayikra 9:5-6)

Moses instructed the priests and the entire people of Israel concerning the procedures of dedicating the Mishkan, the sanctuary of the Lord. If they followed the commandments, they would experience the glory of the Lord. They would feel God's presence and would reach great spiritual heights.