Here are two "Angel for Shabbat" columns, one for the 7th day of Pessah on how to worry properly; and one for the upcoming Shabbat on the sounds of silence...and screams.
Angel for Shabbat
Although there are those who promote the impurity of Metsora, there are also many who promote freedom and creativity, beauty and harmony. Life is an ongoing struggle between Tazria and Metsora.
The hope for religion is the growth of religious institutions that actually take their parishioners seriously, that don’t insult their intelligence, that speak to their spiritual needs. Educated people are not—or should not be—looking for a religion that depends on ignorance and subservience, or that fosters superstitious beliefs and practices.
The destruction of the Temples in antiquity were a serious blow to the Jewish People. But the Jewish religious genius has taught us to overcome tragedies, to remember them, but to dream of better days yet to come. In this spirit, Rabbi Marc Angel offers an interpretation of the first Mishna of the Talmud.
We have many mitzvoth, customs and traditions. At first glance, all these things may seem to be enormous burdens, overwhelmingly difficult to observe. But once we do observe the mitzvoth, they become part of the fabric of our lives--and we find that they are essential to our physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing.
People wear uniforms…athletes, police, firefighters, surgeons, clergy. Graduates don caps and gowns. Marching bands have their uniforms. Top hats and tails, formal gowns, business attire…each uniform is meant to define a particular role or a particular occasion. When people dress casually so that they think they are not wearing uniforms…they are wearing casual uniforms! The way they dress is meant to reflect their conformity with or rebellion from the current fashions.
The aspiration of a truly religious person must be to develop the power of giving; to be genuine, honest and kind. If we are to make our contributions to God's sanctuary--and to society--we must do so with purity of heart, selflessness and humility. We must aspire to real religion.
This week's Torah portion begins with God commanding Moses : "And these are the ordinances that you shall set before them." Rashi comments that God instructed Moses not to teach the Israelites by rote, but to explain the reasons for the laws. If the people had the opportunity to study the reasons behind the laws, they would more likely internalize and fulfill them.
Each individual is expected to draw on his/her best strengths and talents in order to fulfill his/her distinctive mission in life. If one internalizes the feeling of having been chosen to accomplish great things, one can live with vision, energy and sense of purpose.
Angel for Shabbat, Parashat Yitro
by Rabbi Marc D. Angel
The Revelation at Mount Sinai was a national experience for all the people of Israel—but it also was very personal. Each Israelite heard the same words—but in different ways!