The core of Jewish liturgy traces back to the early rabbinic period. Over the centuries, Sephardim and Ashkenazim developed different nuances in their prayer liturgies. It is valuable to learn about the differences that emerged, to see how rabbinic interpretations and cultures shaped the religious experiences underlying prayer.
Since the destruction of our ancient Temples in Jerusalem, our spiritual “place” has been found in our synagogues, study halls, in our homes and hearts. Our prayers—our wishes and aspirations—obviously relate to our physical needs. But for us truly to find our own “place” in the scheme of things, our prayers must bring us into relationship with the ultimate Place--the Almighty.
Our grandparents and parents and their generations left us a powerful legacy of memories, values and ideals. As we draw strength and wisdom from their lives, we face the present and the future with increasing confidence. We can’t go home again, but neither can we ever really leave home.
Judaism offers two pathways to the Almighty: the Torah and Nature. Rabbi Marc Angel explores these themes in his book, The Rhythms of Jewish Living, and this is an excerpt from that book. The book may be ordered on this link: https://www.jewishideas.org/rhythms-jewish-living-sephardic-exploration-judaisms-spirituality
The Jewish Press newspaper has a bi-weekly feature in which a group of rabbis are requested to respond to the editor's questions. One of the respondents is Rabbi Marc D. Angel, and here are his answers to some of the recent questions.
Our National Scholar, Rabbi Hayyim Angel, published a new Book Review in Tradition (the journal of the Rabbinical Council of America) discussing the interface between religious Bible study and archaeology.
The Torah has a deep tradition for protecting what is now known as the environment. Reading our sources with an eye for environmental sensitivity, we find a wealth of connections and teachings that encourage us to protect our resources, care for our health, prevent unnecessary damage to our neighbors, show concern and respect for other creatures, and avoid unnecessary waste. These teachings can help us find solutions to some of the grave environmental threats that we face today.
For some critics, everyone in the world seems to have rights...except Jews. Every nation in the world has the right to defend its citizens...except Israel. These are positions which must be repudiated by all fair-minded people. These are positions which most surely should be repudiated by the victims of such views...the Jews themselves.
Rabbi Marc D. Angel wrote this short essay many years ago. With the announcement of the new peace plan, the message of this essay becomes ever more relevant. Will the leaders of both sides muster the courage to wage a real peace?