Showing posts from 2021

How To Stop And See The Good In The Darkness

During one of my tutoring sessions today, my student and I got to talking about creation. Granted, her Torah portion happens to be Bereshit, which talks about exactly that, how God created the world in seven days. First of, let's take a second to think about the enormity of creating an entire functional ecosystem in a week; I can't even get my laundry done in that time. All joking aside (well, partial joking, since I really am awful at keeping up with my laundry), I have always found comfort in this particular Torah portion. This isn't because of the predictable idea that one can create wonders out of nothing. After each day, God exclaims the following: 1 In the beginning of God's creation of the heavens and the earth.   א בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ: 2 Now the earth was astonishingly empty, and darkness was on the face of the deep, and the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the water.   ב וְהָאָ֗רֶץ הָֽיְתָ֥ה תֹ֨הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔ה

What Is Freedom, And Where To Find It

I find the concept of freedom to be somewhat relative and misleading. Do we talk about freedom from shackles imposed by others? freedom from our self-imposed restrictions? Is there really such a thing as pure, unadulterated freedom? how much of a margin of error is there when we determine ourselves as free? I believe it is unrealistic to expect someone who rids themselves from some form of shackles to consider themselves fully free. I believe that ignoring the marks of said shackles does nothing but perpetuate that lack of freedom. Do not get me wrong, I do believe that we are capable of releasing ourselves from pain, albeit sometimes temporarily, and achieve some level of freedom; however, the power in maintaining that freedom isn't in distancing ourselves from the oppressor, but in maintaining it/him/her/them as a constant reminder of where we have been, how they shaped us, and who we are capable of becoming. History has taught us time and time again that, when we choose to forge

Building From Fear: The Proverbial Golden Calf

 I am sure the title of this post seems like a contradiction to many of you. How can you build from a place where you are paralyzed with fear; how do we create when we ourselves feel broken. This week's Torah portion (and no, before you stop reading, I am not writing a fully religious post here, so try to bear with me) talks about the time Moses goes to Mount Sinai to receive what will then become the Ten Commandments. While he is up there, the people become restless. There is a prevalent fear that he is taking too long and that they have been left with no guidance or hope. In order to find comfort, Aaron and the men collect all the gold and build a Golden Calf, in hope that this will become a God that will then guide them and give them comfort. Of course, many of you know what happens next: Moses comes down with the Tablets, God gets mad, makes Moses tear the Tablets, he sends a plague to the Israelites, gives them 40 more years in the desert, and Moses goes up the mountain again

What Is Joy, And Where To Find It

"When the month of Adar enters, we increase in joy" - Talmud, Taanit 29a I love this particular month in the Jewish calendar. Honestly, if you look at Jewish history, joy isn't something that particularly stands out. Sure, we have parties, and more parties, and, you know, parties. But joy? joy is something that is only found in a handful of places, and maybe, from a handful of people. See, I've never been one to shy away from vulnerability, so the fact that joy feels to be lacking in my life at this particular time shouldn't be a surprise.  We are slowly but surely approaching the one year mark for what feels like a century long process. We have now been, in one way or another, deprived of human contact and functional peace for almost a year. We no longer question whether we have enough time to pivot our planned services and events, but rather, we are now looking at how we can improve an already tested system of virtual gatherings.  It's funny, in a dark, twis

COVID Came To Play, And It Stole My Sanity (And Sense of Smell).

When I opened my Timehop app today, it reminded me of a few things... screenshots of some meetings planned for the week for work in preparation for our upcoming Cuba trip, pictures of Lily and her bff sharing a plate of fruit at an indoor play place... you know, pre-COVID activities. And while the current state of affairs in American politics has granted us a much needed reprieve from the darker times from the past few years (thank you, Bernie Sanders, for gracing us with the ultimate meme-worthy opportunity), the heavy reality of the merciless passing of time of the last year does nothing but cast a cloud on any source of joy that may be available to us right now. And yes, I own the doomsday approach that this blog may come off as, and apologize if it sparks unnecessary sadness in your life. Here is the thing about the past year. When 2020 started, my expectations for the year were not unrealistic in nature: be a better parent, grow in my career, and engage in some much needed self-re