Showing posts from September, 2022

Forgiveness No Longer Required

 During Elul (the last year in the Jewish calendar), we often focus our efforts on self-assessment, goal setting, and forgiveness. When asked what the difference is between Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish new year) and the secular new year is for me, my answer (to some people's shock) is that Rosh Hashanah is the ultimate Jewish guilt trip. We spend a whole month entering a sacred space where we make herculean efforts to really dig deep and understand ourselves, just to reach Rosh Hashanah as the jumping board for Yom Kippur, where we enter into the "forgiveness debacle". What have we done that requires atonement? how do we plan on mending those cracks that we have inflicted in our souls and in others? how will we enter this most sacred period in Judaism ready to forgive ourselves and others? But what if forgiveness is not what we want? I am a deeply flawed individual. I am sure that the count of people I have wronged in my life exceeds others perceptions of who I am. I have al

A Dvar Torah 25 Years in The Making

This dvar Torah is 25 years in the making. Yes, I delivered one for my Bat Mitzvah; no, I did not read the portion myself (wasn't allowed to) and whatever I spoke about (of which I have no recollection) clearly did not make any memorable impact on my life. Alas, here we are. Ki Tetzei means "When You Go Out" (to battle, since thats the next word in the sentence). This Torah portion contains the most Mitzvot (rules) in all the Torah, 72 to be precise. From rules about marriage, sexuality, to how to care for the land, Moses lays it all out with precise detail. That is a whole lot of rules to remember. If you read the list closely, you notice that almost every rule has a "balance" to it: "Do not plow with an ox and a donkey together", "Do not wear linen and wool together". It also outlines the rules on how to relate to one another: "Keep your promises", "When collecting debt, you shall do so in a righteous way". The majority