Category: Torah

The Text(s), the tribe, the learning, the being. (With a bit of random spirituality mixed in.)

First Graf: Path of the Just

MUSSAR (מוסר) IS A HEBREW TERM usually translated as “ethical behavior/discipline,” or to put it more succinctly, the fine art and science of being a mensch. Its roots are almost as old as Judaism itself — according to Genesius, it’s…

A Torah of Fire

“If you have learned much Torah, do not take credit for yourself — for that is why you were created.” — Pirkei Avot IT’S OFTEN OVER MY HEAD, but there’s an eight-page “parsha sheet” (Torah-commentary newsletter) I have been following…

I’m Ed, He’s Johnny

FOR MOST OF THIS YEAR, and health permitting, I have been co-hosting a weekly radio show every Thursday afternoon with my rabbi (and showhost), Steve Finley. It’s billed as the Sonoma Valley Interfaith Ministerial Association Radio Hour, and is an…

History Lesson: Chain

“Everything you do, here and at home, is part of Sonoma Valley Jewish history.” That’s what I used to tell the students in our synagogue’s Hebrew school, and it’s also one of the lessons from this week’s Torah portion, Ki…

Lamed-Vavniks, Unite!

Are you a Lamed-Vavnik? According to Jewish tradition, there are 36 exceptionally righteous (read: supermensch-like) people in the world in each generation, and without whom the world would cease to exist. (In Hebrew counting, 36 is “lamed vav” (lamed =…

Confronting Evil

(From a friend, for Yom Hashoah/Holocaust Remembrance Day.) April 15, 1965 יוסף דוב סולוביצ’יק JOSEPH SOLOVEITCHIK Dear Dr. Vogel: I received your letter. Of course, you may quote me. The gist of my discourse was that Judaism did not approach…

Midrash Beshallach

WORF: These are our stories. They tell us who we are. BA’EL: …Are they true? WORF: I have studied them all of my life, and find new truths in them every time. — “Birthright,” Star Trek: The Next Generation Here’s…