Tag: Learning Jewishly

“A little Torah is all anyone knows.”

Living-Room Torah

INSIDE A MODEST HOME ON Sonoma’s East Side sits our town’s best-kept open Jewish secret. Dubbed the “France Street Shtibbl” (or, for non-Yiddish speakers, the “France Street Beit Midrash (house of study)”), our living room has hosted a semi-monthly (or,…

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…

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…

Torah Study: Rewrite

Among its other directives, Torah contains the seeds of its own begetting — each of us is instructed to write a Torah scroll for ourselves. In that spirit, I would paraphrase one of this week’s verses to say “Torah is…