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Minute Lessons From the Torah

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Episode 31: Re'eh Choose Your Path

We are human beings with free will and we get to choose the right and just path. The right path is to follow God and strive to always do what is right.


Episode 30: Matot-Massei - Cities of Refuge

This is the last Torah Portion from the book of numbers. The Israelites are so close to the promised land but before they can enter the promised land God tells Moses that they must create cities of refuge. Today we might call them Sanctuary cities. Today when we are talking about Sanctuary cities we are talking about protecting undocumented immigrants in the United States. The Torah Laws related to the cities of refuge are unique. The Torah says that when a person accidentally kills...


Episode 28: Chukat, Grief and Loss

In this week’s Torah portion we learn that Miriam dies She is the sibling of Aaron and Moses. A funny thing happens when Miriam dies; all of a sudden the Israelites are without water. Rabbis of our tradition have long connected Miriam with the water that the Israelites drank and without the water Israelites are in a panic and worried they are going to die of thirst. So Moses prays to God. God tells Moses to assemble the Israelites and go find a rock and order the rock to yield water. God...


Episode 27: Korach - Jealousy is Destructive

Korah's Rebellion: He was Jealous and paid the ultimate price with his life


Episode 25: Behaalot'cha and Gratitude

Always be grateful and thankful for what you have and not the things you think you want. And you can never move forward in life if you are always looking at the past.


Episode 24: Bemidbar - The Wilderness

This week we enter into the book of Numbers


Episode 23: Behar-Bechukotai - You Shall Proclaim Freedom

In this week's Torah portion, Behar - Bechukotai (Leviticus 25:1-27:34)God tells Moses to speak to the Israelites and say to them when you enter the land that I assign to you the land shall observe a sabbath. God says that the Israelites can work the land for six years but on the seventh year the land gets a Shabbat of complete rest. The Torah goes further: not only is every seventh year meant to be a shmita aka a sabbatical year but after seven-time seven years the 50th year "Jubilee,"...


Episode 21: Acharei -Kedoshim - Let’s talk about Love

Let’s talk about Love This week’s torah portion Acharei Mot Kedoshim. Is about love. And it contains what we often call the holiness code. A blueprint for how we as a people living in a society should strive to behave. The opening words are: And the Lord spoke to Moses saying, speak to the people of Israel, and say to them: You shall be holy; for I the Lord your God am holy. Then God explains how people can be holy. God teaches us to Judge others fairly, to not hate our neighbors in our...


Episode 19: Shemini - Kosher and holiness

Why Keep Kosher?


Episode 18: Passover

Every year at Passover Jews retell the story of Israel's exodus from Egypt, and their escape from slavery and oppression. Our tradition reminds us that the Exodus narrative is not just any story, but one we must retell because we are asked to believe that we were present at that moment.


Episode 17: Tzav - King and the Eternal Flame Shine forever

Episode 17: Tzav (Leviticus 6:1–8:36)- King and the Eternal Flame Shine forever


Episode 15: Vayakhel-Pekudei

This week we read a double portion Vayakhel-Pekudei. Moses assembles the people and tells them about the sanctuary they are to build but before that happens Moses tells them that God commands them to work six days but on the seventh day they shall rest. The seventh day is a holy day. The commandment to rest precedes the command to work. This tells us just how important it is for us to rest. God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. For many Jews today, many Jews Shabbat...


Episode 14 Ki Tisa: Shabbat and the Golden Calf

Every week, we get to renew our covenant with God and we pause to notice the sacredness of creation.


Episode 13: Terumah: God's Sanctuary

Today in our modern times we as Jews don’t have one Mishkan we have synagogues and we worship God not just in the Tabernacle but wherever we might be. And where we are located can have a significant effect on the spirituality we feel in that moment. Designing a prayer space is a sacred task to be done with great care. And so too must we take care to use that sacred space to nurture our personal and communal connections with God.


Episode 10: Yitro and Envy

This week’s Torah portion is Yitro and this is the Torah portion where we finally get the 10 commandments. Let’s focus on number 10 Thou shall not covet..Anything that is your neighbor’s. In other words do not be envious of anything from your neighbor’s house. This is my favorite commandment because I believe this commandment is the key to happiness Envy is the desire to have something belonging to someone else. This is an emotion, that brings out jealousy, resentment, bitterness the old...


Episode 9: Beshallach Not by Prayer alone

Israelites are finally free and they are moving fast to leave Egypt. Now they find themselves at the edge of the sea. There is no way out and Pharaoh's army is not far behind. They are trapped and scared.


Episode 8: Bo: Freedom for All

This week we are in Parsha Bo (Exodus 10:1−13:16)and we are at the climax of Israel’s struggle for freedom. Plague after Plague has hurt Egypt and Pharoah is willing to let some of the Israelites go free. Moses insist that none of them will go unless all of the Israelites can go. Moses wants freedom for all. He says We will go with our young and our old, we will go with our sons and our daughters. In other words, we ain’t leavin' anybody behind.


Episode 7: Vaera: Failure Leads to Success

Sometimes leaders succeed with ease and sometimes they fail. In this week's Torah portion Moses fails several times before he eventually becomes the man who leads the Israelites from to freedom. When we fail it's important to learn from our failure and then to keep going.


Episode 5: Shemot: Names are Important and I Am What I Am

This week as we enter the book of Exodus. In hebrew we call this book Shemot the book of names. The Torah portion starts out with the names of the Israelites who came down to Egypt. Then later we learn the name of Moses and when Moses encounters God for the first time he says to God tell me your name. As I write this I can't help but remember the gay anthem of my youth the Gloria Gaynor song I Am What I Am https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uj8C43r4zm0


Episode 4: Shemot: Civil Disobedience and the Path to Redemption

This week we begin the book of exodus in the Torah Portion Shemot (Exodus 1:1–6:1). The Israelites are slaves and we follow them from slavery to freedom and then redemption. As we begin this journey through Exodus, Let us consider the midwives Shifrah and Puah The process of redemption does not begin with divine intervention, but with the first recorded act of non-violent civil disobedience. The Torah says that a King arose that did not know Joseph. This Pharoh did not like the increasing...


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