Midrash HaZaK

Midrash HaZaK – Introduction

Midrash HaZaK – Introduction

  “Ben Bag Bag would say: turn it and turn it again, for all is in it; see through it; grow old and worn in it; do not budge from it, for there is nothing that works better than it.  (Pirkei Avot, “The Chapters of our Fathers,” 5:22) In the early part of the...

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Ki Tissa: Aging and Reconciliation

Ki Tissa: Aging and Reconciliation

So begins the first fundamental crisis in the Covenant between the people of Israel and God. This wasn’t like Abraham and Isaac; horrifying as that was, it was a family crisis. This one involved and affected what was now suddenly the nation of Israel, as it just began to come into existence.

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Re’eh: See the Blessing

And what are we supposed to see? “I (Moses? God?) set before you today a blessing and a curse.” How are we supposed to see this? Is it related in any way to how we are supposed to hear, Sh’ma Yisrael, that God is One?

To see something with our own eyes is to perceive it. To hear something with our own ears is to understand it.

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Shemot: And God Said, “Hineni”

Shemot: And God Said, “Hineni”

I believe in miracles, and I believe in God, but the accepted translations and interpretations of common scenes in the Torah had made it uncomfortable, if not impossible–for me, as a Jewish woman, to find much meaning from Torah in my life.

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Vayehi: Jacob’s End-of-Life Wisdom

Vayehi: Jacob’s End-of-Life Wisdom

The concluding chapters of Genesis offer a relevant model for “conscious living and dying” today. Living in a death-denying culture, we can learn a great deal from Jacob and Joseph to help us deal more openly with the end-of-life journey and with grief in our families and communities.

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VaYigash: Was It All A Foregone Conclusion?

VaYigash: Was It All A Foregone Conclusion?

VaYigash: Was It All A Foregone Conclusion? Rabbi Richard F. Address, D. Min. Vayigash is one of the great portions of Torah. The central scene is the revelation by Joseph to his brothers. It is a moment of Torah that is filled with drama, pathos and the reality that,...

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Vayeshev: Settling Down, Never Stopping

Vayeshev: Settling Down, Never Stopping

We can never retire from life’s spiritual challenges because it is when we “retire” that we are truly best able to rise to those challenges. As we do, we not only confront them for ourselves, but we become the teachers of our children and our grandchildren.

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Vayishlach: What Do We Wrestle With?

Vayishlach: What Do We Wrestle With?

Throughout my life, I have found inspiration and guidance from its messages. So, in considering two questions; “How can we live until we die?” and “How can Torah help us do that?”Vayishlach provides great answers.

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Va-yetze: Leaving Home

Parashat Va-yetze: Leaving Home Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs “And he left,” ויצא (Genesis 28:10) “And Jacob left,” home. As I look back over my life, and the life and career of our patriarch Jacob, the day we each left home marked pivotal turning points in our lives....

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Toledot: Sight And Vision As We Age

Toledot: Sight And Vision As We Age

Parshat Toldot is the first portion in the Torah which contains the themes of disability and aging. Specifically, we will examine how these themes affected Isaac’s parenting and, in the process, changed the trajectory of the lives of Rebecca and Isaac’s twin sons, Jacob and Esau.

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VaYera: Is Our Story Abraham’s?

VaYera: Is Our Story Abraham’s?

No, Abraham’s family is no model of perfect family dynamics. But then again, how many are? As we age and review our own lives, how many of us can see elements of our experiences within this parashah?

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Latest Sermons

Kedoshim: How Are We Holy?
Kedoshim: How Are We Holy?

What does it mean to be kadosh, “holy,” or “sanctified”? I always used to think it meant “elevated,” or somehow, “better than” something or someone else. Dictionary.com would certainly have you believe that, but the Hebrew word, kadosh, means “to be set apart.” A...

Achare Mot: “I Can DO It Myself!”
Achare Mot: “I Can DO It Myself!”

Photo credit: Flickr.com, Kenny Holston, Whiteman fitness center Achare Mot: "I Can Do It Myself!" Years ago Joan Collins did a commercial for Jack LaLane Fitness Centers. She asked her butler to bring her her shoes and gym bag. When he asked if perhaps he should...

Life: The Luck Of The Draw
Life: The Luck Of The Draw

Image credit: pinging.com A few weeks ago, towards the end of Talmud Tractate Megilla, I wrote about various sages in the Talmud who lived to “old age,” whatever that meant 2,000 years ago, and to what they attributed their longevity. I noted my chuckle over one...

Latest Midrash HaZak

Ki Tissa: Aging and Reconciliation
Ki Tissa: Aging and Reconciliation

Image Credit: circunda-tederosas.blogspot Ki Tissa: Aging and Reconciliation by Anita Silvert “When the people saw that Moses was so long coming down from the mountain, the people gathered against Aaron and said to him, ‘Come, make us a god who shall go before us, for...

Re’eh: See the Blessing

Image: Nahant Sunrise from image.org Re’eh: See the Blessing by Dr. Nechama Liss-Levinson The portion Re’eh, chock full of statutes and commandments, begins with the word re’eh, sometimes translated as “behold,” but I prefer the translation “see.” And what are we...

Yitro: Ink Blots On The Paper Of Life
Yitro: Ink Blots On The Paper Of Life

ch, Beshalach, Yitro: Ink Blots On The Paper Of Life Rabbi Tamar Crystal Elisha Ben Abuya taught: “When a person studies as a child to what may he be compared? To ink written on fresh paper. When a person studies when he is old to what may he be compared? To ink...

Latest Personal Blogs

Blessing My Bended Knees-A Poem
Blessing My Bended Knees-A Poem

This past week, I participated in a Ritualwell class with Alden Solovy on "Writing From One Word of Torah." I distilled 3 stream-of-consciousness prompts on the word "Baruch/Berekh," the root of which can mean "blessing' and "knee, into this poem. Blessing my bended...

The Eshet Hayil In Our Lives
The Eshet Hayil In Our Lives

Photo: publicdomainpictures.net The Eshet Hayil In Our Lives An email from My Jewish Learning about “A Woman of Valor” prompted me to pivot the next evening’s planned adult learning session to looking at these 22 verses from Mishlei, the Book of Proverbs. These verses...

Live Long and Prosper?
Live Long and Prosper?

By Oklahoma Heritage Association, Gaylord-Pickens Museum - Author, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25656727 Live Long and Prosper? January 5, 2022 began the third year of the seven and a half-year cycle of Daf Yomi, the practice of...

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