Category Archives: Holidays

How Deep? How High?

How much do I love you? I’ll tell you no lie. How deep is the ocean? How high is the sky? Irving Berlin wrote the song, How Deep Is the Ocean? in 1932. It consists mainly of rhetorical questions that point … Continue reading

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The Binding Of God

To my mind’s eye, Rabbi Berechiah appeared stoop-shouldered and mournful on Rosh Hashanah as he listened to the Torah reader recite Genesis 22, The Binding of Isaac. Berechiah, a 4th century sage of the land of Israel, was pained by … Continue reading

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The Eleventh And Twelfth Commandments: Don’t Change! Change!

My father was God and didn’t know it.  He gave me the ten commandments neither in thunder nor in fury, neither in fire nor in cloud but in gentleness and in love. He added caresses and added kind words adding, … Continue reading

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Leavening On Our Shelves And In Ourselves

Every year, several weeks before Passover, my personal search for leaven begins in a way that is more symbolic than actual. I approach my bookshelves where there are many books that have served their rising, yeasty purposes and are now … Continue reading

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Blossoms of Seder Night, Fruits of New Year’s Day

Rabbi Eliezer was sure that the world was created in the fall month of Tishrei, the season of the New Year. His rival, Rabbi Joshua, was equally positive that the world was created at Passover time, in the spring month … Continue reading

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Heaven, Holiness, And Harmony

On erev Yom Kippur, 1990, the heavens broke open over kibbutz Bet Hashita. In the moment, after the singing, no one spoke; no one wanted to leave. Later, individual recollections of heaven, holiness, and harmony seemed woven into one story, … Continue reading

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The Middle Of The Story And The Story Of The Middle

On the Torah page, the miracle of Passover’s seventh day comes into view. The Torah page literally pictures Israel crossing the sea—glistening black letters against sea foam parchment.  The words are inscribed according to the script: Look! There are the people … Continue reading

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Before and Within

A strange Yom Kippur story was told by Rabbi Ishmael, a High Priest of the 2nd Temple: Once, I entered before and within (the Holy of Holies) to offer the incense and I saw Akatriel Yah, the Lord of Hosts, sitting on … Continue reading

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Beginnings Ripe And Ripening

Rabbi Eliezer asks:  From where do we learn that the world was created in Tishrei? From the verse: God said, let the earth sprout grasses, seed bearing plants, fruit trees of every kind on earth bearing fruit with the seed … Continue reading

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Sinai’s Appealing Thunder

I will not float in space un-tethered lest a cloud obscure the very fine line in my heart that separates good and evil. I have no life-line without the lightning and the thunder that I heard at Sinai. (Click here … Continue reading

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