Antidote to Anxiety

Fourth Haftarah of Comfort: Isaiah 51:12–52:12 Hashem is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? Hashem is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Ps. 27:1 When I was in elementary school we had random air-raid drills from time to time. We’d be in the middle of class and… Continue reading Antidote to Anxiety

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Shabbat Shuvah 5777

In recent years I’ve often taught on Teshuvah, or Repentance, as a four-step process, which can be traced throughout Scripture. It's clearly pictured in Messiah Yeshua’s story of the Prodigal Son, the iconic picture of teshuvah in the Gospels. This year I’m working through an excellent book, Repentance: The Meaning and Practice of Teshuvah, by… Continue reading Shabbat Shuvah 5777

Day Six, Hour 11.5

Rosh Hashana is one of our most significant Jewish holidays, but the Torah doesn’t say much about it. It’s only mentioned twice, and briefly at that: And Hashem spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day… Continue reading Day Six, Hour 11.5

The Silence of Abraham

I wrote this commentary the day before 9/11/2001 and it seemed particularly relevant in the days that followed. I reposted it on this blog site a few years ago, and it still seems current to me, as we approach Rosh Hashanah 2016.  During the time of self-examination and spiritual preparation leading up to the Days… Continue reading The Silence of Abraham

Rosh Hashanah with Ishmael

Abraham endured ten trials of his faith, according to Jewish tradition, and the last two involve Abraham’s two sons: he must cast Ishmael out of the camp, and offer up Isaac as a sacrifice. We read about both these trials on Rosh Hashanah; Ishmael on the first day and Isaac on the second. The Akedah… Continue reading Rosh Hashanah with Ishmael

Non-theoretical truth

We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves [and] admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. From the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous   When truth encounters the data of our lives, it gives rise to confession. Truth itself can be pretty abstract, an… Continue reading Non-theoretical truth

Irreplaceable Israel

We’re in the middle of Elul, the sixth month, which means we’re in the middle of a prayer focus on protection and restoration for the land and people of Israel. The two prayer themes of protection and restoration or return (teshuvah in Hebrew, which also means repentance), are linked in Scripture, as in our theme… Continue reading Irreplaceable Israel