Torah: Black Fire On White Fire

When we think about a Torah scroll, we usually only consider the letters themselves, written in black ink. Yet, the Talmud (Menachot 29a) rules that every letter in a Torah scroll must be completely surrounded by parchment in a requirement called mukaf gevil. The white parchment around the letters is an integral part of the Torah; without it, …

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Shalekhet (Fallen Leaves)

Shalekhet (Fallen Leaves) שַׁלֶּכֶתA sacred space, a place to be, An escape from the summer heatOur souls sit among the cloudsWatching the stars igniteTwinkling, sparkling, gleamingLike shiny pieces of broken dreamsCalling upon the elementsTo bring us a season of wholenessAs leaves of orange, red and goldDrift down from branchesThat will soon be as starkAs the winter’s sleepThe …

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My Sukkot Shirat Halev: Song of the Heart

The wind blows a little colder,The leaves begin to change color,We can sense the onset of Fall in our bonesAutumn will come with her cloudy skiesHer winding down timeHer hot cups of teaHer time to releaseIn the Sukkah we can feel her cool breath Flowing through our doorless entrywayAnd the openings in our thatched ceilingWhere an …

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“Psalms and Prayers For a New Day” (Sukkot / 5781)

“This Grateful Heart” is a lovely book brimming with a treasure trove of beautiful, soulful and inspirational prayers by Alden Solovy: To Bend Light Please click the links below to read two of my favorite prayers from his body of work. Rejoice and For Autumn © 2017 CCAR Press: Order This Grateful Heart. CCAR —The Central …

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The Simple Pleasures of Sukkot

The festival of Sukkot began at sundown on October 2nd and ends at sundown on October 9th. On Sukkot we shake the Lulav and Etrog in Six Directions (blessing all elements of the Earth) dine, relax, socialize or even sleep in a Sukkah — a temporary hut — signifying the transience of all things.

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Judaism Q and A: Heaven and The Afterlife

This Q and A is inspired by some misconceptions I’ve seen proliferating about Jewish mourning terminology and beliefs in the Afterlife. Contemporary Jewish communities shy away from Jewish concepts of “Heaven and Hell,” but their existence in Jewish theology is well-established and became a focus of Jewish interpretation during the Maccabean period. Q. Does Judaism …

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KODESHIM (Holy Ones): Love Thy Neighbor as Yourself

Part Two of a three part series on “The Holiness Code” (Parsha Kodeshim). (Part One: Kodeshim - What Does Holiness Mean?) Leviticus is called “the heart of the Torah” because of the number of commandments it contains. This Parsha (Torah Portion) alone contains 51 mitzvot (commandments or obligations), including the biggee to “Love your kinsman (fellow) …

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