Let Me Count the Ways

Let Me Count the Ways

May 22, 2004 By Rachel Ain | Commentary | Bemidbar

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s opening line to her love poem are extremely meaningful to us as we begin to read the fourth book of the Torah, the book of B’midbar, or Numbers. The counting of the Israelite people is a central part of this week’s parashah. The parashah begins with God instructing Moses to take a census of all the congregations of the children of Israel.

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Abracadabra!

Abracadabra!

Apr 24, 2004 By Rachel Ain | Commentary | Metzora | Tazria

Abracadabra! These words, recited by magicians all over the world, when broken down into smaller words introduce us to the truest mystery-the creation of the world. A’bara K’adabra – I will create as I have spoken. Just as magicians claim to have the power to change the reality that is in front of them with words, so too, when God created the world it was done not with hands, not with tools, but with speech. In Genesis 1:3 the first thing that God does is to speak. This verse reads, “And God said: ‘Let there be light’; And there was light.” What is it about the power of the spoken word that causes it to transform worlds?

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Lines of Communication

Lines of Communication

Mar 27, 2004 By Rachel Ain | Commentary | Vayikra

Has God ever called out to you? What did God say? What was God looking for? What kind of response did you give? It is not so often that God calls each of us directly. In fact, I would assume that most of us, while constantly striving to establish a relationship with God, have not received the call, as Moses does in the beginning of Leviticus, the third book of the Torah.

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Building Our Holy Places

Building Our Holy Places

Feb 28, 2004 By Rachel Ain | Commentary | Terumah

“They shall make me a tabernacle so that I may dwell amongst them.” This verse in this week’s parashah, T’rumah, is significant for all of us who are committed to the building of a strong and committed Jewish community. The desire to have God dwell amongst us is a goal for which rabbis, educators, cantors and other Jewish professionals strive. The ability to create a sense of kedushah (holiness) by the dwelling of God in that space is an ideal for our Jewish community.

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Communicating in Context

Communicating in Context

Jan 24, 2004 By Rachel Ain | Commentary | Va'era

Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar teaches “Do not pacify your colleague when his anger is raging; do not comfort him when his dead lies before him; do not challenge him at the time he makes a vow; and do not intrude upon him at the time of his disgrace.” (Pirkei Avot 4:23) Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar is teaching us an important lesson. We must not only be cautious with the words that we speak, but the context in which we communicate those words to our fellow human beings.

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Journeying in God’s Presence

Journeying in God’s Presence

Jan 3, 2004 By Rachel Ain | Commentary | Vayiggash

We are all on journeys. Yet, journeys by their very nature entail uncertainty and fear. In this week’s parashah, Va-Yiggash, our ancestor Jacob makes a journey. Jacob leaves the Land of Israel, and descends to Egypt. Once he discovers that Joseph is alive and well in Egypt, he prepares to move his entire family to what he hopes will be a better place. He is leaving a land of famine, to dwell in Egypt, the land of plenty.

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Reconciliation of Faiths

Reconciliation of Faiths

Nov 29, 2003 By Rachel Ain | Commentary | Toledot

Sibling conflict is not a new story in the Torah. Isaac knows well his own history of sibling rivalry with Ishmael. They spent years apart, yet reconciled over the burial of their father Abraham. So too in this week’s parashah we see a rift between two siblings. Jacob stands before his father Isaac in disguise and takes a blessing that rightfully belongs to Esau. Upon hearing this, Esau cries out to Isaac, “Have you only one blessing, father?” (Genesis 27:37) How could Isaac, the father of both sons, in fact choose only one son to bless? How could there in fact, be only one blessing?

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In God’s Image

In God’s Image

Oct 25, 2003 By Rachel Ain | Commentary | Bereishit

In Parashat Bereishit , we are told that “God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen 1:27).

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The Gift of Shabbat

The Gift of Shabbat

Oct 25, 2003 By Rachel Ain | Commentary | Bereishit

In Parashat Bereishit, we are told that “God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen 1:27).

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