Eating in a Sukkah

Eating in a sukkah (hut), we realize we are all Adam, beloved creatures of the earth.

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We Are All Wanderers

We are all wanderers searching for a home that ultimately exists inside ourselves (Num 33.1).

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What is the Wilderness?

What is the wilderness? The best place to encounter ourselves and the Source. Where is the wilderness? Inside us. Why is there a wilderness? To transform us.

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Who Are the Egyptians in the Exodus Story

Who are the Egyptians in the Exodus story? They are not only outside us, but inside us. Most of the time we enslave ouirselves. That’s why the Jewish people wanted to return to Egypt rather than deal with uncertainty and choices in the wildnerness (Ex 14.12).

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Our Lives as Sacred Stories

Each of our lives is a new story to add to the book of Genesis.

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Creation Never Ends

Gen 1.1: “The Source (God) began to create”: As long as the universe exists, creation is a process that rests periodically, but never ends.

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Rest from Creation on Shabbat

The Source rests from creation every shabbat. So should we. Then, on the next day, we join hands to continue creation (Gen 2.3).

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The Woman Was Not Expelled in Eden

Did you ever notice that the Source explicitly expelled Adam, not the woman, from the garden of Eden?

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The First Adam

Gen 1:27: The first Adam was both female and male, bi-gendered, whole, integrated, one.

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Creation Rests on Shabbat

Creation rests on Shabbat, but recommences the next day.

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Shabbat and Doing Nothing

Do nothing for a period of time. Then you will be able to do something worthwhile and begin to understand Shabbat.

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Close Reading

Close reading does not mean just words, but images and experiences as well.

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Who Are the Temple Priests

Who are the Temple priests? Those who light the Temple menorah. The only way to drive out darkness is with light. (Num 8.1-3)

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Breath, Words, Creation

Breath + words = creation (Gen 1)

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Each Person Under a Banner

Num 1.52, “Each person under his or her banner”: Each person is uniquely himself and herself.

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Love Your Neighbor

Lev 19:18: “Love your neighbor as yourself” actually reads in Hebrew: “You shall show love to your neighbor as you would (show it to) yourself.” In other words, love is not simply a feeling state, but also an act of doing.

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Shabbat

Spend some time doing nothing. That’s what allows you to do something worthwhile. Shabbat.

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Letting Go of Your I

Ironically, when we let go of our I, we feel a deep connection to others and understand Lev 19.18: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

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Connecting to Our Ancestors

After Jacob and Joseph died, Jews became slaves in Egypt. Why? Because they lost track of their ancestors, their home, their Source. Roots let us grow and thrive. They are the ties that both bind and liberate. We cannot help but be products of generations past to the beginning of time. The question is: Do we sever ourselves from the past, simply reuse the past by forgetting that we are each born anew, or integrate the past into a new creation?

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Repair the World

We Jews are haunted by the cries of Abel’s heirs from the earth. The specter of annhilation has a way of improving your hearing. Hence tikkun olam, repair of the world.

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Noah did not argue with the Source for the impending human genocide. Abraham argued with the Source for Sodom, but not for Isaac. Moses argued incessantly with the Source. So did the great Hasidic rebbe, Isaac of Berditchev. We are supposed to act like Moses and Isaac of Berditchev.

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Adam’s Breath

The Source breathed life into Adam (Gen 2.7). Every time we exhale, we also bring life into others.

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Body and Mitzvah

Jewish tradition says that every part of our body corresponds to a mitzvah (a commandment). So, when our body is in proper attunement, we will then feel the presence of the Source and act accordingly.

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Holiness and the I

To be holy is to no longer focus on the I (Lev 19).

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Jacob’s Ladder

What is Jacob’s ladder? A gateway opening from one dimension to another. (Gen 28.12)

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Humility of Moses

The last letter of the very first word in Leviticus (vayiqra’–“and the Source called”) in the traditional Hebrew text ends with an extra small “aleph.” The rabbis interpreted this to refer to Moses’ humility. Another interpretation: It refers to the silent voice that spoke to Moses, not through his ears, but through his heart and mind.

(The letter, “Aleph,” is silent in Hebrew)

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Jacob’s Ladder

Jacob’s ladder:going up-going down; inhaling-exhaling; holding-letting go; receiving-giving; living-dying (Gen 28.12).

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Heartlessness

Heartlessness eventually and inevitably leads to self-destruction. (Ex 7:14)

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Last words of a Hero: General Hermann Henning von Tresckow

These are the last words of German General Hermann Henning von Tresckow, spoken on July 21, 1944, when he learned in Bialystock that the plot to assassinate Hitler had failed. He committed suicide immediately afterward.

“The whole world will vilify us now, but I am still totally convinced that we did the right thing. Hitler is the archenemy not only of Germany but of the world. When, in few hours’ time, I go before God to account for what I have done and left undone, I know I will be able to justify what I did in the struggle against Hitler. God promised Abraham that He would not destroy Sodom if just ten righteous men could be found in the city, and so I hope that for our sake God will not destroy Germany. No one among us can complain about his death, for whoever joined our ranks put on the shirt of Nessus. A man’s moral worth is established only at the point where he is ready to give up his life in defense of his convictions.”

In Greek mythology the Shirt of Nessus refers to a poisonous shirt that killed Hercules.

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Jacob Dying

As Jacob drew near to death to join his ancestors, we will prepare to join our ancestors and return home (Gen 47.28-31; & Gen 15.15, 25.8)

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When Moses Was Too Humble

When Moses was too humble, the Source reminded him that “I will be with you” through deeds, words, and feelings. And so our energy reaches out to those yet to be born. (Ex 3.12)

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Study Replaces Sacrifice

Lev 6.2 (6.9) literally says “This is the Torah of the burnt offering” (not “this is the ritual of the burnt offering”). Torah is study, learning, and teaching. Therefore, study of the Torah (including study of sacrifice) is much more important than sacrifice itself.

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Holy Work

Let your work, whatever it is, always be holy work. (Ex 25.8-9)

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I Will Be What I Will Be

I will be what I will be (ehyeh asher ehyeh): the Source cannot be fully understood (Ex 3.14).

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Do What You Came Here to Do

In this world, do what you came here to do. That’s all there is to it. (Ex 38.22)

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Be Present

Wherever you go, be there (Ex. 24.12).

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Humans are Earth Beings

Humans are earth beings (Gen 2.7), created from millennia of terrestrial DNA. To connect with our bodies is to connect with our primal origins.

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Manna and the Wilderness

As we all wander for a while in the wilderness, we each receive the sustenance, the manna, we need (Ex 16.4ff).

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Parting of the Re(e)d Sea

The parting of the Re(e)d Sea: A little order in the midst of chaos (Ex 14).

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Torah is a Living Tree

Torah is a living tree (etz chayim), never staying the same, always changing and growing.

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