Heavy Heart in Hand (Beyond 21)

A story is the easiest, and, I hope, clearest, way for me to convey this thought to open the week of Netzach [“eternity,” also leadership] in the omer journey away from oppression. (apologies for length) At this morning’s worship service, Temple Micah‘s Rabbi Zemel pointed participants’ attention to the following note, a kavanah [focusing intention] […]

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Heel-dom: gods of comfort and power

“Every 28 hours across America a black person is killed by security guard, police officer or some other executive of the state,” Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson said on the recent “Face the Nation,” adding that President Obama needs to use his “unique position” to explain the rage emanating from Ferguson, MO: [Obama needs […]

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Collecting Feedback

First, a note about the password-protected post which appeared earlier tonight: That post is a survey for participants in Temple Micah’s Siddur Study Group seeking preferences for future studies. My apologies to subscribers and other readers who are not in that group for annoying you with something irrelevant. However, a number of recent posts here […]

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“Goodbye,” Part 1

Pre-script: The 30 days of National Blog Posting Month are coming to a close, and Temple Micah‘s Siddur Study group is studying the closing blessings of the Amidah [standing] prayer. So a few (OK, quite a few) words on the first of Avodah [worship] blessing. (The version in Mishkan T’filah happens to consist of 30 […]

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Sanctifying the Day

The Torah did not tell a Jew to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem on Shabbat [as on festivals]. There is no need. On Shabbat the Shekhina [Presence] knocks on the door. All we have to do is let Her in. — comment on the “Sanctification of the Day” blessing** Koren Mesorat HaRav Siddur, p.520 **On […]

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“Iyun Tefilah”: Deeper in Prayer

For years, I’ve been looking at the expression “iyun tefilah,” as in the famous passage from Shabbat 127a, where it is translated as “contemplation [or “meditation,” maybe “devotion”] in prayer.” Mishkan T’filah includes this phrase in the morning study passage, a kind of mash-up of Peah 1:1. and Shabbat 127a. (See pp.206-207 in Mishkan T’filah […]

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“You set the patterns of the moon”

El Adon and Another Pinchas Addendum … (5) Glory and honor they give to You glowing praises to Your rule You call to the sun and it gives forth light You set the patterns of the moon (6) You are honored throughout the heavens with songs of glory and praise [the Seraphim, Ophanim and holy […]

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Robe, River, and Bond in Morning Prayer

Wrapping The early morning section of a Jewish prayer book focuses — with some variety in content and order (see below) — on wraps: God is robed in majesty (Psalms 104:1-2). Jews are wrapped in fringes (blessing for wearing a tallit [prayer shawl]). Humans take refuge in the shadow of divine wings (Psalms 36:8-11). The […]

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Vayeitzei: Something to Notice

In this portion, Bilhah, maid to Rachel, bears Dan and Naphtali, while Zilpah, maid to Leah, bears Gad and Asher. As when Sarah arranged for Abraham to father a child with her maid Hagar (Genesis/Breishit 16:2), the product of such a union was considered a child of the master-woman/wife rather than of the maid who […]

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Shelach: Something to Notice

Bamidbar/Numbers 15:37-41 is found in most prayerbooks at the third paragraph of Torah study after the Shema: …Speak to the Israelite people and instruct them to make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments through the ages; let them attach a chord of blue to the fringe at each corner….” It is interesting […]

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