D'var Torah B'haalot'cha - The Importance of Healthy Boundaries and understanding your own in this time

"When the cloud rose up from the tent, the children of Israel would then travel.Wherever the cloud settled, that is where the children of Israel would encamp.Thus the children of Israel would traveled by the word of God.They remained encamped so long as the cloud rested over the tabernacle"-Bamidbar(Numbers) 9:17-18

"The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say 'No' to almost anything"-Warren Buffet, Corporate Magnate and Philanthropist

We read within this week's parashah that we would not need to know where to go as Jews to build the Mishkan because God would produce a cloud or flame of fire every time we would camp to direct us where to go.During this intense time of our lives, it would be very good to have this cloud. It seems as though we have forgotten our boundaries with each other as human beings. We kind of just give our opinions give our opinions no matter at times how much we think t…

Living Buddha,Living Torah D'var Torah-Witnessing and responding to nonduality in my own life

This D'var Torah marks the beginning of an annual D'var Torah I will give around the Buddha's Birthday each year which fell this year on May 10th. This annual D'var will discuss the intersectionality of Judaism and Buddhism in my own life.

"Be still and know that I am God"-Psalms 46:10

"As heterodox as it may sound, I find very little difference in the was-is-will-be (YHVH) and "the way things are" that is the Buddhist Dharma."-Jay Michaelson, Zen and the Art of the Buju.The Jewish Daily Forward, November 8, 2013

I think I am a BuJu but I am not so sure yet.I have started to take on some Buddhist practice alongside my own Jewish practice . In converting I recognized I had a lot of ritual but was losing heart fast. I didn't want to become one of those converts who became Orthodox because all I see in Orthodox Judaism is a lot of judgment of others which doesn't speak to the Torah I experience in my own life. Recognizing a need for mor…

49 Days of Torah-Day 10 : The Torah of Pharoah

"And a New Pharoah arose over Egypt"-Exodus 1:8

We cannot read Torah without reading about Pharoah but who is Pharoah?The first Pharoah we actually read about in Torah is a pretty good person. They turn Joseph into their Prime Minister and all . Give the people Israel a place to stay. That Pharoah is so different than the next Pharoah  The new Pharoah is a rough, hard taskmaster yet we know from the narrative he is a relative of Moses. We never read in the Torah that Pharoah ever rejects Pharoah. I wonder personally if Pharoah represents more the struggle of assimilation when we as Jews become good benefactors of it like Joseph or enslaved to it like the Israelites of Moses' time.I think Pharoah is the question of how Jewish are you? and how much we as Jews get stuck on identity issues.This is Pharoah to me what is your pharaoh?

How do you struggle with the Pharoah of assimilation?

Today is day 10 of the omer,One week of the Omer

49 Days of Torah- Day 9:The Torah of Miriam

"And the woman dancing with their timbrels followed Miriam as she sang her song"-Exodus 15:20

Miriam ,Israel's first Prophetess . In Torah I love miriam sometimes much more so than Moses.Miriam is one shown not afraid to speak her mind or think for herself.I think of her as the water of the Jewish people -That which sustains the community through joy and wit. Her name has a lot in common with the Hebrew word for water (Mayim) I think there is a reason for that because she has and will always be suestance in the wilderness of our lives as Jews.

How does Miriam sustain you ?

Today is Day Nine of the Omer,One week of the Omer.

49 Days of Torah- Day 8:The Torah of Moses

"She named him Moses, and she said "For I drew him from the water"-Exodus 1:10

As much as the Torah is God's gift to all humanity from one human being is it traditionally thought we received it from that human being was Moses.Moses to me is a very perplexing figure I find I have more questions about his life than actual answers when I read Torah. In the first three books of Torah he is a humble leader but towards the end of the Torah, I find him holding barely or any hope for the Jewish people at all to the point the stuff he says sounds like verbal abuse. Despite all of these I still affirm as for the great Rabbi and Prophet of Prophets. He is a person who gave up all the glory of Egypt to not even see the land of promise he preached about. Though at times very sexist and very egotistical he still gave all Jews a vision of promise that gives us hope today. He gave us Torah.

What are your thoughts on the complexity of the character of Moses?

Today is day eight of the …

49 Days of Torah- Day 7:The Torah of Nakedness

"Cham the father of Caanan ,looked at his father's nakedness"-Genesis 9:22

Noah is found naked by one of his sons. Exposed fully for who he is. Sometimes we fear our bodies. Seeing ourselves naked but I think this is when we are closest to God hence the shame of finding Noah naked. To be naked is an intimate act. David rented his clothes and danced to God naked. In our nakedness we cannot deny who we are cover it up by makeup or clothes .We meet our truest self.When we are naked before God we surrender our lives to the Ultimate Truth we at times cover up by the lies we tell ourselves.

How do you stand naked before that Ultimate Reality?

Today is the seventh day of the Omer, Making one week of the Omer.

49 Days of Torah- Day 6:The Torah of the Flood

"The flood was on the Earth for forty days"-Genesis 7:17

In the flood story, we meet a wrathful God, not the one we know in our day which seems to have the defining qualities of compassion or more Naturalistic. No, this God distinguishes between those who are righteous and unrighteous. I am glad we don't have this idea of God in our day that we define God as compassionate or Natural Law.

How do you relate to the God of the flood?

Today is the sixth day of the Omer