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Creating a Spectacular Mishkan
February 19, 2019

Creating a Spectacular Mishkan

Shabbat Shalom, Chaverim— Fair warning: this is going to be a Biblically-inspired pitch! Following another long description of what will be needed to create a spectacular mishkan, or community ritual space, this week’s Torah portion,...


Make for Me a Sacred Place
February 06, 2019

Make for Me a Sacred Place

Terumah 2019 I dedicate this Musing to the memory of our friend, teacher, and Chochmat HaLev member, Shaykh Dr. Ibrahim Baba Farajeje Shalom Chaverim— Julie and I just are back from a whirlwind trip to...


Where is our strength hiding?
January 16, 2019

Where is our strength hiding?

Shalom Chaverim— This week’s Torah portion, Beshallach (Exodus 13:17-17:16) includes perhaps the most well known and dramatic moments of all biblical narratives—the parting of the Sea of Reeds. The moment is supremely anxious: the fleeing...


Delicious and devastating life on Earth
January 09, 2019

Delicious and devastating life on Earth

Shalom Chaverim— This week’s parasha, Bo (Exodus 10:10-13:16), closes out the famous Ten Plagues episode, which leads us to the liberation of the Israelites from slavery. The final plague, “Death of the Egyptians’ Firstborn,” saturates...


Lost from our own hearts
January 02, 2019

Lost from our own hearts

Shalom, Chaverim— We are in plague-land, my friends. Parashat Va’eira (Exodus 6:2-9:35) focuses almost exclusively on the first seven of the ten plagues: Blood, Frogs, Lice, Wild Animals, Cattle Disease, Boils, and Hail. The text...


Elevated responses to conflict: a parable on healing
December 13, 2018

Elevated responses to conflict: a parable on healing

Shalom Friends, This week’s parasha, Vayigash (Genesis 44:18 - 47:27), brings the Joseph story to an emotional climax. To recap: Joseph, the beloved older son of the ill-fated Rachel, was despised by his jealous half-brothers—...


November 16, 2018

Everything cocooned must transform and emerge.

Shabbat Shalom Chaverim— This week’s Torah portion, Va’yeitzei (Genesis 28:10-32:3), follows Jacob on his journey away from home and hearth, and into his life as an independent adult. On the first night, he finds himself...


We Want to Know Why
November 01, 2018

We Want to Know Why

“And the life of Sarah was a hundred and seven and twenty years: these were the years of Sarah’s life. And Sarah died in the-city-of-four-corners, also called Hebron, in the land of Canaan and Abraham...


The fullness of your story
August 03, 2018

The fullness of your story

Julie and I are recently back from two weeks of vacation in the utterly glorious, sparsely populated, traffic free, and fecund Salt Spring Island, BC. Being away from our daily grind—relaxed and virtually stress free—we...


Fallen down with eyes wide open
June 29, 2018

Fallen down with eyes wide open

Maggid’s Musing  Balak  Numbers 22:2 - 25:9  2018 Shabbat Shalom, Chaverim— It is amazing to me that though we read the same, exact, words every year from the same, exact section of the Torah in...


chochmat halev
April 20, 2018

The wholeness of the wounded

Shabbat Shalom Chaverim— This week we have a double portion: Tazria-Metzora (Leviticus 12:1 - 15:33).  And what a doozy it is!!  It has to do with the impact of skin diseases, contaminated clothing, leprous houses...


The irreparable Temple where Divine Presence dwells
March 09, 2018

The irreparable Temple where Divine Presence dwells

Shabbat Shalom, Chaverim— The feature story on the front page of this week’s Sunday New York Times was a wrenchingly beautiful and agonizing piece by Benjamin Weiser called “Nakesha’s Demons.” Mr. Weiser chronicles the descent...


Holy Haute Couture
February 23, 2018

Holy Haute Couture

Shabbat Shalom, Chaverim— This week’s Torah portion, Tetzaveh (Exodus 27:20 - 30:10), comes just in time for the closing ceremonies of the Olympics. As the bespangled, multi-colored, wildly tailored uniforms announce to the world the...


hearts that are moved
February 16, 2018

hearts that are moved

Shabbat Shalom, Chaverim— This week’s Torah portion, Terumah (Exodus 25:1-27:19) contains one of Judaism’s most consistent and widespread practices. It is something that every branch and leaf of organizational Judaism shares, evolves, and tries to...


When God meets us halfway
February 01, 2018

When God meets us halfway

Shabbat Shalom Chaverim, One of the less savory fixations in Jewish culture is the notion that there is an “authentic” Jewish life, practice, or knowledge. The dominant attitude has been that anyone wearing a black...


chochmat halev
January 19, 2018

Mature justice

Shabbat Shalom Chaverim— When I was a child I lived in an apartment on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. I was part of a semi-feral bevy of beach-rat kids. We were mostly boys, all about the...


chochmat halev
January 12, 2018

The friction between Spirit and Religion

Shabbat Shalom, Chaverim— There are two conflicting rabbinic concepts that pit the authority of the earliest generations against the wisdom of the most recent. The first, Yeridat Ha-dorot, means the descending of the generations. Basically,...


I will be that which I will be
January 04, 2018

I will be that which I will be

Shabbat Shalom Chaverim— This week’s parasha, Shemot (Exodus 1:1-6:1) is so rich it feels like a holdover of the holiday meals I enjoyed since I last wrote. Being faced with abundance is both satisfying and...