Chochmat Ha’Blog

chochmat halev

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 same age, and pretty scrappy. All but one of our families were working class...


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chochmat halev

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, this mentality teaches that our earliest ancestors and teachers were morally and spiritually superior...


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I will be that which I will be

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 overwhelming, nourishing and indulgent, delicious and dangerous. Eating one latke is good, having two...


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chochmat halev Hanukkah

The miracle of the ordinary

Shabbat Shalom Chaverim— Last Tuesday night, a great miracle happened in Alabama. But it was no miracle. It was the natural consequence of a group of ordinary people who exercised their civic duty, got out and voted their conscience. The word miracle is often used to mean a sign from...


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The spark that glitters under the clutter

The spark that glitters under the clutter

Shabbat Shalom Chaverim, This week’s Torah portion, VaYeshev (Genesis 37:1 – 40:23) introduces us to the Torah’s most famous dreamer, Joseph. His dreams portend greatness, disaster, salvation, trouble, and redemption. It is heartening (though a bit unsettling) that Jewish scripture—our canonized Holy Writ, our tome from on high—places such...


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Can the Deity of our subconscious be trusted?

Can the Deity of our subconscious be trusted?

Shabbat Shalom, Chaverim— This weekend will be a first for the Bay Area. On Sunday, December 3, Chochmat HaLev and Kehilla Community Synagogue are welcoming and hosting SVARA for a full day of Talmud study. Registration is maxed out for 100 folks, with 20 more on the waiting list....


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Holiness hides in the folds of human weakness

Holiness hides in the folds of human weakness

Shabbat Shalom Chaverim— I met a friend for a glass of wine after work recently.  We hadn’t seen each other in a while and after the preliminary niceties the conversation turned to matters closer to the bone.  Our talk wove in and out of teen depression, drug use, alcoholic...


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