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This week's parsha
Unless otherwise noted, "This week's Parsha" comprises articles taken from contributors to the website.  We show the original author's name here, so that proper attribution is given.  For the sake of brevity, footnotes cited in the original author's writings are omitted from this website.  If you need to see the citations, please refer to the original articles on the website.

Sing, My Children, Sing! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Levi Avtzon   
Monday, 02 September 2013 16:07
According to a popular saying, every major Jewish experience is somehow connected to food.  If I may add, where there is food, there is song...  Thus, every Jewish experience is full of song.

From the High Holiday cantorial pieces to the zemirot sung at the Shabbat table, from the teary-eyed chupah music to the energetic dancing music that follows, from the Mah Nishtanah at the Passover Seder to nighttime lullabies, the Jewish year is indeed a musical one.

Why is song such a major player in the Jewish arena?
The Goers PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mordechai Wollenberg   
Tuesday, 27 August 2013 00:12

This week's Torah portion, Vayeilech, describes the last days of Moses' life.  The title of each Torah portion highlights an important concept which is taught in that particular portion.  Vayeilech literally means 'and Moses went' from the root of the word Halicha, meaning 'going' in Hebrew.

'Halicha' also means the idea of being on the move, of not being stagnant.  By subjecting ourselves to an honest reckoning, using this time for introspection and self-assessment and drawing the necessary conclusions, we are able to move on and to grow as people, rather than remaining stuck where we are.  We have the capability to 'go', to reach very high moral and spiritual levels.  We cannot remain standing still, we must be 'goers,' movers and shakers, people who grow, who make a difference to what is going on.

When Bad is Good PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rochel Holzkenner   
Tuesday, 20 August 2013 00:45

There is a famous Chassidic story that goes as follows:

Young Dov Ber was the son of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the saintly author of the Tanya. It was Shabbat and Dov Ber stood quietly in the synagogue to hear the reading of the Torah portion of Ki Tavo. Usually it was his father, the Rebbe, who read from the Torah, but this week his father was away and the Torah was read by someone else. Suddenly Dov Ber began to cry. The words being read were harsh. They spoke of punishments and tragedy. Dov Ber could not contain himself and continued to weep long after the reading was complete. In fact, he was so distraught that he became ill and the doctors were not sure that he would be able to fast on Yom Kippur a few weeks later. The synagogue members were confused by his reaction. "Dov Ber, you hear these words being read every year. Why only this year did you react so severely?" Dov Ber responded, "When Father reads, I don't hear curses."

What did he hear if not harsh words? He read from the same Torah, and sang the same verses in the same cantorial tune. But Dov Ber could pick up the subtleties in his father's voice that were inaudible to the common ear. The young boy – who would grow up to be a great Rebbe in his own right – perceived these predictions of misfortune to be words of blessing.

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