All You Need is Ahavah

“For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;  the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing has come…  Arise, my love!” Song of Songs, 2:11-12  In these weeks leading to Passover, the verses from Shir haShirim, the Song of Songs, perfectly capture the awakening of nature and human spirit after a… Read more »

Satirizing God

On the eve of Purim, let us digress from the prayer book to the Bible’s sex farce, the book of Esther. “A zany laugh-riot,” rave the critics. “A naughty evening of colorful costumes and off-color jokes.” “I laughed, I cried” say shul-goers. “It was better than Katz.”   How did this book make it into the… Read more »

Standing at the Burning Bush

א’להי אברהם א’להי יצחק וא’להי יעקב/ Elohei Avraham, Elohei Yitzhak v’Elohei Yaakov/“God of Abraham, God of Isaac and God of Jacob.”  Davening is immeasurably enhanced by knowing the Bible. So much of the Jewish prayer book is built from quotations or allusions the Tanakh. If you know the right passage and detect the reference, the experience of davening the words becomes so much stronger.   Imagine you’re an actor playing Hamlet,… Read more »

Ancestors and the Amidah

The central element of worship in any service is the Amidah, literally “the standing,” which the Sages simply called “prayer,” par excellence. All other elements of a morning service up until the Amidah – “dawn blessings,” “verses of song,” the ritual recitation of biblical passages in the Shema and blessings that accompany them – these… Read more »

Jewish Power and Morals

In the last week, the nation state of the Jewish people came to an extraordinary political crossroads that should terrify and repel everyone who, like me, continues to believe in Zionism and Judaism. As widely reported, in order to maximize the number of right-wing seats in the next Knesset (to be elected April 9), Prime… Read more »