Archive for category: Genesis

Bereshit (Genesis 1:1-6:8)

14 Jan
January 14, 2015

“In the beginning…” These words have captured the imagination of countless generations since the beginning of time. Imagine in ancient times as the family sat around a fire at night marveling at the miracle of creation and wondering at the remarkable vision they had of the millions of stars in the heavens and the multitude […]

Noah (Genesis 6:9-11:32)

07 Jan
January 7, 2015

One of the great scourges of the human psyche, is that most of us spend our lives comparing ourselves to others. As a child I remember everything I did was either “good” or “bad” in my own eyes, in relation to how the same thing was done by someone else. Take sports, for example. I […]

Bereshit 2 (Genesis 1:1-6:8)

28 Dec
December 28, 2014

Every culture, every religion, every civilization has its own “creation story.” Ever since there have been human beings on the earth, we have wrestled with the fundamental questions of life, struggled to come up with a compelling narrative that will explain adequately to ourselves and our children where the world itself came from and what […]

Noah 2 (Genesis 6:9-11:32)

21 Dec
December 21, 2014

I am writing this commentary after just returning home from serving as the Master of Ceremonies for the annual “Tree of Life’ award dinner of the Jewish National Fund on Los Angeles. It was a very impressive and moving evening, especially as it brought home that Israel is facing a terrible crisis at the moment […]

Vayishlakh2 (Genesis 32:4-36:43)

14 Dec
December 14, 2014

I have three sisters. Two older and one younger. My youngest sister, Debbie, was born when I was eight years old. In the months leading up to her birth I remember clearly the anxiety I felt over the possibility that it might turn out to be a boy, and I might end up with a […]

Vayekhi (Genesis 47:28-50:26)

07 Dec
December 7, 2014

A woman in our congregation whose son will soon be celebrating his Bar Mitzvah came to see me today with a heavy heart. She told me a sad but unfortunately all too familiar tale of enmity and anger, silence and deep-seated hurt between members of her immediate family. How her mother hasn’t spoken to her […]

Vayigash (Genesis 44:18-47:27)

01 Dec
December 1, 2014

When I was sixteen my family moved from Santa Monica to Sacramento. I had just finished my first year of high school and had been selected to play drums with the SAMOHI jazz band in the Hollywood Bowl (which I did the night before we moved). I was certainly not looking forward to leaving behind […]

Miketz (Genesis 41:1-44:17)

28 Nov
November 28, 2014

“All dreams follow the interpreter.” Talmud, Berakhot 55b Everyone has dreams. Some of us dream of heights we intend to scale, battles we intend to win, glories we intend to capture. Some of us dream of love, or riches, or fame, or the quenching of our deepest desires. Some dreams are vast, and deep, and […]

Vayeshev (Genesis 37:1-40:23)

21 Nov
November 21, 2014

There are moments when I suddenly glimpse the frightened, fragile child beneath the false bravado of an adult who has come to me for counseling, and my breaks with their pain and sadness. Indeed, there have been many moments when it seemed that the only response possible was to cry. This past week was one […]

Vayishlakh (Genesis 32:4-36:43)

14 Nov
November 14, 2014

Every morning when I wake up, the first thing that I do is offer a silent prayer of thanks for being alive. The traditional morning blessing (which I recite silently to myself in Hebrew while still lying in bed), says modeh ani lefanekha, melekh khai vekayam, she-he-khezarta bee nishmati bekhemla, rabba emunatekha – “I give […]

Vayetze2

07 Nov
November 7, 2014

Ever since September 11th, most people I know have had a hard time sleeping at night. I keep hearing stories over and over again from people of all ages about how hard it is to fall asleep in the first place and then about waking up at all hours of the night, about nightmares that […]

Vayetze (Genesis 28:10-32:3)

01 Nov
November 1, 2014

I remember how foolish I felt at first. There we were, my wife Didi and I, creeping around at midnight, quietly threading our way through low shrubs and overhanging trees where the beach met the foliage about twenty yards from the water. It was nearly pitch dark with only the light from the stars and […]

Toldot (Genesis 32:4-36:43)

28 Oct
October 28, 2014

I have three sisters. Two older and one younger. My youngest sister, Debbie, was born when I was eight years old. In the months leading up to her birth I remember clearly the anxiety I felt over the possibility that it might turn out to be a boy, and I might end up with a […]

Haye Sarah 2005 (Genesis 23:1-25:18)

21 Oct
October 21, 2014

One of the greatest blessings of being a rabbi is the privilege I so often have of being witness to the remarkable power of the human spirit. Being a rabbi, and particularly serving the unique community where I live and work given me the opportunity to be part of some of the most amazing collections […]

LekhLekha2 (Genesis 12:1-17:27)

21 Oct
October 21, 2014

I have often wondered, “Does a blessing have to be recognized as a blessing for it to count as a blessing?” Especially when I read this week’s Torah portion where we are introduced for the very first time to Abram and Sarah, the first Jewish family in history with the difficult challenge of finding out […]