Episode 13: Terumah: God's Sanctuary

Today in our modern times we as Jews don’t have one Mishkan we have synagogues and we worship God not just in the Tabernacle but wherever we might be. And where we are located can have a significant effect on the spirituality we feel in that moment. Designing a prayer space is a sacred task to be done with great care. And so too must we take care to use that sacred space to nurture our personal and communal connections with God.

Episode 12: Mishpatim: Why Doesn't God Abolish slavery

Change is possible in human nature, but it takes time, maybe even a long time. We know now that slavery is morally wrong.
Part of our relationship with God is that God does not force us to change faster than we are able to do of our own free will. This week’s Torah does not abolish slavery, but it does set in motion a series of fundamental laws that will lead people, to abolish it of their own accord.

Episode 10: The 10th Commandment is the Key to Happiness

This week’s Torah portion is Yitro and this is the Torah portion where we finally get the 10 commandments. 
Let’s focus on number 10 Thou shall not covet..Anything that is your neighbor’s. In other words do not be envious of anything from your neighbor’s house. 
This is my favorite commandment because I believe this commandment is the key to happiness
Exodus 18:1–20:23.

Envy is the desire to have something belonging to someone else. This is an emotion, that brings out jealousy, resentment, bitterness the old green-eyed monster and makes people unhappy.

Why should we want something just because others have it. The remedy for envy is gratitude. If we remember to define ourselves in our relationship to God and not define ourselves in relation to others we will be happy and grateful.

Every morning we have built into our practice the Jewish blessing Modah ani Lefaneka...Thank you God. The prayer goes on to say thank you god for restoring my soul in me, You God are awesome. Taking on this daily practices has reminded me to be grateful for all that I have in the world and for all that God has given me.

Episode 4: Shemot: Civil Disobedience and the Path to Redemption

This week we begin the book of exodus in the Torah Portion Shemot (Exodus 1:1–6:1). The Israelites are slaves and we follow them from slavery to freedom and then redemption. 
As we begin this journey through Exodus, Let us consider the midwives Shifrah and Puah The process of redemption does not begin with divine intervention, but with the first recorded act of non-violent civil disobedience. 
The Torah says that a King arose that did not know Joseph. This Pharoh did not like the increasing number of Israelites. He ordered the midwives, Shifrah and Puah to kill the Israelite male babies as they were born. Midwives did not comply. Their act of civil disobedience makes it possible for the next act and then another and then finally freedom and then redemption

Episode 3: Shemot and the Ordinary Burning Bush

Hello, and welcome to another Minute lessons from the Torah. This week we begin the book of Exodus with the Parsha Shemot (Exodus 1:1–6:1). The Israelites are now slaves in Egypt. Our hero Moses is now a criminal and living as a shepherd. One day he takes his sheep into the wilderness and he sees a bush all aflame, yet the bush was not consumed. Mose turned to investigate this amazing site and when God saw that Moses turned to look, God said. Dude!! Take your shoes off your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy ground.

One of my teachers told me that we have a Midrash, an ancient story, that tells us that the bush was burning for a long time and it was well known to the local people and many came to see this cool attraction. But what set Moses apart from everyone else was that the bush didn’t merely catch his eye, it was something he realized must be investigated. He was inspired by what he saw, and he left the path he was on, to investigate.
Moses was willing to step out of his comfort zone, to look into something that could provide him with more meaning. Only after God saw that Moses turned off his regular path to investigate, did God call out to him, and Moses replies hineni, here I am. 
How many times have we missed out on the extraordinary awe of God because we thought it was an ordinary burning bush