Just this morning, I boarded an Amtrak train, something I do with a fair amount of regularity. The large, man-made machine sped along, moving me laterally toward my intended destination.
I disembarked the Amtrak train and hauled my luggage to an elevator, another feat of engineering that many of us ride without a second thought. The metal box sprung into action, vertically lifting me up toward another destination.
My feet carried me along, then an escalator methodically brought me back downstairs, only to board another train, another escalator, and another set of stairs. Up...Read More
Going on a trip this summer? Here are three actions to take if you or else someone you know is traveling.Texting
Being part of a rabbi’s family, we’ve quickly learned that “here today, gone tomorrow” can happen to anyone, anytime, and so our family has started a tradition. When one of us is getting on an airplane, the last thing we do before taking off is to text the other members of the immediate family to say, “Taking off, I love you.” Because life is so full of randomness and unexpectedness, we take comfort in always sharing words of love when we depart each other’s company....Read More
Moses gets God's help The people suffer God's wrath The difference? One word. This week's portion is full of complaints. The people complain, "If only we had meat to eat!" (Numbers 11:4). Moses complains, "I cannot carry all this people by myself ... If You would deal thus with me, kill me, I beg You." (Num 11:14-15). Miriam and Aaron complain about Moses, "He married a Cushite woman!" (Num 12:1). The haiku considers the difference God's reactions to complaints from the people and from Moses. We'll leave Miriam and Aaron for another day. God gives the people the... Read More
We learn many things from our parents: how to eat properly, how to brush our teeth, and, I hope, how to greet strangers. Others we learn through observation: how to love, how to care, and even how to mourn.
Jewish tradition speaks at length about parents’ and elders’ obligations toward children and the young. The Talmud, for example, instructs parents to teach their children Torah, in essence, by modeling proper values. The ancient rabbis expound upon this obligation, adding that parents must teach their children a trade and, according to some, also to swim.
In fact,...Read More
Matti Friedman was conscripted into the Israeli Defense Forces at 20, along with 19 other young recruits, and sent to a border outpost in Lebanon called Pumpkin Hill, which he describes as “a forgotten little corner of a forgotten little war.” Israeli casualties of Hezbollah guerilla attacks were code-named “flowers,” hence the title of his new book, Pumpkinflowers A Soldier’s Story (Algonquin Books, 2016).
Friedman provides us not only a superb memoir of his experiences in a...Read More