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Chanukah: The Dreidel

November 27, 2021 – 7:49 pm | 33 views

The dreidel for Chanukah and the gragger (Ra’ashan) for Purim have the exact same structure, have you ever noticed? Both have a round bulb from which a stem protrudes. The difference is that the dreidel’s stem protrudes from the top of the dreidel and points upward, the gragger’s stem protrudes …

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Vayeshev: Jewish Survival

November 20, 2021 – 8:39 pm |
jewish-survival

What is the secret that has enabled the Jewish survival over two thousand years of our diaspora?

Two weeks ago, we read about Jacob’s sojourn in his uncle Laban’s home. Last week we read about Jacob’s harrowing return journey home. Among many other challenges, he encountered his brother Esau, and they made peace. We concluded the reading by describing the many chieftains in Esau’s powerful clan.

This week we read about Jacob settling down in Israel. The reading begins with the words, “And Jacob settled in the land where his father resided, in the land of Canaan.” The Torah then shifts immediately to Joseph’s life journey. First his squabbles with his brothers, then being sold to the Egyptians, and finally his imprisonment in Egypt for a crime he did not commit. Read the full story »

Vayishlach: Geed Hanasheh—Sciatic Nerve

November 13, 2021 – 10:30 pm |
geed-hanasheh-innerstream.ca

Geed hanasheh is the sciatic nerve, a sinew in the hip that Jews are forbidden to eat. Many know that kosher meat must be slaughtered and salted. Not many know about neekur, the intricate process that entails the removal of the animal’s forbidden parts, including the geed hanasheh. In fact, …

Vayetze: Find Our Calling

November 6, 2021 – 8:27 pm |
find-our-calling-innerstream.ca

To find our calling is the hallmark of life. Life isn’t a generic formula that can be applied to everyone equally. Each life is unique; each life story is highly individual. As children, we live with our parents and family, but as we grow and mature, we venture forth and …

Toldot: Rebirth

November 2, 2021 – 10:03 am |
rebirth-innerstream.ca

Rebirth means to reexperience the novelty, excitement, innocence, mystery, and magic of birth even after many years of life. A baby’s birth, such as that of Jacob and Esau described in this week’s Torah portion, is a majestic moment. Everyone present is enchanted by the miracle; the creation of something …

Chayei Sarah: The White Beard

October 23, 2021 – 11:31 pm |
beard-innerstream.ca

 
The white beard and old age seem to go together. It is not surprising that they share the same cognate in Hebrew; a beard is zakan and old age is zaken. The Torah tells us that Abraham became zaken. Our sages combined the two meanings by saying that until that …

Vayera: Too Perfect?

October 16, 2021 – 9:48 pm |
perfect-innerstream.ca

Is “too perfect” a thing? Have you ever worried about being too perfect? Most of us worry that we aren’t perfect enough. But I know of at least one person who worried about being too perfect. Our collective grandfather, Abraham.
The Torah tells us that Abraham recovered from his circumcision in …

Lech Lecha: Anything You Want To Be

October 6, 2021 – 8:17 pm |
anything-you-want-to-be-innerstream.ca

“Anything you want to be,” is a phrase parents often say to their children. You don’t need to accept any limitations; they are all artificial. If you put your mind to it, you can be anything you want to be.
Sometimes children misunderstand and think that they can snap their fingers …

Noach: Ignoring Others

October 2, 2021 – 11:08 pm |
agasint-all-odds-innerstream.ca

Ignoring others is something we do when we become overly engrossed in ourselves. It often happens when we experience distress and difficulty. We revert inwardly, shrink into ourselves, become self absorbed. We aren’t intentionally ignoring others; we are just too focused on ourselves to let others in.
The truth is that …

Bereshit: No More No Less

September 29, 2021 – 9:47 pm |
no more no less

No more no less, is an aphorism that implies that you are doing just fine. There is no need to adjust. You are on the right path, headed in the right direction, and at the right speed. You don’t need to do more than you are already doing, and you …