Water From the Well: Rabbi’s Blog

Words of Torah by Rabba Kaya

Water from the well

From Freedom to Revelation

Parashat Emor
Posted on May 7, 2023

Dear friends, Four weeks ago, we celebrated the holiday of Pesach, our Festival of Freedom. Around our tables we enacted the historic journey of the Israelites out of slavery. Perhaps we liberated ourselves a little bit more from the ways we may enslave ourselves through unconscious habitual devotion to repetitive patterns in our lives. To Continue Reading »

Water from the well

Seeking Balance: A D’var Torah for Parashat Tazria/Metzora

Parashat Tazria/Metzora
Posted on April 23, 2023

Dear friends, The section of Torah we are reading this week deals with a variety of powerful moments in life when it may be necessary to separate oneself from communal life and then, after a period of time, return to community connection. It calls for periods of separation and seclusion during the delicate period just Continue Reading »

The Sound of Silence

Parashat Vayikra
Posted on March 24, 2023

Dear friends, This Shabbat we begin reading the book of Vayikra/Leviticus which opens with the word Vayikra which means, “God called out.” The verse begins: God called out to Moses and then spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting. (Lev.1:1) We note two odd things about this phrase. First, that in almost every other place where God speaks to Moses, Continue Reading »

Rabba Kaya Stern-Kaufman

After Swastikas – Building Sacred Space

Parashat Terumah
Posted on February 24, 2023

Dear friends, Clearly what is on all our minds is the attack we experienced on our sacred space this week. It was shocking, painful and even disorienting. But the timing, according to our Jewish calendar, was actually quite remarkable. This attack took place during the week of parashat Terumah, that is, the week in which we Continue Reading »

Rabba Kaya Stern-Kaufman

Wisdom from Strangers

Parashat Yitro
Posted on February 12, 2023

Dear friends, Listen, Sh’ma!  Our Torah portion begins with Yitro, Moses’ father-in-law, who listens and hears. Jethro, Priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, heard all that God had done for Moses and for Israel His people, how the Lord had brought Israel out from Egypt. (Ex. 18:1) He hears of the Exodus, of the wonders that God performed Continue Reading »

Water from the Well: Tefillah

Parashat Shemot
Posted on January 12, 2023

Dear Friends, As we move into a new secular year, we turn the page into a new book of Torah this week. The book of Exodus/Shemot takes us on a journey from degradation to liberation, from servitude to sacred service. It is a transformational story that begins with pain and suffering, but whose generational patterns Continue Reading »

hanukkah doughnuts menorah

A Bridge of Light – A Chanukah Message

Posted on December 16, 2022

The root of the word Chanukah, Chet-Nun-Khaf (ח–נ–כ), means dedication, but the root of this root is Chen, Grace (חן). The light we celebrate at Chanukah expresses grace in two ways. First, there is the miracle of the light that lasted for eight days, that is, the gift of grace by God that allowed the Continue Reading »

2 people embrace collage

Our True Inheritance

Parashat Vayishlach
Posted on December 9, 2022

It’s a story as old as time. Two brothers, one inheritance. How many times have I sat with either sibling, both aggrieved, suffering and angry over the settlement of the parents’ estate. How often have I heard the voice that claims, it was unjust! I was denied my due. I was cheated by my sibling. Continue Reading »

water drop

Seeking Kindness

Parashat Chayei Sarah
Posted on November 18, 2022

This week’s Torah portion opens just after the trauma of the Akeida, that is, the binding of Isaac on the altar by his father Abraham. It is very difficult to imagine the effect of such an experience upon Isaac who, while tied down upon an altar, watches his father lift the knife above him. Of Continue Reading »

Love fear choice

The Ground of Choice

Parashat Ki Tavo
Posted on September 16, 2022

In this week’s Torah portion, Ki Tavo, we are witness to a grand ritual; a dramatization depicting the landscape of choices within which we all reside at all times.  One half of the Israelite tribes are told to stand on Mt. Gerizim while the other half of the tribes are to stand on Mt. Ebal. Continue Reading »