Water From the Well: Rabbi’s Blog

Words of Torah by Rabba Kaya

sanctity of life sheep & goat

The Sanctity of All Life

Parashat Acharei Mot
Posted on May 2, 2022

In this week’s Torah portion we are presented with the rules around eating meat and the proper slaughter of animals for food or for sacrifice. The Eternal One spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelite people and say to them: This is what the Eternal One has commanded: if Continue Reading »

Opening Doors

Shabbat Hagadol
Posted on April 8, 2022

The Shabbat before Passover is given a special name: Shabbat Hagadol, the great Shabbat. One explanation for this special name is that it is lifted from a verse we read in the special haftarah for this Shabbat which directly precedes Passover. הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי שֹׁלֵחַ לָכֶם אֵת אֵלִיָּה הַנָּבִיא לִפְנֵי בּוֹא יוֹם יְהֹוָה הַגָּדוֹל וְהַנּוֹרָא׃ Hinei Continue Reading »

ark top with cherubim

A Tabernacle in the Wilderness

Parashat Terumah
Posted on February 3, 2022

Dear friends, This past week I lost a dear cousin of mine, Paula Shtrum, a year after the death of her beloved husband, Haim. In composing her eulogy, I found great comfort in this week’s Torah portion. I offer the following remembrance with gratitude for Paula’s precious life and in celebration of all those who Continue Reading »

light shining through trees

Hineini, Showing Up for Love

Parashat Sh'mot
Posted on December 28, 2021

We are standing on the hinge of a new year as we open a new book of Torah. Exodus begins with the naming of all those individuals who descended into Egypt, and then makes the famous statement that sets up the entire Exodus narrative  וַיָּקָם מֶלֶךְ־חָדָשׁ עַל־מִצְרָיִם אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יָדַע אֶת־יוֹסֵף: And there arose a new Continue Reading »

It Takes Two

Parashat Vayigash
Posted on December 28, 2021

Dedicated to Nelson Mandela, who passed from this world on 3 Tevet (December 5, 2013). Like Joseph, who spent 20 years imprisoned in Egypt, Nelson Mandela spent a total of 27 years in prison. Like Joseph, after his release from prison, Mandela was raised up from the lowest place in society to the highest, becoming Continue Reading »

parashat hayei sarah jug of water pouring water

Waters of Kindness

Hayyei Sarah
Posted on October 29, 2021

Our portion begins just after the story of the binding of Isaac. Several Rabbinic misdrashim relate a direct connection between these two events. Rashi sums it up this way (on Gen. 23:2): The death of Sarah is narrated directly after the Akeidah, because through the tidings of the Akeidah, that her son had been made Continue Reading »

winding road

Carrying the Name of God

Parashat Lekh L'kha
Posted on October 15, 2021

Who was Abraham and why was he chosen to be the founder of the Jewish people? We first learn of him, with his original name – Avram, at the very end of the story of Noah and the flood. He is a descendant of Shem, one of the three sons of Noah. At the beginning Continue Reading »

In the Beginning

Parashat Breishit
Posted on October 1, 2021

In The Beginning In the Beginning of the creating of all Creation, when the One that was ALL, drew into Oneself, Two realms emerged, and there was Heaven and there was Earth. And Earth was awash in unformed chaos, and darkness lay over the depths- then- Divine Spirit-Wind danced over the Waters and the One Continue Reading »

fingers make a heart

Instruments of Love

Shabbat Shuva
Posted on September 10, 2021

  This year we have a profound confluence of calendar events. This Shabbat, known as Shabbat Shuva, falls on September 11. Shabbat Shuva is the Sabbath dedicated to the theme of repentance, as it comes between the holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Shuva means “to return.” The period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Continue Reading »

clasped hands

From Grief to Joy

Tu b'Av: A Tikkun* for Tisha B'Av
Posted on July 26, 2021

This Shabbat is special for many reasons. It is Tu b’Av, a lesser-known Jewish holiday that celebrates love. Traditionally, it was a day for betrothals. In modern times, weddings are often performed on this day, the first full moon after the Tisha b’Av. It is also a special Shabbat in the calendar called Shabbat Nachamu, Continue Reading »