Water From the Well: Rabbi’s Blog

Words of Torah by Rabba Kaya

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 »

Water from the well

Tisha B’Av

Posted on July 14, 2021

In preparation for Tisha B’Av which begins this Saturday night, I would like to share a compelling reflection on this observance written by Rabbi Ellen Bernstein (author of The Promise of the Land haggadah). See below. Please join me on Saturday night in our Court Street parking lot for Havdalah at 9:00 pm followed by the chanting of Eicha/Lamentations Continue Reading »

Water from the well

“All that you touch changes”

Parashat Hukkat
Posted on June 18, 2021

This week’s portion, Hukkat, deals with the mystery of death, the notion of impermanence, and the endless cycle of transformation. Our Torah portion opens with Parah Adumah– the Red Heifer ritual to purify those who have had contact with the dead, to transform their state from impure to pure again. One of the more mysterious Continue Reading »