When you make a vow to the LORD your God, do not put off fulfilling it, for the LORD your God will require it of you, and you will have incurred guilt; whereas you incur no guilt if you refrain from vowing. (Deut 23:22-23) We can distinguish three kinds of promises that we make: those […]

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It is not because of your virtues and your rectitude that you will be able to possess their country; but it is because of their wickedness that the LORD your God is dispossessing those nations before you, and in order to fulfill the oath that the LORD made to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. […]

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Who will hear my Shma?

When I was 12, I was taught at the history class at my primary school that some Polish surnames ending with ‘ski’ are associated with a noble heritage. Excited, I came back home to ask my parents whether we also came from a noble family. My dad sighed and asked me to sit down in […]

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SHABBAT DEVARIM

Continuity. This is the secret, the secret to so much. One needs Continuity. But how to achieve it? How can you ensure that each new employee, each new student, each new generation, can learn what has already happened and build upon it, rather than starting all over again each time? Not only that, but how […]

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The opening words of this week’s Torah portion may not seem like an extraordinary statement at first sight: “Moses spoke to the heads of the Israelite tribes, saying: This is what the [Eternal] has commanded…” (Numbers 30:2.) Next we find an explanation of the laws regarding making vows, after which we read about a military […]

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The Torah portion for this week, apart from laws and other stories, contains also the one about daughters of Tzelafchad petition Moses that they be granted the portion of the land belonging to their father, who died without sons. God accepts their claim and incorporates it into the Torah’s laws of inheritance. (Num 27:1-11) This […]

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The memory of the line of women from Wrocław waiting for the possibility to draw water from the well accompanies me as I read about the key role of Biblical women in supplying the people of Israel with water. In the Book of Genesis the first verses dedicated both to Rivka and to Rachel describe […]

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In this week’s Torah portion Shlach Lecha (Hebrew for: “Send for Yourself”) Moses sends twelve spies whose task is to gather information about the Land of Canaan. After they complete their spying mission they are supposed to go back to Moses and tell him that it is indeed a land flowing with milk and honey. […]

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Finding good leaders for our congregations is an ongoing challenge, one that exists whether you are in Alaska or New Zealand. This week’s portion offers us guidance in finding the right leaders, in the story of two very minor characters. I’ve never met a person with the Hebrew name Eldad or Medad. These figures rarely […]

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A Woman Accused | Parashat Naso

I am an avid reader. I enjoy most genres and love to get suggestions from my colleagues and friends. I will start a novel just because a trusted friend recommended it, without researching its topic or other reviews. I also enjoy rereading the classics. Occasionally, when rereading a story, an image or a plot twist […]

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