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Reb David

Temple Beth-El Sanctuary

Kabbalat Shabbat with Rabbi David

Let’s celebrate Shabbat face-to-face and on zoom together. For those who are vaccinated and boosted (please bring proof or submit via email in advance), we will welcome Shabbat in the sanctuary, with R. David and Your Band by the Sea! Please wear a mask, and stay home if you don’t …

Soulspa: Torah Study

This year’s weekly Torah cycle with R. David will use ancient and modern midrash (stories growing from apparent “gaps” in Torah) to lift themes of morality, relationship and good living. Find the weekly Torah portion here: Free to all to participate. No registration required No experience necessary To join …

Humility and Justice (Shoftim)

Shoftim includes one of Torah’s most famous lines (and, to a Jewish judge, the most pivotal): צֶ֥דֶק צֶ֖דֶק תִּרְדֹּ֑ף לְמַ֤עַן תִּֽחְיֶה֙ (tzedek, tzedek tirdof) / “Justice, justice you must pursue, so you will live” (Deut. 16:20). While early tradition read this phrase as a call to honor court decisions (so we don’t take the law into our own hands), later generations read it philosophically, sensing in its repeat of the word צֶ֖דֶק (justice) two separate levels of justice – one human commended to our hands, another divine beyond human grasp.

Rebuke (Devarim)

The Book of Deuteronomy and this week’s portion (Devarim) open with Moses’ second telling of Israel’s journey. The name Deuteronomy hails from the Greek for “second law,” which begs why Moses repeats himself at all.

Holy Dos and Holy Don’ts (Kedoshim)

Kedoshim (“Holiness”). Its familiar callings are timeless. We must be holy “for I, YHVH your God, am holy” (Lev. 19:2), and love a neighbor as ourselves” (Lev. 19:18). As Rabbi Hillel famously said in Talmud (Shabbat 31a), the call to love others as ourselves – to love the holy Godspark within – is Torah’s very essence. So vital is this “Golden Rule” that we revisit it each Yom Kippur, as reminder and clarion call.

Be Different (Acharei Mot)

assover approaches, and this week’s Torah portion (Acharei Mot) recounts a long list of laws to follow that seemingly have nothing to do with Passover. What gives?

Shedding Our Skin (Metzora)

Perhaps no malady worried our purity-focused ancestors more than tzora’at – perhaps leprosy, or another skin disorder, or a hybrid spiritual-physical affliction. …

An Eternal Flame (Tzav)

This week’s second portion of Leviticus (Tzav) continues Torah’s journey through the ancient rituals of sacrifice – for guilt and sin, healing, love of God, and installation of priests. The instruction about the ritual altar offers deep wisdom about the soul and the nature of spiritual community.

The Purifying Power of Confession (Vayikra)

Before ritual prayer, ancient Israelites journeyed spiritually by ritual offerings of animals, grains and oil. For an agricultural society riding the Mediterranean cycle of rain and drought, these offerings were the currency of life itself.

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