Devarim: Words With A View

 by Rebbetzin Malkah

As I drive around to various locations throughout my week, I am stunned and sometimes exasperated by some of the housing prices.  What drives some homes to be exceptionally more?  Location, location.  Want to live by a lake?  See the mountains?  Live in the perfect suburbia with everything you need?  No problem.  All you need to do is sign on the dotted line and hand over your salary - you can have it all.  As we begin Sefer Devarim, we are witnessing Moshe as the first real estate broker in action for Eretz Yisrael.

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Sukkot - Luxury Outdoor Accommodations

sukkotHCby Rebbetzin Malkah

When we think about taking a holiday, we imagine pristine beaches with white sand, blue water, blue skies.  Or perhaps it is that mountain vista with ice cold streams bubbling down river rock dotted beds, deer crossing the forest laden roads and the clean quiet. But how many of us imagine a hut topped with branches so we can see the stars, walls for protection from the wind and sun, and a chance to eat and sleep in the outdoors during one of the more unsettling times of the year?  Most of us probably don't conjure up such images in the autumn, but it is precisely at this time when we read Kohelet (Ecclesiastes), enter the outdoors, and contemplate our true purpose and the meaning of life:  outside the safety and comfort of our home.

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Mishpatim - You Shall Not Ignore It

By Rabbi Rafael

There’s never a dull moment around our house. As I’ve been preparing to write an article about the middah of awareness, my wife has found two stray ladybugs in our kitchen. She has made it her personal mission this Sunday to make sure they are fed and watered before she sends them off into the wild world. She has an acute awareness of so much around her. Even the little bugs in our home get her attention. At the same time, I’m considering a verse from Torah that teaches the principles of caring for our neighbor’s property and having a general concern for other.

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Va'eira - Life for Rent

By Rebbetzin Malkah

"I haven't ever really found a place that I call home,
I never stick around quite long enough to make it...

But if my life is for rent and I don't learn to buy
Well I deserve nothing more than I get
Because nothing I have is truly mine...

While my heart is a shield and I won't let it down
While I am so afraid to fail so I won't even try
Well how can I say I'm alive...
"           Dido from
Life for Rent

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Vayiggash - The Harvester and the Plower

by Rebbetzin Malkah

This week we witness a momentous reunion of two brothers, Joseph and Judah.  Judah boldly pleads for the life of Benjamin and the sake of his father's well-being. Through this event, we witness not only redemption and restoration for that moment in time, but a prophetic vision of the future for all Jewry through the traits and attributes of these two men.

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Bottled Up Kindness

by Rabbi Jason

'The kindnesses of the Lord I shall sing forever; to generation after generation I shall make known Your faithfulness, with my mouth. For I said, "Forever will it be built with kindness; as the heavens, with which You will establish Your faithfulness."' -- Psalms 89:2-3

The lessons of kindness coming from the scriptures are as boundless as the kindness Hashem used when He formed Creation. The midrash teaches us that the Torah begins with kindness (the clothing of Adam and Eve) and ends with kindness (the burial of Moses). It seems that chesed is a fundamental force of the universe.

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Bamidbar - An Empty Tank

torah bamidbar5771by Rebbetzin Malkah

"We like to continue to believe what we have been accustomed to accept as true, and the resentment aroused when doubt is cast upon any of our assumptions leads us to seek every manner of excuse for clinging to them.  The result is that most of our so-called reasoning consists in finding arguments for going on believing as we already do."    James Harvey Robinson, American historian (1863-1936)

A quote like the one above succinctly sums up the tone and the troubles of the Children of Israel throughout the book of Bamidbar.  The continuing struggle for a past reality, the misconception that all that there was and is now is all that will be, and the struggle to step forward in faith.  As we see all around the world, society is becoming disgruntled over the price of fuel.  Not one of us wants to pay more for the substance, but neither does anyone wish to run completely out of petrol on the highway or byway.  But perhaps the solution coming our way is quite contrary to what we might expect or desire.  Indeed, what we might need is to come to the verge of running out completely in order to spur on a true change and a new hope.  As B'nei Yisrael needed to enter the vast desert to run out all of their adverse ways, the future of transportation and our own lives is very much dependent on one thing for change:  an empty tank.

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