Re'eh - Be Warm-Hearted and Openhanded

 by Rebbetzin Malkah

(this commentary was written in response to hurricane Katrina.)

As we continue through Devarim, we see the bulk of the commandments are revisited again in this week's Parashat R'eh.  The parasha begins by presenting the choice to follow the mitzvot and receive blessing.  If we should choose not to, we are left open to the negative consequences.  Given that the concept of blessing is presented to us first, there is no mistaking the way in which Hashem wishes us to be motivated. The Children of Yisrael have the incredible option to "have it all" and be the winners of a physically and spiritually rich land - all by simply adhering to the mitzvot laid out by Moshe.

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Behar - To Infinity and Back


by Rebbetzin Malkah

Infinity.  Philosophers, mathematicians, physicists and theologians have tried for centuries to wrap their minds around this idea.  Symbolically represented as  ?, the definition of infinity is "unboundedness", or something without end.  In Hebrew, it is called Ain Sof and has been the topic of many rabbinical discourses - all in reference to the Holy One.  What is it about infinity, or ain sof, that captivates us? And how is it that mathematicians are able to pull this symbol into equations of relevance?  How is it they and countless others harness this concept, dance with it, and return with something tangible? Whether we realize it or not, the Torah addresses this exact dance through Bris Milah, the Yoveil (Jubilee year), Shemini Atzeret, Chanukah, and the counting of the Omer into Shavuot.  Through these special times, we experience what humans have been driving towards since the dawn of time: a taste of the Divine as we slip into the intangible, sublime realm of infinity and back.

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Not by might, not by power

candle_lighting_kidsby Rebbetzin Malkah

"Not by might, nor by power, but through My spirit" - Zechariah 4:6, read on Shabbat Chanukah

There is no doubt that we, as women, have the ability to carry much and rest little.  Whether we have families, or care for those around us, we are constantly in motion.  Sometimes before we even realize where the day has gone, it is over. But how do we maintain the balance of giving light and being sure our cruise of oil doesn't run out?  As the darkness of the winter season comes upon us, it can be difficult to motivate ourselves, let alone feel cheery.  However, as bearers of the light of Mashiach, it is possible to dance like the flames of the candles and radiate light, as well as endure the challenges of our days beyond what we think is possible.

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Miketz - Amassing Grain Like The Sand of The Sea

By Rebbetzin Malkah

Ramban teaches us that Sefer Bereshis is really a book of symbols and allegory; it tells us not only what transpired in the past, but more importantly, it reveals that which will occur in the future. The poet William Blake says it well in this passage:

"To see a world in a grain of sand
And a Heaven in a wildflower;
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour....

But does a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of day."

Auguries of Innocence

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L'shana Tovah - What makes this year different?

We are wishing you a sweet and prosperous New Year 5771.  How are you going to make this year better than the next?  How will we all be a better light for Messiah this year?   I think we have an answer.   Our community has started a new project and all are invited to participate.  Let me introduce you to the practice of Mussar for the Messianic Jewish community.

The Hebrew term Mussar (??????), is from the book of Proverbs 1:2 meaning instruction, discipline, or conduct.  The Mussar movement was a Jewish ethical, educational and cultural movement that developed in 19th century Eastern Europe, particularly among Orthodox Lithuanian Jews.

A diligent study of Mussar (Jewish ethical practice) can bring new life into your days.  Our Mussar Master, Messiah Yeshua taught us how we should bring good fruit as a demonstration of our purposeful lives:

For a good tree does not produce rotten fruit, and a rotten tree does not produce good fruit.  For every tree is recognized by its fruit; for people do not gather figs from thorns or harvest grapes from a thorny bush. A good man, from the storehouse of his good heart, obtains what is good; a bad man, from the storehouse of his bad heart, obtains what is bad. For from the overflow of a man’s heart his mouth will speak. (Luke 6:43-45)

Let us sprout good fruit this year.  I welcome you to participate and be active in the Riverton Mussar project.

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Ki Tisa - The Hidden Thread of Salvation

by Rebbetzin Malkah

 

This week the theme of hiddeness has been ever before us as we have read the book of Esther, a book with no mention of G-d's name.  As we recount how our people nearly became subject to a plan of mass genocide, it would behoove us to peer behind the curtain of history and see the thread of salvation that has been ever present throughout time.  Along this thread have been individuals, who by no other reason except divine purpose and not coincidence, have been set before our people to be raised up during a time of need.

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Mikeitz - The Hidden World Within

by Rebbetzin Malkah

"I was not looking for my dreams to interpret my life, but for my life to interpret my dreams."  - Susan Sontag

During this time of the year all over the upper Northern Hemisphere, everything is hidden. A shell of white encases much of this part of the world, forcing it to rest and wait, until days of verdant spring force the snows to disappear and reveal the earth's potential.  In this week's parasha, the snows of Yosef's life are starting to melt away and reveal his future.  It is in guiding Mitzrayim through its national crisis that he begins to see the true meaning in the dreams of his youth.  The events unfolding around him begin to actively interpret his dreams as his brothers arrive in Mitzrayim and stand before him in search of relief from famine.  It is by interpretation through living, and not the reverse, that dreams show their true purpose: they are hidden keys in our lives that lie dormant, beckoning gently for us to walk forward, revealing our destinies at the proper time.

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