Va'etchannan 5768 - How to Stay in the Raft

By Rebbetzin Malkah

"You shall love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul and all your might.  Take to heart these instructions with which I charge you this day.  Impress them upon your children.  Recite them when you stay at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up."  Devarim 5-7

A lovely week in the Gorge area in Oregon - peaceful farmhouse, ten acres, blackberry picking, a milky-way filled sky sound tracked by crickets.  Idyllic by all standards for a family vacation except for the river-rafting scheduled for the middle of the week.  Class III-IV rapids complete with website pictures chalked up a guaranteed morning of anxiety for two parents ahead of the rafting.  The word "might" would have a new meaning by the end of the day as we would seek to stay in the raft on the path of the river.  By the same measure, Moshe's prescription for going down the river of life would provoke many of the same feelings of fear and apprehension in the Children of Israel as they would embark on their new life.  However, it is that yirah, fear or awe, that would be pivotal in not only helping them but also our family as well from floating down the river outside of the raft.

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Kedoshim 5768 - Hitching Mount Sinai to Your Car

by Rebbetzin Malkah

"On many paths, I have walked,
To search for truth.
I did not hesitate to feast on the delicacy of sin.
We did not find ourselves, the lies have no more taste.
This culture is not for us, for there is fire in our hearts.
For I am the smallest and lowest of all, standing here trembling and amazed....
For You are holy,
And Your name is holy,
Holy ones praise You all day,  Amen."  

"Atah Kadosh" by Adi Ran

Countless expeditions have been made around the Sinai Wilderness, searching for and claiming the mountain that is Sinai.  But even if we find it and we climb the rocks, rest ourselves on it and contemplate its meaning, will it really matter?  Will it stir up some special emotion and fill us with overwhelming holiness and motivation?  Will we feel the quake under our feet as it quaked so long ago when the Torah was imparted to our people?  Probably not.  And even if it did, the sensation would only last for a while.  Instead, we need to realize that, regardless of where Mount Sinai truly is in the wilderness, we need to hitch up the essence of the Mount Sinai experience and drive it around daily.  What is that essence?  Holiness.

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Shelach - A Series of Unfortunate Events


 by Rebbetzin Malkah

Parasha Shelach presents us with a series of unfortunate events that send forth the Children of Israel into a place of no return. The mission to send the spies not only brings about dissension among the leaders, but also brings Israel to a critical junction in her journey.  As their decision ultimately seals their fate and sets them on a path of wandering and regret, the message of this parasha resounds loudly for us today.  We too stand at similar crossroads that will determine our own destiny and the destiny of our children.  We have the choice to press forward into a deeper Torah observant walk and reap the fruitful benefits of connecting with our people in the greater community, or to remain isolated and an entity unto ourselves.

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Ki Tisa 5766 - 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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Mishpatim 5767 - The Great Leveler

 by Rebbetzin Malkah

I found myself having to do it - I hadn't had to for six years, but it loomed in front of me, a responsibility I couldn't put off anymore.  My license - my ticket to cruising suburbia, the city and accomplishing all my tasks outside of the home - was about to expire and I needed to make that dreaded trip to the Department of Licensing.  This auditorium of order and process I abhor each and every time I enter its doors.  All that I could possibly be doing is dashed as I sit and wait until it is my turn - sometimes for even up to an hour.  However, as I took my number and seated myself in the theatre, I watched with new interest as the state officials played their parts so eloquently - snapping photos, checking forms, accepting money, asking questions, instructing people to sit and wait again.  It was then that I realized something very powerful and liberating.  I wasn't a prisoner to this palace of complication - I was a privileged participant. 

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