Bereshit 5774: The Painful State of Responsibility

One afternoon during Sukkot we took a walk on a country road near the farm where we were staying. Chatting away, we barely noticed it–a brown snake winding across the dirt road in front of us. It was a little snake, not particularly frightening looking, so we took a closer look. I saw that it was…

Sukkot 5774: Are You Hungry for Leviathan?

After the heavy themes of sin and atonement that have occupied us so far in Tishrei, it is a relief to turn our attention to Sukkot, the time of our rejoicing. I love being outside, even when it gets chilly and wet, and the tastes, fragrances, sounds and touch of the four species and the…

Yom Kippur 5774: The Sage of Sacred Secrets (Yizkor)

Moshe Rabbeinu, alav hashalom—Our master Moses, peace be upon him, played many pivotal roles during 40 years of leadership. He was Israel’s liberator, lawgiver, prophet, judge, general and ombudsman. He was his people’s harshest critic and their staunchest defender. He spoke directly to God, and yet was humble. Moses was our greatest prophet of all…

Yom Kippur 5774: Taking What isn’t Ours

It’s not literally a skeleton in my closet, but I was still upset to find it hanging there. A few months ago I was taking out a jacket and noticed that a wood hanger had the name of a Jerusalem hotel on it. Honestly, I never meant to take a souvenir hanger. Probably I left…

Rosh HaShanah 5774 Mountains of the Spirit

Rabbi Danny Nevins 1 Tishrei 5774 / 5 September 2013 Early one morning my friend and I broke camp, hoisted our packs, and hit the trail. Soft light filtered through forests of spruce and birch, and drops of dew glistened like gems on every leaf. Approaching the trailhead, we came to the register—a big ledger…