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Musical Interlude

In a little under a month, that holiday will be upon us once more. The one that isn’t a big deal (unless we choose to make it so). The one might not be such a dilemma except that we keep talking about it that way. (A couple of years ago Julie Silver tweeted: “”You keep talking about a “December Dilemma” and it’s just going to keep on existing. Get it?”). All of... read more

Shabbat Vayaytzay (Gen. 28:10-32:3)

We pick up this week with Jacob traveling – running for his life, actually – to the home of Laban. On his way, he has a vision of a ladder that extends to heaven, angels traveling both up and down. He arrives at his mother’s home and meets Rachel at the well. He works 7 years to marry her, only to find on the morning after the wedding that Leah took her place. So he works another 7 years... read more

Thanksgiving Seder

  Last year I posted links to a few Thanksgiving Haggadot, which gave our American Turkey-centric festival the old Passover treatment. This year, just in time for your own feast, I’m posting my notes from last year in case you enjoy tormenting your guests and children as much as I do. Our seder began before we even sat down. You see, on the night before Pesach we hunt for chametz – bits... read more

Shabbat Toledot (Gen. 25:19-28:9)

This week we delve into the character, psyche and dynamics of Isaac’s family: Jacob was fairer than Esau, with a lighter complexion and smaller build. Esau was apparently a lightweight when it came to study. Rebecca was smart (bright) when it came to obtaining the blessing for Jacob. Isaac appeared to be unenlightened when it came what was happening in his own household. SO… limited only by your... read more

Shabbat Chayay Sarah (Gen. 23:1-25:18)

The trope (chanting of the Torah) for the portion this week includes the “shalshelet” – a musical sequence that only appears four times in all of Torah (Gen. 19:16, 24:12, 39:8; Lev. 8:23). It always appears at the beginning of a verse and in each case, it indicates indecision or wavering. The most famous of these comes later on, when Potiphar’s wife asks Joseph to lie with her and... read more

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