Rabbi Michael Levy

A Teacher And His Runaway Student: Preparing for the High Holidays

On Tuesday night, August 26, the "spiritual pre-season," leading up to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, began. We celebrated the first day of Elul, the Hebrew month during which Jews traditionally examine their behavior and contemplated self-improvement.

Rabbi Michael Levy

Behind The Mask -- God's Presence

During the merry celebration of Purim this upcoming Saturday night and Sunday, children and even adults will wear masks and costumes.  Masks echo the theme of concealment in the Purim story itself, which we will read in the Scroll of Esther.

Rabbi Michael Levy

Ki Tissa: Awareness Is Necessary, Not Sufficient

God’s initial revelation to the Israelites at Mount Sinai, when He uttered the Ten Commandments, was accompanied by lightning, thunder and shofar blasts that inspired the soul. The inspiration lasted just forty days.

Rabbi Michael Levy

Mishpatim: Empathy Is A Gift Anyone Can Give

“Right is might” civilizations mistreat vulnerable people—slaves, strangers, widows, orphans and the poor. This week’s Torah portion obligates us to see to the material well-being of these disadvantaged groups. Equally important is the support we provide through empathy.

Rabbi Michael Levy

Yitro: Moses Shows Us How To Celebrate

After the Israelites crossed the Red Sea and emerged victorious in the war against Amalek, Moses’ father-in-law Jethro joined them in the wilderness. Our Torah portion recounts how he was welcomed by the congregation:

“Aaron and all the elders of Israel came to eat bread with Moses’ father-in-law before God.” (Exodus 18, 12.) The commentator Rashi wonders “Where was Moses?” He concludes that Moses was occupied himself with serving the meal (rather than eating with Aaron, Jethro and the elders.) One can imagine that Moses also saw to the preparation of the meal.

Rabbi Michael Levy

Beshalach: The Gift Of Healing

When we are ill, we consult a doctor, obtain a diagnosis and adhere to his/her treatment plan. How, then, are we to understand a passage from this week’s Torah portion that portrays God as a Healer? 

Rabbi Michael Levy

Bo: The New Year, Disability And Using Help To Save Time

Each year, as January 1 arrives, a billion people watch the ball drop at Times Square. By January 2, we return to our battle with time.

Rabbi Michael Levy

Shemot: Compassion Trumps Charisma When God Chooses A Leader

Thirty-two centuries before Time Magazine began selecting "Person of the Year," God chose the "The Person Of the Millennium." His name was Moses.

Rabbi Michael Levy

Chanukah: Are We So Different From The Hellenists?

As Chanukah departs, let's take one last look back at the Maccabees' triumph over the Hellenists. Was it a victory of ideas as well as a physical conquest?

Rabbi Michael Levy

Vayeishev: What's The Opposite Of A 'Selfie?'

The Oxford English dictionary has named “selfie” as the word of the year 2013. A selfie is a picture of yourself which you take via a cell phone.

Rabbi Michael Levy
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