“And Make Yourselves a New Heart and a New Spirit”
The Velveteen Rabbi
On holy community
When our son Drew was born, we entered a haze of sleep deprivation, joy, and overwhelm. Drew came into the world with a profound case of jetlag. For nine months, he’d been lulled to sleep by my movements during the day and had danced the fandango inside me at night. When he emerged from the womb, his circadian rhythms were backwards. Sleep debt isn’t the only reason we had a tough adjustment to parenthood, but it was a big one.
Tazria - Metzora
Becoming Real: Tazria-Metzorah and Being Velveteen
Once there was a stuffed rabbit who yearned to be Real. His Boy loved him so dearly that he became Real in the eyes of the Boy -- but when living bunnies caught sight of him, they laughed, because they knew he was only a toy, unable to run and play with the real rabbits.
Some of you are smiling. You recognize this story, by Margery Williams. Let me continue.
The Velveteen Rabbi
Holiness, wildlife, keeping awake (Radical Torah repost)
I have a sister-in-law who teaches biology at a prep school. She has played host to a bizarre variety of creatures. Once, I’m pretty sure, she had a tarantula in a terrarium. For a while she kept snakes. And these days, her lab is home to some kind of spiny lizard, who puffs himself up every time anyone who might demand attention enters the room.
By Rabbi Steven Nathan for Reconstructing Judaism
Instead of a traditional d'var Torah on Parashat Shemini, I chose to write an original midrash about Nadav and Avihu. These two sons of Aaron the High Priest, after seeing Divine fire come down from heaven and devour the first sacrifice made in the newly-dedicated Mishkan (Sanctuary), decide to take matters into their own hands. They bring a “strange fire” before God, that God had not commanded them, and their punishment was to then be devoured by Divine fire. The rabbis have commented on this episode for centuries, questioning whether Nadav and Avihu were simply brash and arrogant upstarts, or if perhaps there was another reason.
I like to think of Nadav and Avihu as the first Reconstructionists. Unfortunately, they were a little ahead of their time and so they suffered the consequences. Once you read my midrash you'll understand why I say this.
Pesach 1 - On Shabbat
On the FIRST DAY OF PASSOVER we read from the book of Exodus (12:21-51) & Numbers (28:16 - 28:25) of the bringing of the Passover Offering in Egypt, the Plague of the Firstborn at the stroke of midnight, and how "On this very day, G‑d took the Children of Israel out of Egypt."
Chag Sameach!/Happy Holiday!
Want more information on Passover? Check out Jvillage Network's Passover Guide.