Practical Judaism – Lech Lecha

“And you shall no longer be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham.” -Genesis 17:5

“Everyone has a share in the World To Come except for some, this includes the one who humiliates another in public and one who calls another by a derogatory name. Even if the victim has grown accustomed to being called that name in place of his name, and they are no longer humiliated by being called that name, since the intent was to insult them, the perpetrator’s punishment is severe.”
-Talmud, Baba Metzia 58b

Welcome to the new season of the ‘Raising Holy Sparks’ podcast. This year, we will be focusing on Jewish concepts and will be experimenting with ways to take them out of the theoretical and turn them into the practical.
Continue reading “Practical Judaism – Lech Lecha”

Practical and Embodied Judaism – Parasha Noach

“And the floodgates of the sky broke open.” -Genesis 7:11

“People who pray for miracles usually don’t get miracles, any more than children who pray for bicycles, good grades, or good boyfriends get them as a result of praying. But people who pray for courage, for strength to bear the unbearable, for the grace to remember what they have left instead of they have lost, very often find their prayer answered.”
– Rabbi Harold Kushner in “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.”

Welcome to the new season of the ‘Raising Holy Sparks’ podcast. This year, we will be focusing on Jewish concepts and will be experimenting with ways to take them out of the theoretical and turn them into the practical.
Continue reading “Practical and Embodied Judaism – Parasha Noach”

Practical and Embodied Judaism – Parasha Beresheet

“And Adonai formed out of the earth all the wild beasts and all the birds of the sky, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them; and whatever Adam called each living creature, that would be its name.” – Genesis 2:19

Welcome to the new season of the ‘Raising Holy Sparks’ podcast. This year, we will be focusing on the ideas of Judaism and will strive to take them out of the theoretical and instead turn them into the practical.
Continue reading “Practical and Embodied Judaism – Parasha Beresheet”

Weekly Torah Portion – Devarim

Asking for help is a trait that must be practiced. In the book of Exodus it is Moses’ father-in-law that suggests that the Israelite leader create a system of delegates. Yet, in our parsha of Devarim, it is Moses himself that asks for help. Either way, the importance of seeking support reigns supreme. 

Welcome to the “Raising Holy Sparks” podcast! Hope you enjoy these short weekly insights into the torah portion! This week we dive deep into the Parshah of Devarim. Continue reading “Weekly Torah Portion – Devarim”

Weekly Torah Portion – Shelach Lecha

This week’s torah portion is the source of the 3rd paragraph of the Shema/VeAhavta and it instructs us to wear ‘tzit-tzit’, the fringes at the corners of our garments. How powerful can a ritual to wear fringes be? This uniform custom has been practised by the Jewish people across time and space. While the Shema and the Ve’Ahavta may not be as emotional as other Jewish prayers, it has grounded our people in ritual for thousands of years.

Welcome to the “Raising Holy Sparks” podcast! Hope you enjoy these short weekly insights into the torah portion! This week we dive deep into the Parshah of Shelach Lecha. Continue reading “Weekly Torah Portion – Shelach Lecha”

Weekly Parshah Reflections – Be’haalotecha

In this week’s torah portion of Be’haalotecha the Israelites complain about their gift of manna and instead demand meat to eat. Incapable of seeing the good in what they have, the Israelites lay the groundwork for further negativity and short-sightedness. This spells trouble as they will soon be punished with wandering the desert for 40 years.

Welcome to the “Raising Holy Sparks” podcast! Hope you enjoy these short weekly insights into the torah portion! This week we dive deep into the Parshah of Be’haalotecha. Continue reading “Weekly Parshah Reflections – Be’haalotecha”

Weekly Parshah Reflections – Naso

This week’s torah portion of Naso introduces a bizarre ritual called ‘sotah’. In this ritual, a man that suspects his partner of adultery brings her before the priests. They write down a few verses from Torah on parchment and place it into a vessel with water. Once the ink dissolves into the drink, the accused woman must drink it. Another story that we will read in a few weeks time discusses equality for women. One story is enshrined as a rule and the other is merely an inspiring anecdote. Which of the two will bring about true change? If the answer is obvious, may our actions be motivated by these lessons of justice.

Welcome to the “Raising Holy Sparks” podcast! Hope you enjoy these short weekly insights into the torah portion! This week we dive deep into the Parshah of Naso. Continue reading “Weekly Parshah Reflections – Naso”

Special Holiday Edition – Shavuot

The real focus of the Ten Commandments is not how a ‘person’ acts; instead, it is about how ‘people’ respond to one another. The hope is not that we be perfect beings but rather that we be present and engaged ones. Each commandment is an invitation to be a better partner in the relationship.

Welcome to the “Raising Holy Sparks” podcast! Hope you enjoy these short weekly insights into the torah portion! This week we dive deep into the holiday of Shavuot. Continue reading “Special Holiday Edition – Shavuot”

Weekly Torah Portion – Ba’Midbar

In Hebrew, writing ‘in the desert’ is spelled using the same four letters as writing ‘through the act of speaking’. Both speech and deserts can lead to great confusion. What is the oasis when it comes to communicating our emotions? – Song!

Welcome to the “Raising Holy Sparks” podcast! Hope you enjoy these short weekly insights into the torah portion! This week we dive deep into the Parshah of Ba’Midbar. Continue reading “Weekly Torah Portion – Ba’Midbar”

Weekly Torah Portion – Behar-Bechukotai

In Exodus the Israelites are commanded to observe Shabbat. In this week’s torah portion they are commanded to allow the land to rest every seven years – Shemitah. While there are economic benefits to rest and renewal, there are also many economic fears. Nevertheless, mitzvot are not given based economic impact, rather based on soul impact. Although it is scary or challenging to cease creating, counter-intuitively it is precisely this cessation that creates a new version of ourselves.

Welcome to the “Raising Holy Sparks” podcast! Hope you enjoy these short weekly insights into the torah portion! This week we dive deep into the Double Parshah of Behar-Bechukotai. Continue reading “Weekly Torah Portion – Behar-Bechukotai”