Rabbi Huberman's blog

Punchline of the Torah #509

Sun, 09/17/2017 - 2:03pm -- Rabbi Huberman
Punchline of the Torah

There are times when I believe that we make religion and Judaism more complicated that they need to be.

Our tradition is limned with countless interpretations and commentaries which have produced thousands of rules and regulations fully known to a chosen few, to the point that so many everyday Jews are convinced they are "bad" Jews.

The Most Vulnerable Among Us #508

Mon, 09/04/2017 - 6:52pm -- Rabbi Huberman
The Most Vulnerable Among Us 

There is a somewhat disturbing passage -- or more precisely a troubling commandment  -- closing this week's Torah portion.

We are told that, whenever we encounter descendents of the Amalek nation, we are supposed to destroy them: their warriors, their families, their possessions -- everything.

This commandment seems so out of character with the spirit of Judaism.

Unity Against Hatred? #506

Sun, 08/20/2017 - 1:47pm -- Rabbi Huberman
Unity Against Hatred?

See, ("Re'eh"), is the word which begins this week's Torah portion.

Indeed, there was much for Americans and the world to see this past weekend.

Not on Bread Alone #505

Sun, 08/20/2017 - 1:45pm -- Rabbi Huberman
Not On Bread Alone

During the 1990s, I served on a senior committee which provided advice to the journalism department at a college in Calgary, Canada. 

#504: Is the World Good or Bad?

Mon, 08/07/2017 - 7:16pm -- Rabbi Huberman
Is the World Good or Bad?

One of the strangest conversations of my rabbinate took place recently as services ended one Shabbat morning.

A visitor to our congregation approached me to offer his objections to the Prayer for our Country which we recite each Sabbath morning, just before returning the Torah to the ark.

#503: Tweeting and the Jewish Connection

Sat, 07/29/2017 - 12:25pm -- Rabbi Huberman
Tweeting and the Jewish Connection

On the average, every second of every day, about 6,000 new tweets appear on Twitter.

That translates to more than 500 million tweets every day.

Reflections of Israel 2017 #502

Sun, 07/16/2017 - 4:25pm -- Rabbi Huberman
Reflections of Israel 2017 

TEL AVIV --  A few days after I arrived in Israel, a Tel Aviv resident asked if I knew what the national bird of Israel was.

"It's the crane," he chirped, before giving me a chance to respond.

Concern About Visiting Israel #501

Sun, 06/18/2017 - 7:37pm -- Rabbi Huberman
Concern About Visiting Israel 

Earlier this year, an Israeli friend-- a tour guide--shared a surprising statistic about tourism in the Holy Land: of the nearly four million people who visit Israeli each year, only twenty-five percent are Jewish.

This number has dwindled in recent years, and it's continuing to fall.

Praying Through Our Fears #500

Sat, 06/10/2017 - 3:35pm -- Rabbi Huberman
Praying Through Our Fears 

Which Tribe Do You Belong To? #499

Mon, 05/29/2017 - 6:59pm -- Rabbi Huberman
Which Tribe Do You Belong To?

Hardly a day goes by that I don't hear these words: "Rabbi, I'm really not that religious." Perhaps you have thought or spoken these words yourself.

Matthew's Dollar Bill -- A Lesson In Tzedakah #498

Sat, 05/20/2017 - 2:31pm -- Rabbi Huberman
Matthew's Dollar Bill -- A Lesson In Tzedakah 

Uplifting Torah to the Physically and Mentally Challenged #497

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 7:14pm -- Rabbi Huberman
Uplifting Torah to the Physically and Mentally Challenged #497

The "Gay Clause" and the Nature of Love #496

Sat, 05/06/2017 - 5:09pm -- Rabbi Huberman
The "Gay Clause" and the Nature of Love 

The Ethics of Our Food #495

Sat, 04/22/2017 - 2:52pm -- Rabbi Huberman
The Ethics of Our Food

Behave, Belong, Believe #494

Mon, 04/17/2017 - 12:43pm -- Rabbi Huberman
Behave, Belong, Believe 

Oranges, Scallions and Jelly Beans #493

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 9:09am -- Rabbi Huberman
Oranges, Scallions and Jelly Beans

There is a misconception among many Jewish families that the most authentic Passover Seders are those which follow the ancient text of the Haggadah line by line, word by word.

And that somehow, when we omit the "boring parts" or try to make the Passover Seders more fun, we are somehow cutting corners or "cheating."

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Chametz Of Our Souls #492

Sun, 04/02/2017 - 8:39pm -- Rabbi Huberman
The Chametz Of Our Souls 

Media,Time and Freedom #491

Mon, 03/27/2017 - 9:05am -- Rabbi Huberman
Media,Time and Freedom 

Earlier this week, I was in Manhattan to attend a series of meetings, and on the way home, my train was forced to stop as it waited for the train ahead to clear the tracks.

This is usual for those who live on Long Island. Trains halt for many reasons.

What was interesting this time was the exact location of our train.  We were stopped directly in front of a large high rise building near Albertson, about a hundred feet back from the living room windows of about forty apartments.

Golden calves of 2017 #490

Sun, 03/19/2017 - 5:49pm -- Rabbi Huberman
Golden calves of 2017 

God, Laughter and Bird Droppings #489

Sun, 03/12/2017 - 5:53pm -- Rabbi Huberman
God, Laughter and Bird Droppings 

Where God Truly Dwells #488

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 8:51am -- Rabbi Huberman
Where God Truly Dwells 

The Talmud, our collection of ancient laws and legends, tells the story of a man who walked the streets mourning the collapse of his marriage. 

"When our love was strong," he opined, "we could have lain together on the width of a sword. But now that we are not strong, a bed of one hundred feet does not suffice for us."
(Sanhedrin 7a).

It's a sad but often true story of what happens when people lose track of what brought them together. 

Rabbi Irwin Update #487: God in Our Feelings

Sun, 02/26/2017 - 3:06pm -- Rabbi Huberman
God in Our Feelings 

Your "Additional" Commandments #486

Mon, 02/20/2017 - 4:49pm -- Rabbi Huberman
Your "Additional" Commandments 

Judaism and the Power of Song #485

Sun, 02/12/2017 - 1:53pm -- Rabbi Huberman
Judaism and the Power of Song 

"Nowhere Without Our Children" #484

Sun, 02/05/2017 - 2:28pm -- Rabbi Huberman
Nowhere Without Our Children

Where would we be without our children?

It's a question which Moses answers with lightening speed at the start of this week's Torah portion.

Passover Plagues -- The Inside Story #483

Mon, 01/30/2017 - 8:55am -- Rabbi Huberman
Passover Plagues -- The Inside Story 

Thanks to the Passover Seder, each of us knows the plagues inflicted upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians.

Some of us dip our fingers into the wine. Others use a knife or spoon. In our family, we dab a fork into a wine glass and tap in on a saucer, creating little droplets, or tears.

My grandfather Nissan (z'l') taught that this represented the tears of the Egyptians, thus encouraging us to have empathy for all those who suffer, whether they be friend or foe.

The Power of Your Hebrew Name #482

Sun, 01/22/2017 - 4:56pm -- Rabbi Huberman
The Power of Your Hebrew Name 

We Waste Enough Food to Feed the World #481

Tue, 01/03/2017 - 6:05pm -- Rabbi Huberman
We Waste Enough Food to Feed the World 

Who Should We Tell Our Dreams To? #480

Mon, 12/26/2016 - 2:41pm -- Rabbi Huberman
Who Should We Tell Our Dreams To?

In Memory of Timna, the Outsider #479

Mon, 12/19/2016 - 9:03am -- Rabbi Huberman
 In Memory of Timna, the Outsider 

In Memory of Timna, the Outsider
I'd like to introduce you to a Biblical figure who you've likely never heard of.
Her name is Timna.
She is not Jewish.
Yet her life story as depicted in the Torah, serves to teach us some important lessons about what Judaism should not be.
In this week's Torah portion, Timna is mentioned only briefly. She is described as the concubine -- the unmarried sexual partner -- of Isaac's grandson, Eliphaz. (Genesis 36:12)

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