Showing posts from May, 2016

Shabbat Message to Congregation Shaarei Kodesh - Behar 2016/5776

Shalom Shaarei Kodesh,
There is a famous teaching in the Jewish tradition (the Ethics of Our Fathers 4:2):  "Mitzvah Gorreret Mitzvah, Aveirah Gorreret Aveirah" "One mitzvah leads to another mitzvah and one transgression generates another." The recently published Siddur Lev Shalem, the Rabbinical Assembly's new siddur for the Conservative movement (please contact me if you would like to purchase a copy at a discount), comments on this very important teaching:  "The Torah's commandments are different gateways into human vitality, which are mapped out and placed at students' disposal so that they might go through them and grow.  Enter each gateway that opens for you.  Flee from sin, because an aveirah pushes a person away from the open gateways toward impassable walls.  Mitzvah and aveirah are two instructors in spiritual and moral topography, teaching one to identify openings and walls.  Choose an open gateway, and distance yourself from the walls.…

A Holiday for Second Chances - Pesach Sheni and Parashat Emor (c)

A Holiday For Second Chances - Pesach Sheni and Parashat Emor (c) Rabbi David Baum, Congregation Shaarei Kodesh  May 21, 2016/13th of Iyyar 5776
I recently had a conversation with a woman who was lamenting to me about her career.  Her travel schedule is grueling, and her work leaves her unfulfilled.  It turns out we went to the same college, and she was a reporter for the local newscast.  That's what she wanted to be – a reporter, but you know what, life happened, and she got into a profession that paid a lot more, but something's missing.  She doesn't feel like she is the person she is meant to be. 
I said, why not change your career?  Her answer:  “Well, it's too late for me, I'm too old.”  She's 31 years old.  There is something called the window of opportunity that we all know about – a window is open for a short time, and after it's closed, it remains closed.  
Who in here has had a time in their life when they felt that their window of opportunity has clos…

What Do You Mean When You Say “Next Year In Jerusalem”?

What Do You Mean When You Say “Next Year In Jerusalem”? Rabbi David Baum, Congregation Shaarei Kodesh Parashaht Acharei Mot 2016/5776
On the 8th Day of Passover, we held an interesting conversation after services:  what does L'Shanah Ha'ba'ah BiYerushalayim/Next Year In Jerusalem mean to us as Jewish Americans?

Most people said they said it by rote, not realizing the profound statement of these three words – but rarely do we take the words to heart.

Most of the answers were about a personal ideal – Jerusalem is a place that exists in us, or it is a metaphor for world peace.

One person said – “when I say those words, I feel guilty.”  She elaborated:  “I feel guilty because I know that I made my life here in America, and yet, there's a Jewish state in Israel that I am not a citizen of, and there's a level of guilt I feel about not living there.”

I want to share with you the words of Jeffrey Goldberg regarding these words from the New American Haggadah:

The Haggadah …