This week we learn Parshah Re’eh, found at Devarim (Deuteronomy) 11:26-16:17.

Two divrei on this parshah I found which struck me:

This coming week is Rosh Chodesh Elul.

There is so much now, so much upcoming, who am I to try to write about it? Please, find a teacher, a rabbi, someone more knowledgeable than I and ask.

As we turn toward these days of Awe and once again I become overwhelmed and my daily routine experiences upheaval by changes in my academic schedule, Work, and yamin noraim I turn to a slim volume which offers, well, I can’t quite explain it. Guidance? Help? Hope? Why am I drawn so deeply to Pirkei Avot? Why does it hold me more than the tehillim (psalms) that I so often say?

Perhaps it is the lessons. Perhaps it is the (relatively) straightforwardness. Psalms/Poetry can cause years of thought or introspection. I’ve found Pirkei Avot can, but I can also walk away with a surface reaction and be content. I have also found that I can open the volume at seemingly random and find something timely and relevant for my life. It seems I can also just visit JOFA and read this week’s Divrei Torah:

Weekly Jewish Wisdom: A Lesson in Leadership (from 5768/2008).

שבת שלום

double E: Eikev v’Elul

This week we read parshah Eikev, found at Devarim (Deuteronomy) 7:12-11:25. In this parshah, among other things, we learn that the land of Israel flows with milk and honey and find the second chapter to the Sh’ma. Yes, I’m selective about what I highlight. Go read the parsha for yourself to learn the full details contained within.

Why am I talking about Elul and the new year already? I know that upon September (and Elul) “one”, life will go into high gear for myself and many other people. It’s easy to say, “I’ll learn tomorrow”. It’s difficult to plan ahead (I’m a procrastinator, I know). It’s difficult to balance work, life, and the demands of this time of year, observant, jewish, both, or neither. As much as I love autumn, it is a very busy time of year.

But I can take 5 minutes now and start to think about how I would like it to go.

שבת שלום

Va’etchanan and Tu b’Av

This week we read Va’etchanan, found in Devarim (Deuteronomy) at 3:23-7:11.

…שמע ישראל
“Hear O Israel…”

Those were the first Hebrew words I learned to say and to read, even before my own name. I find them the most powerful of anything I say. The words bring tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. Yes, I am spiritual and believe in G-d. Deal.

These words form the “Sh’ma” (The first word of this in Hebrew is sh’ma, hear), which is found at the start of the sixth portion this week, also known as 6:4.

It is amazing to me how fast this year has flown by. As Tu b’Avis tomorrow, it is only two weeks until Rosh Chodesh Elul. I am beginning to reflect upon my actions (or inactions) over this past year. In some areas I have made progress; in others, I have fallen back. My main desire to continue work on improving my patience.

שבת שלום


Please note that this week E and I are taking a break from our respective offices and, as much as we are able, from computers. If your comment requires moderation I’ll attend to it after Tisha b’Av ends Sunday night, though most likely mid-day on Monday.

Since we completed rereading Bamidbar last week, this week we begin the book of Devarim, also known as Deuteronomy. We learn 1:1-3:22.

Devarim means words.

As it is the last shabbat before Tisha b’Av, it is Shabbat Chazon.

I am looking for a mogen dovid “icon” that can scale from say 48×48 to 16×16 and is similar to the other images appearing with the categories here. I found a flag, but while I have strong ties to Israel, I do not want to use it in this context. I’ve been playing with inkscape (I made the ball of yarn myself last year) and just can’t seem to get this one right. Can anyone help me out or point me to one that already exists?

We go directly from shabbat to Tisha b’Av. May you have an easy and meaningful fast.