Rabbi Weintraub’s Teachings
The Rabbi’s brief commentaries on the Torah portion are featured in our monthly Kane Street News publication, Kane Yirbu.
Li’fi Dati (As I See It): On Passover and the 65th Birthday of Israel
The journey celebrated and re-awakened by Passover observance is, in the language of the Haggadah, “from bondage to freedom, from anguish to joy, from darkness to great light, and from servitude to redemption.” In our 3500 year history, few events have shown this transformation as powerfully as the rebirth of a sovereign Jewish commonwealth in Israel in 1948.
Shorty after Passover, on April 15 and 16, we will celebrate Yom Ha’atz’maut, the 65th anniversary of the founding of the modern state of Israel. In these short 65 years, the people of Israel with the help of G-d have accomplished miracles. Israel is a strong, self-reliant democracy. While way too many Israelis live in poverty, the general standard of living is on par with the world’s developed countries. Israel has one of the five strongest armies on this planet and an innovative, world-leading hi-tech sector. Millions of persecuted and distraught Jews, from Europe after the Shoah, from Arab counties, and from the former Soviet Union, have led dignified and productive lives in Israel. In only one century, Hebrew has been revived as a rich, modern literary and popular language. READ FULL TEXT
Li’fi Dati (As I See It)
We are now about three months into our adoption of a number of changes in the Shabbat morning service. These were proposed last fall by our Shabbat Committee, in response to a strong desire on our community’s part for a service which-while true to the Kane Street values of informality, full traditional prayer, and lay leadership-was at the same time more spirited, engaging, consistent, and skillfully led.
I’d like to report on the progress of this initiative, and share my own reflections. First, with respect to the physical space, the Committee proposed steps to create within our large sanctuary a small area that would foster community, inclusion, and coherence in prayer. Following Synagogue Board approval, we had contractors build a new floor, in the front of the central aisle for prayer and Torah leadership. We have also welcomed to this space a beautiful, handcrafted, and practical new Amud, a portable table for prayer leadership and Torah reading. We separated off the last seven pews of the Sanctuary to create a smaller and more cohesive congregation in the front. A new sound system was also installed. FULL TEXT: 2013.03.Li’fi Dati: Changes in Shabbat Services.pdf
Rabbi Weintraub on A Jewish Response to Global Warming
“Once Honi was walking along the road when he saw a man planting a carob tree. Honi asked “How long before it will bear fruit?” The man answered, “Seventy years.” Honi asked, “Are you sure that you will be alive in seventy years to eat from its fruit?” The man answered, “I found this world filled with carob trees. Just as my ancestor planted for me, so shall I plant for my children.” (Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Ta’anit 23a)
Trees in this story are symbolic of eternity. They outlive us, and yet by caring for them we achieve eternity. They are the gift we give our children, and their children.
Tu Bishvat, the Jewish Arbor Day, or “New Year of the Trees” fell this year on Shabbat Shira, January 28-29. Originally, in Talmudic times, this was a day for calculating the “birth” of trees for the purposes of tithing. In Israel, the sap in the trees begins to rise, an early step in the formation of fruit. Tu Bishvat over the centuries became a day to celebrate our connection to the land of Israel. More recently, it has become a day for study and reflection about our global, natural environment. Even when Tu Bishvat does not fall on Shabbat, it is a day of harmony with nature, when the normal antagonism between humans and nature is set aside. Read more: Jewish Response to Global Warming.
Rabbi’s Teachings 2013
Rabbi’s Teachings 2012
Rabbi’s Teachings 2011
Rabbi’s Teaching, September & October 2011
Rabbi’s Teachings 2010
Toldot, “Enough!” November 5, 2010
Rabbi’s Teachings 2009
Chukkat-Balak – “Don’t Lose Yourself When You “Lose It” – July 3, 2009
Korach – “Exposing Ourselves” – June 26, 2009
Sh’lach L’cha – “Protecting Ourselves” – June 19, 2009
B’ha’a'lotcha – “Your Heart and Your Mouth” – June 12, 2009
Naso – “Being Identical Is Special” – June 5-6, 2009
Bamidbar/Shavuot – “Live Beyond Your Means” – May 22-29, 2009
B’har-B’chukotai – “The Rear View” – May 15-16, 2009
Emor – “Showing up is 90% of Success” – May 8-9, 2009
Acharei Mot-K’doshim, “Monitoring Your Heart’s Intake” – May 1-2, 2009
Tazria M’tzora, “What’s inside a problem” – April 24-25, 2009
“Passover: External and internal observance” – Nisan 5769 | April 2009
Vayikra, “Hold that spice!” – March 27, 2009
H’Chodesh, “I am beautiful!” – March 20, 2009
Ki Tissa, “Avoiding Panic” – March 13, 2009
Zachor, “Keeping Judaism Fresh” – March 7, 2009
Terumah, “How Do We Slow Down” – February 27, 2009
Mishpatim, “The Great Vision of Jewish Law” – February 20, 2009
Yitro, “Becoming More Jewish” – February 13, 2009
B’shalach, “We Are How We Eat” – February 6, 2009
Bo, “Why Choseness is OK” – January 30, 2009
Va’era, “Why believe in one G-d?” – January 23, 2009
Sh’mot, “Fighting Justly” – January 16, 2009