All posts by Rabbi Brian Besser

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Brian Besser

You Shall Have Nothing But Joy

Sukkot Yom Kippur is the most ethereal of Jewish holidays. On the holiest day of the year, we symbolically shed the trappings of material existence. To my mind, the reason for fasting is not so much to afflict ourselves but to elevate ourselves above the earthly plane of reality. As much as humanly possible, we abstain from physical needs and urges. We don’t eat; we don’t bathe; we don’t engage… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Brian Besser

Components of Faith

Parashat B’Shalach (Exodus 13:17-17:15) A congregant I’ll call K. just found out she has cancer. “I can’t halt the parade of anxious thoughts,” she tells me. “All my hair will fall out. What if the treatment doesn’t work? I’m going to die.” K. has a good relationship with God. She says “modah ani,” wraps tefillin, and meditates every morning. With the news, however, none of her spiritual practices seem to… Read Article →