All posts by Rabbi Daniel Klein

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Resisting Our Need for Approval

My parenting epiphany came unexpectedly when my older child was 4 years old. I was reading, of all things, a book review in The New Yorker, not a regular part of my media consumption. But the title of the 2012 article caught my attention: “Spoiled Rotten: Why do kids rule the roost?” In it, Elizabeth Kolbert writes that a not insignificant portion of American children are among the most privileged… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Daniel-Klein

From Reception to Responsibility: God’s Ode to Restraint

Parashat Mishpatim (Exodus 21:1-24.18) A lot can change in a week. It was only a week ago that the Israelites stood at Mount Sinai – through the thunder, lightning and shofar blasts, experiencing the overwhelming revelation of God’s presence. And then this week, the parasha opens with God saying to Moshe, “These are the laws you must place before” [the Israelites] (Exodus 21:1). Gone are the Divine pyrotechnics. Gone is… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Daniel-Klein

Pushing On Through the Wilderness

Parashat Chukkat, Numbers 19:1-22:1 It has become a cliché that in life, we should focus on the journey, not the destination—we are advised to “enjoy the ride” and “pick more daisies.” It is easy to imagine ourselves within the quintessential image of this sentiment: a carefree, smiling person, basking in the sunshine, driving down an open road with car windows open or the top down, wind blowing through her hair…. Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Daniel-Klein

Grounded in Uncertainty

Parashat Vayeshev, Genesis 37:1-40:23 Last spring, a Federal Reserve survey reported that 47% of people living in the United States could not come up with $400 in an emergency. The striking thing about this statistic is not that some people would struggle to pay for unexpected expenses like basic car or home repairs, but that nearly half of the country would. The world we inhabit and the lives we lead… Read Article →

Rabbinical School Divrei Torah Daniel-Klein

Choosing a Rabbinical School: 8 Questions to Consider

So you are thinking about becoming a rabbi and starting to explore your educational options. Now what? There are many choices for rabbinical school. To figure out which is the right one for you, there are two fundamental questions you need to answer: 1. What are the approaches to rabbinic education at the schools you are interested in? 2. What are you looking for in your rabbinical school experience and… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Daniel-Klein

The Idolatry of Nostalgia (Parashat Re’eh, Deuteronomy 11:26 – 16:17)

“I was born near sunset.” Though the writer Michael Chabon made this statement about himself in the introduction to his book Summerland, he claims, rightly in my opinion, that it describes a part of the human condition. We seem to come naturally by the feeling of “belatedness,” as Chabon calls it – the sense of having “shown up just as light and fire were fading from the sky.” This sentiment… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Daniel-Klein

The Human Soul is a Candle of God: Finding Meaning in Existence

Parashat Emor, Leviticus 21:1-24:23 (Also read this blog on The Huffington Post) My wife’s grandmother is 94 years old. She lives alone in the same house she has lived in for decades. She is remarkably healthy, but is at an age when many people would have already moved into a retirement community or an assisted living facility. But she has no interest in moving. As we age, leaving our homes… Read Article →

Community Blog Daniel-Klein

Singing in the Dark: Leviticus and the Call for Social Justice

“There’s a part of the singer going way back in American history that is of course the canary in the coalmine. When it gets dark, you’re supposed to be singing. It’s dark right now.” Bruce Springsteen made this statement in 2007, but it is no less relevant today. Current events have brought to the fore and emphasized a dramatic sense of uncertainty, frustration and longing that exists in our society…. Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Daniel-Klein

On Joseph, Shaving, and Being Human

Parashat Miketz, Genesis 41:1-44:14 Current events have conspired to make Paris the moral heart of our world, calling us to reflect on where we are going as a world community. The recent terror attacks in the City of Light have unleashed a staggering level of unfounded fear and demonization of Muslims and Syrian refugees, which has distorted, as it did after the attacks of 9/11, a legitimate conversation about liberty… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah 8.10.15

Seeing Past, Present, and Future on the Road to Justice

“See”: This simple command opens this week’s parasha and gives it its name, Re’eh. “See: I place before you today the blessing and the curse.” This commandment introduces a moving teaching about how God’s commandments are set before us, and will lead to blessings if we fulfill them and curses if we abandon them. But the opening word is entirely unnecessary; the core message about blessings and curses is clear… Read Article →