All posts by Rabbi Lisa L. Goldstein

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Lisa Goldstein

Beyond Ghosts and Familiar Spirits: Finding Holiness in the Old and the New

Parshat Kedoshim, Leviticus 19:1-20:27 We are on a multi-layered journey. On the Jewish holiday calendar, after leaving Egypt two weeks ago with all the attendant fear and drama of Passover we are moving steadily toward the holiday of Shavuot–on which we celebrate the revelation of the Torah–and thus toward Mt. Sinai. In the Torah reading cycle, this week’s Torah portion, Kedoshim, gives us a small taste of what we might… Read Article →

Seventy Faces of Torah Rabbi Lisa Goldstein

Aligning Ourselves with the God Who Changes

Parshat Shemot, Exodus 1:1-6:1 It is a lovely coinciding of our inner and outer worlds that we begin a new book of the Torah just as the new secular year begins:  a fresh page, a fresh day, all kinds of possibilities.  And yet, as we enter Parshat Shemot and the book of Exodus, it takes us all of seven verses before we come to the constriction traditionally associated with the… Read Article →

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Sound and Silence

Shavuot, the holiday that celebrates the gift of Torah, begins on Saturday night. The Torah itself describes this occasion as being accompanied by dramatic and terrifying noise and spectacle: thunder, long shofar blasts, earthquake, fire and smoke. As I write these words, I am listening to the jackhammers and sirens on the street below, and I wonder: Why did the giving of Torah require so much noise? And if Mt…. Read Article →

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Heeding the Call to Protect the Land

I have a vivid memory from a Bible class from the late 1980’s in which we were learning the classic formulations, seen in this week’s Torah portion, that if the Israelites obey God’s laws, the rains will come in the right season and all will be well.  If, however, the Israelites abandon the covenant, the earth and their enemies will work together to utterly destroy them.  One of my classmates… Read Article →

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Four Levels of Societal Transformation

I recently had to report for jury duty. I had been summoned for jury service before, but this was the first time I did so in New York City. In the past I had found that, despite the hours away from my regular responsibilities, being an active part of the justice system was an inspirational and worthy thing to do. The framers of the Constitution were idealistic enough to envision… Read Article →