כַּהֶגֶה בְּיַד הַמַּלָּח: “Like a Helm in the Hand of an Old Salt” — or Not?

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Faculty, Rabbinical School of Hebrew College
September 11, 2014

In Ashkenazi tradition, a liturgical poem, or piyyut,[i] recited on the eve of Yom Kippur begins, כִּי הִנֵּה כַּחֹמֶר בְּיַד הַיּוֹצֵר, בִּרְצוֹתוֺ מַרְחִיב וּבִרְצוֹתוֹ מְקַצֵּר, כֵּן אֲנַחְנוּ בְּיָדְךָ חֶסֶד נוֹצֵר: “As clay in the hand of the potter, who thickens or thins it at will, so are we in Your hand, Guardian of love.”[ii] The […]

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Seventy faces of Torah

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Dean, Rabbinical School
May 14, 2014

Last Wednesday, May 7th, over 400 community members, supporters, alumni, students, faculty, and staff gathered at Gann Academy for the Hebrew College gala to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our Rabbinical School.  Below is an excerpt from the remarks shared by Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld, one of the honorees at the event. Limnot yameinu ken […]

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The Sacred and Mythic Dimensions of Yom Ha’atzmaut

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Faculty, Rabbinical School
April 6, 2014

Our Jewish holidays have a complicated relationship with history. On the one hand, they tell a story of occurrences in time from the creation of the world (Shabbat) through the exodus from Egypt (Pesah) the destruction of the temple (Tisha b’Av) and down to the establishment of the State of Israel (Yom Ha’atzmaut). yOn the […]

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Hanukkah and Parashat Vayigash: Living with the Dark After the Light

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Student, The Rabbinical School of Hebrew College
December 5, 2013

I woke in the dark this morning. It will be dark before I walk through my door again. While I know objectively that there were once leaves on all the trees outside the Beit Midrash windows, I’ve lost the sense memory of looking out at a density of green. There’s no doubt: winter has us […]

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Parashat VaYeira: Confounding Revelations of G-d

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October 31, 2013

Vayeira begins with a word of clarity: G-d shows G-d’s self to Avraham at Mamre and appears (vayeira) in three men who come to give Avraham the good news of Sarah’s future fertility, the projected birth of Yitzhak. His birth will let Avraham “hayu yihyeh l’goy gadol v’atzum,” will become a great and numerous nation. […]

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Mourner’s Kaddish: Grasping for Praise in Sorrow

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Student, The Rabbinical School of Hebrew College
October 17, 2013

Yitgadal, v’yitkadash Shemei Raba…Exalted and Sanctified is Gd’s great name. These words open every  Kaddish prayer that we recite. They are particularly poignant in the Mourner’s Kaddish-Kaddish Yatom. Words of praise are recited at times of great sorrow. No mention of death or destruction, and word after word of praise written in an ancient Aramaic. […]

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On Teachers and Students

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Faculty, Rabbinical School
October 8, 2013

This week of parashat Shoftim is framed by the yahrzeits (anniversary of passing) of a master and disciple. This past Sunday, the 28th of Av, was the yahrzeit of R David HaKohen, the Nazir. Friday, the third of Elul, is the yahrzeit of his teacher, R Avraham Yitshak HaKohen Kook. Basic outlines of their biographies […]

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Tisha b’Av: From Pain to Judgment to Forgiveness

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Faculty, Rabbinical School
August 7, 2013

In my understanding, our ritual year cycle is not about knowing or remembering particular beliefs or mytho-historical facts. It is about opening ourselves to certain experiences, and the ritual memory being no more and no less than the portal to that experience. While some forms of knowledge can be assimilated on the spot, a directed […]

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