Sunday, November 9, 2008

Needed: Seperation of Shul and State

We have a yearly list of Shabat times hanging on our fridge. We don't use it, there's a better online service here, but as I was doing something irrelevant in the kitchen, I took a closer look at this laminated blue sheet. In the top right hand corner of this page is the symbol of the Jerusalem municipality. They seem to have used taxpayers money to create and distribute this leaflet. I can't help but find that disturbing. \

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Lech Lecha: Go To Your Self

The Ishbitzer explains Abraham's journey as one away from material pleasures of this world and into himself, where he could seek the "source of his life" or in other words, God. Interestingly, he doesn't shun materialistic pleasures, only points out that they are there to alleviate worry and allow us to pursue this higher goal.

In trying to understand how the Ishbitzer reads the story, it's interesting to note that two of the promises that are given to Abraham ("I will make you into a great nation; I will make your name great") address the comforts that Abraham is told to leave behind him: becoming a great nation consoles him for having left his country and his people; making his name great consoles him for having left his father's house. God seems to be saying to Abraham, if you start this journey, I will take care of the things you are leaving behind.

In emphasizing Abraham's search for the truth that was inside him (go to your self), there is a message: God's blessing comes to those who seek out what is true.