L'Chaim to Mayim, L'Chaim to Miriam!


An Argument for the Sake of Heaven


The Big But



Shabbat Shalom Everyone!

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May God's Face Be Lifted Unto You...
Parshat Naso 5778

Artwork by Joel Amit

The blessing known as Birkat Kohanim / "The Priestly Blessing" is one of the best known and most powerful blessings in the Torah. There is much to say about this blessing, but I would like to focus on one expression in the third and final line of the blessing. 

יִשָּׂא יְהוָה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ .   May God raise up His face to you.

What does it mean for God to raise up His face to you?
First of all, many translations of the text render panim as countenance, which is another way of saying face, but can also mean "support." Did the translation mean to indicate that the expression -- "raise His face" means, "May God support you"? Translation is, after all, an interpretation of the text, and this helps to explain the anthropomorphic language as merely figurative language. So, if we are not intended to understand these words literally, what does the blessing mean when it says, &quo…

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach from Australia!

Vayikra/Leviticus 23:15
וּסְפַרְתֶּם לָכֶם מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת מִיּוֹם הֲבִיאֲכֶם אֶת עֹמֶר הַתְּנוּפָה שֶׁבַע שַׁבָּתוֹת תְּמִימֹת תִּהְיֶינָה.
15 And you shall count for yourselves from after the day of rest, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the waving; they will be seven complete weeks...
As we approach the Holiday of Shavuot and count the last days of Sefirat Ha'Omer (the counting of the Omer) that began almost seven full weeks ago, I would like to reflect on our own personal countdown. Seven weeks ago, our family was still waiting to receive our visas to move to Australia and at that time we were still living in Omer (Israel)! During that first week of Passover, while visiting family in North America, we received the news that our visas had been granted and we began counting down the days to moving to Melbourne, Australia -- in parallel to counting the days of the Omer. We arrived here in Australia just in time for the Holiday of Shavuot after counting seven weeks. O…