Showing posts from 2018

Parshat Toldot The First Kiss in the Torah!

This week we will read about the first kiss mentioned in the Torah. Do you know who kissed whom? You may be surprised by the answer! And what can we learn about nurturing strong relationships in our families, with our children, from this parasha? How can we develop close, loving relationships, and avoid the pitfalls that our patriarchs and matriarchs encountered? Please watch this week's video here, and come to services when we will discuss this further!

Parshat Chayei Sarah The Life and Death of Sarah


I have not been posting my Torah or videos for the last month publicly but in light of the terrible tragedy in Pittsburgh at the Tree Of Life Synagogue this past week, I thought to share my weekly D'var Torah video. 

Hamakom Y'nachem....May the Holy One comfort us during at this time of loss.

Rosh Hashanah Sermon

Rosh Hashanah Sermon 5779

Rosh Hashanah: Family Exile and a Moment for Reconciliation

Rabbi Yonatan Sadoff

My Uncle, my father’s brother, died two years ago. I did not really know him very well, he didn’t live close and we had only met once or twice. He had been married 3 times, divorced 3 times and had two sons with his second wife. I remember the one time that his family came to visit us in Minneapolis when we were just kids (I was probably 9)--he was still married to his second wife and came with their two sons. We went out to Makeeskys deli - a sort of-kosher place and sat in one of those high-backed pleather booths and on the wall above our heads were graduation class pictures from the Talmud Torah, our local Jewish school- many of these photos from my Dad and Uncle’s era. I looked up and saw a picture of Shirley standing in the front row of one of the graduation classes-1956. “What a coincidence,” I said to my cousins, “there is Shirley, your Dad’s first wife.” They looked perplexe…

Parshat Ki-Tetze 5778 Can I Eat Take Your Grapes Without Asking?


A Curvy Bendy Ram's Horn? What's That All About?


Elul Greeting


Ekev My Green Bin


Pleading For Tehina Parshat Va'ethanan

Shalom Aleichem to all from Rabbi Yonatan. I am sorry I have not been posting every week during this time. The transition of moving to Australia has been wonderful and very time consuming but hope that you will stay tuned in as I intend to keep a weekly blog or vlog going.

Shabbat Shalom and Kol Tuv,
Rabbi Yonatan Sadoff

Speaking The Truth: Parshat Pinhas

Shalom to all!

Enjoy my weekly Torah Video Commentary and let me know your thoughts!

B'vrachah and Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Yonatan

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


An Argument for the Sake of Heaven


The Big But



Shabbat Shalom Everyone!

Click below for my weekly video on Parshat Beha'aotcha.
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…

What Do You Do When It Just Gets Old? Parshat (Behar) Behukotai

ויקרא כו:י וַאֲכַלְתֶּם יָשָׁן נוֹשָׁן וְיָשָׁן... Leviticus You shall eat old grain long stored... 

How do we deal with the  despair that we feel when things just "get old" and we begin to lose our passion for what we are doing? Perhaps you chose a career that at first made you jump out of bed in the morning but years later, you can barely muster the energy to put on your shoes! You loved what you were doing and had great hopes for changing the world. But years later, you lost that passion. Does this loss of passion come from the mere boredom of pure repetition or is there something else getting us down? 
My father retired from his law practice after thirty years, as it happens he went back to working as a pharmacist after that. When I asked him why he was hanging up the towel, he simply responded-"I just don't have the fire in my belly for practicing law any more". Did my Dad just get tired of doing the same old thing? Heavens no! He spent thirty years trying to r…

A Spiritual Defect...Moom--Parshat Emor

Leviticus 21:21
כָּל־אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר־בּוֹ מוּם מִזֶּרַע אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן לֹא יִגַּשׁ לְהַקְרִיב אֶת־אִשֵּׁי יְהוָה מוּם בּוֹ אֵת לֶחֶם אֱלֹהָיו לֹא יִגַּשׁ לְהַקְרִיב׃
No man among the offspring of Aaron the priest who has a defect shall be qualified to offer the LORD’s offering by fire; having a defect, he shall not be qualified to offer the food of his God.
It might seem strange that according to the Torah a person who has a physical defect is disqualified from serving God in holiness. After all, God created all of us with our so-called physical imperfections, right? 
How can we explain this?
The following commentary by Abraham ben Meir Ibn Ezra (biblical commentator 1089-1167) helps us to see this in a light that takes us beyond the literal understanding of a "defect"  being a purely physical manifestation.
אבו עזרא וטעם מום בו. כמו אביו ואמו קלל:
The reason there is a defect in him. For example, he cursed his mother or his father.
The commentary ab…

Rabbi Raysh Weiss

This is Rabbi Yonatan and Shalom from Chicago,

This week at the World Rabbinical Association Convention I am posting two short drashot by my colleagues (and cousins); Rabbis Jonah Rank and Raysh Weiss (who happen to be married). Wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom from the Windy City!

Rabbi Jonah Rank

This is Rabbi Yonatan and Shalom from Chicago,

This week at the World Rabbinical Association Convention I am posting two short drashot by my colleagues (and cousins); Rabbis Jonah Rank and Raysh Weiss (who happen to be married). Wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom from the Windy City!

A Message from Merav and Rabbi Yonatan on Israel's 70th Anniversary Celebration

Remembering the heroes...bringing them with us into our historic 70 year celebration since the establishment of the modern State of Israel.

Yom Ha'atzmaut Sameach everyone!

Yom Hashoah Thought from Whitwell Paperclip Museum


Moadim L'simcha! Happy Passover...Greetings from Chattanooga TN!

Moadim L'simcha and Happy Passover everyone! A few thoughts coming into the final days of the Holiday...

B'vracha Rabbi Yonatan

Click below to see the video:

Passover Blog Post 5778 M'arat Hamachpela


Torah Inspiration from Jerusalem Rabbi Yonatan Parshat Tzav 5778

Shalom from Rabbi Yonatan! This week the video D'var Torah was  shot at Yemin Moshe,

the first Jewish neighborhood built outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem in 1860, on a hill directly across from Mount Zion.

This week we read Parshat Tzav;  [beginning of Leviticus chapter 6]. This week is also Shabbat HaGadol! The "Great Shabbat" that precedes the holiday of Passover. Traditionally a long sermon is given in the afternoon of this Shabbat to discuss the halakhot (laws) relating to the upcoming festival. There is even a tradition to begin reading the Haggadah on this Shabbat afternoon!
For those of you who are interested in reading the Torah texts that I mentioned or quoted in the video, I have included them below!
Shabbat Shalom! Rabbi Yonatan

Leviticus chapter 6
1  And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2  Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the Torah of the burnt offering; It is the burnt offe…

Torah Inspiration From Kornmehl Goat Farm, Israel from Rabbi Yonatan Parshat Vayikrah 5778

Shalom from Rabbi Yonatan. This week I chose to present you with a short video Torah thought rather than a long written blog. Merav, my beautiful and brilliant spouse, shot this at the Kornmehl Goat Farm near Sde Boker in the Negev desert of Israel. (I inadvertently said Sderot in the clip, but definitely meant Sde Boker!) This place is very special and you would have to know that it exists in order to find it! It barely has a sign on the road blending into the desert landscape and you have to do some off-road driving to make it up the hill to arrive at this quaint little spot. The highlight is the little restaurant and cheese/dairy shop on the extremely isolated desert hill. I recommend their incredible goat cheese pizza, which they make from their very own goats! (all of their dairy products are hormone and antibiotic-free)

Photo Gallery from the Kornmehl Goat Farm

For those of you who enjoy my normal text study, I have included the Torah texts and commentaries that I mention or was i…