Tefillah Tuesday: Alef, The One

The usage of Psalm 100 in Pesukei d’Zimra depends on how you interpret the title. Mizmor Le’Todah, מזמור לתודה, means either a “Song of Gratitude,” or the “Song for the Thanksgiving Sacrifice.” Those who associate the brief poem with free-willed – that is, optional – sacrifices, generally refrain from reciting this psalm on Shabbat or… Read more »

YOM YERUSHALAYIM, GOLD AND IRON

This week we mark the 50th anniversary (on the Hebrew calendar) of the 1967 Six-Day War, certainly the most momentous passage in Israel’s history. Israel’s territory was multiplied almost three-fold, acquiring Sinai (of course later returned to Egypt), Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. These latter two were annexed under Israeli… Read more »

Tefillah Tuesday: Confess the Truth

“One should always be God-fearing in private and in public, to confess the truth and speak the truth in one’s own heart.” This sentence begins a short paragraph in preliminary morning prayers, calling attention to the life’s fleeting ephemerality, and directing our attention to Ecclesiastes 3.19. “What are we? What is our kindness, righteousness, and… Read more »

Tefillah Tuesday: Body and Soul

Judaism is a perpetual “low-grade” meditation. A “low-grade” fever is not acute, but has a steady, global effect on us. Similarly, Judaism has scant tradition of extended acute meditations, withdrawing from the world for days on end. But it is saturated with reminders and exercises for creating a global God-consciousness to carry with you all… Read more »

Tefillah Tuesday: Who Did Not Make Me a Woman

“Blessed are You, God, King of the Cosmos, who did not make me a woman.” This may be the most infamous – to us liberals – passages in the classical Siddur. I would never say it, and even some modern Orthodox rabbis refuse to say it (or say it in an embarrassed undertone). Our Conservative… Read more »