First of 5780-

As we approach Shabbat Shuva, we realize that there are many ways to improve ourselves if only we take the task seriously. I am always amazed when some of the most disabled or limited people at Beit Torah (www.onetorah.org) reach out to others even at times when it seems to be beyond their means! They clearly take tshuva very seriously...

Shabbat Shuva, VaYelech 5780; Returning; Deuteronomy 31; Hosea 14:2-10; Micah 7:18-20; Joel 2:15-27


Returning a book, returning a soul,

Returning to mitzvot we should go.

As we start a New Year with hope,

We can stay on the Path and not stray

From Tikun Olam, World Repair,

From love your neighbor, feed the poor,

Care for strangers, All respect,

So long ourselves we don’t neglect.


Last of 5779 - Nitzavim:

I and we at Beit Torah (www.onetorah.org) pray: Holy Creator of All! I and we herewith forgive anyone who may have irritated, angered, or injured me/us –whether acting against my/our persons, my possessions, or my reputations. Let no-one be punished on my/our account, whether the wrong done to me/us was accidental or malicious, unwitting or purposeful, by word or by deed. May it be Your will, Our Holy One and Holy One of our ancestors, that we not repeat the wrongs we have committed, that we sin no more. May we never again anger You by doing that which is evil in Your sight. We pray that our sins will be wiped away not through sickness and suffering, but rather through mercy. Then we will be able to enter this Blessed New Year and go forward with hope. Our hope is that we will be forgiven for all our misdeeds and look forward to the best possible health, happiness, and enlightenment. As we embrace each other with these fervent prayers, let us all say: Amen & Shabbat Shalom & Shana Tova to come!

Nitzavim 5779; Choosing; Deuteronomy 29:9-30; Isaiah 61:10 - 63:9

Choosing Life

Days of Awe are near upon us.

Deep soul searching needs to be done

So amends offered can be made

To clear the air; atonement won-

As we reflect on all we’ve lost:

Teachers, parents, emotions’ costs...

We need to choose to heed mitzvot;

To forgive all; to live with love

Respecting life, the Earth, the Sea;

Repairing what we can, to be

In tune with Hashem’s endless caring…

With widespread mercy so we can see

There is still real hope for our future

If only we work to secure it

For our generations yet to come.

We must choose life for us, for all!


Once more it is the time of year

To reflect on all we have done,

To be forgiving of those near

Who have crossed us, or so we suss,

Although intent might not be there

Forgiveness heals both them and us.

Then, too, our actions we review.

To be forgiven we can ask.

To improve ourselves, start anew,

For this New Year ‘twill be our task!

Shabbat Shalom!

Shabbat Shalom!

Shabbat HaAzinu 5780; Listening; Deuteronomy 32; 2 Samuel

This week in the portion of Parashat HaAzinu we listen to Moshe’s farewell to the People. We hear his anguish that those People have difficulties following the Laws and Commandments. He reminds them of the natural consequences of their choices.

He knows they need to move on to prepare for battles under Joshua. That means they need to let go of him totally. He does not want them to worship him nor have a shrine to him for pilgrimages. So going up the mountain seemed to be a way of making a clean break. We read earlier in Torah that his attendants said he was buried on the way to Midian [in a place on the plains of Moab]. However Joshua could never find out where. It leaves us with the question of whether he actually made it to his family in Midian for a well earned retirement… He was probably not interested in leading another military campaign – especially since he had taught Joshua pretty much all he knew about military tactics [and many other things…]!

Jewish law required burial within 24 hours of death. Was there someone with Aaron to bury him within 24 hours on Mt. Hor? Why would the plains of Moab be within 24 hours if Moshe had died on Mt. Nebo? Does it matter if we know where Moshe died or was buried? SHABBAT SHALOM!

Sukkot A.Z.: Bees, Pollens, Breeze

Ah! The fresh air, cicadas’ sounds

as we shake lulav all around.

Noon time snoozing - A pollen sneeze!

Can you embrace that quite stiff breeze?

Still hanging walls flap quietly

while cool wind gusts discourage bees...

Love the chicken, squash and peas

with wind chimes, bright stars, shadow trees...

Challah, candles, read Torah too -

A week of Nature for me and you!