“The Earth God Has Given” – Blessings as Mindfulness and Gratitude

The practice of saying blessings is very ancient in Judaism. In this Talmudic text, the sage Rabbi Levi gives a beautiful explanation and meaning for the practice: Rabbi Levi raised a contradiction between two texts in the Psalms: On the one hand, it is written: “The earth and all it contains belongs to the Eternal”Continue reading ““The Earth God Has Given” – Blessings as Mindfulness and Gratitude”

From Will to Gratitude: Celebrating Shabbat with Maimonides

The V’shamru prayer says: “For in six days the Eternal made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day God ceased from work and was refreshed (vayinafash).”           Exodus 31:17 Maimonides (the great 12th century philosopher) explains: The word vayinafash (here translated “to be refreshed”) is derived from nefesh (soul), which means it contains the meaningContinue reading “From Will to Gratitude: Celebrating Shabbat with Maimonides”

Shabbat: A Symbol of Our Hope for a Better World

The Mishnah tells us that: On Shabbat, the Levites in the ancient Temple would sing: “Mizmor shir l’yom HaShabbat – A psalm, a song for Shabbat day” (Psalm 92). This is to be understood as being a psalm, a song for the future – for the day that will be nothing but Shabbat and restContinue reading “Shabbat: A Symbol of Our Hope for a Better World”

Why I Walk to Shul: Shabbat As Mindfulness

It’s raining outside today, which has me thinking about an old joke: Q: What does a bear do when it rains? A: It gets wet. Let’s contrast that to what I do when it rains: First, I check the weather with Siri to see exactly what time it will be raining and for how long.Continue reading “Why I Walk to Shul: Shabbat As Mindfulness”