Mina's Musings

Sermons and other thoughts from Rabbi Michelle (Mina) Goldsmith

Mina's Musings - Kol Nidrei 2017 - Al Het & Using Our Bodies Properly

Sun, 10/01/2017 - 10:14am -- Rabbi Mina

Recently I took a fun quiz on Facebook.  It was one of those quizzes where you answer a bunch of questions to reveal something profound about you.  This one was called:  “Which Jewish Holiday are You?”  Unsurprisingly, since I have always told people it was one of my favorite days, I got Yom Kippur.  I guess I simply can’t hide my love for this day – even from a Facebook quiz! 

Though I love almost all of what we do and say on Yom Kippur, I especially enjoy our repeated recitations of the Ashamnu and the Al Het.  In particular the Ashamnu, with its “la la lais” and upbeat melody has always made me happy, even though it contains a list of the many things we do wrong each year. 

Mina's Musings - Yom Kippur Day 2017

Sun, 10/01/2017 - 10:13am -- Rabbi Mina

The way I approach my pantry is also the way that I approach life, and that approach is a way I believe is spiritually and emotionally beneficial.  What is the approach?  Quite simply, I acknowledge daily, that while I can control some things in my life – like the right side spice rack, how long I exercise each day, what I choose to eat, read, or watch on TV – there are other things that seemingly are beyond my abilities to control, and so rather than pretend I have absolute control over everything, I arrange what I can and then focus on managing and navigating the left-over chaos.

Mina's Musings: Rosh Hashanah Day One 2017 - Melekh Al Kol Ha-Aretz

Fri, 09/29/2017 - 10:02am -- Rabbi Mina

Shanah Tovah.  It is good to see all of you this Erev Rosh Hashanah.  After weeks of preparation - with the blowing of the shofar each weekday morning, selihot prayers, the psalm for the penitential season every day for a month and of course filling out the myriad forms for the holidays - here we are. With the tremendous importance we have placed on Rosh Hashanah, it may come as a shock to some of you when I tell you that this holiday doesn’t appear anywhere in the Torah. 

Mina's Musings - Nitzavim-Vayelekh - Stop & Go

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 10:35am -- Rabbi Mina

But before we get to a whole new year, I want to spend a few minutes thinking about the week that has just passed.  If you could count the number of times you left your house and went out somewhere - anywhere - the grocery store, the drug store, the doctor’s office, a friend’s house, etc.  How much running around would you have done this week? How many different places were you; 10, 15, 20?  Now I want you to think about the number of times you have stopped and looked at a flowering tree, smelled the fresh air, smiled at a stranger, in short how many times you have paused to appreciate and think about your life.  How many times did you think about the things you’ve done right or wrong this week? 

Mina's Musings: Ki Tetzei 2017 - Hurricane Harvey, Our Humanity, and Being Humane

Mon, 09/04/2017 - 10:22am -- Rabbi Mina

As we watched the images coming out of Texas our hearts were simultaneously filled with heartbreak at the devastation and uplifted by the heroic actions of people working to not only save total strangers, human beings they had never met before, but going even further out of the way to save the family pets that were also in harm’s way.  It was enough to restore one’s faith in the goodness of humanity, the ability of people from disparate backgrounds to work together to ease the suffering of others.

Mina's Musings - Shoftim 2017 - A Solar Eclipse, Rosh Hodesh Elul, and Justice

Mon, 08/28/2017 - 10:38am -- Rabbi Mina

Shabbat Shalom.  Last Shabbat Jews around the world read from the Torah portion Re’eh – which is a command form of the Hebrew word “See.”  It was the perfect portion at least for those of us in the United States who were going to be treated just a couple of days later with “seeing” the majesty of God via a solar eclipse. 

Guest Sermon: Re'eh 2017 by Ken Cliffer

Mon, 08/21/2017 - 11:18am -- Rabbi Mina

Shabbat shalom!...Today I will consider the very beginning of the parsha, one point in the middle, and, very briefly, an implication for our current world.

Today's parsha opens with the word of its title, "Re'eh." This word means “see.” One of the words I focused on a year ago was “Sh’ma,” which is typically translated as “hear.” Two senses – seeing and hearing. Consider the difference. I’m thinking of seeing as seeing what is in the world, or what happens – and perhaps understanding it, as science helps us do. Hearing can be hearkening to a meaning, an underlying message. The beginning of this parsha has a version of both words in it, translating “re’eh,” the command form to a single person (you), as “see,” and “tish’ma’u,” the command form to the plural you (like you-all), as “obey.”

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