Weekly Wisdom

Dear Friends,
Given the dark forces at work conniving and dealing in the governance and leadership of our country, Chanukah this year is of profound significance. The eight kindlings of the little fires, are far more than a joyous custom – every night this Chanukah is a ceremony that in small measure returns balance to the light and dark of the world.
In one rambling passage of the Talmud, the rabbis have stumbled onto the question of whether it is appropriate for someone who is blind to make the blessing of the luminaries. What a great title for a blessing! It is a blessing of gratitude over the sun and moon, that light up our day and night, allowing us to make our way through the world.
Rabbi Yossi finally answers. He says, I didn’t understand the concept until one night, I was walking in the the thick black of night and I saw a man coming my way. He was carrying a torch. But when he got close I saw that he was blind. I said to him, my son, what good is the lamp to you? He said, as long as the torch is in my hand, others see me, and they save me from pits and thorns and thistles. Rabbi Yossi understood, it is fitting even for someone who is blind, to bless the light.
There is a vulnerability to wading in the darkness, and each of us is limited by our own gifts and capacities. We are dependent on others, on our communities, to step in and help us make our way through a dark world.
But the teaching also hints at a deeper truth. That we are capable of carrying lights that we don’t even have the ability to see. We can carry actions, wisdoms, insights, truths, intuitions whose light isn’t apparent yet, because we aren’t ready to see it, for this or that reason. But others can see that light within us, and with it, they will help us make our way.
You don’t even know the lights you hold! Be a torch in the dark, that others may walk in your light.
Shabbat Shalom & Happy Chanukah!
Rabbi Zach



December 8, 2017

  Dear Friends,    From among the great myths of civilization there rises a mountain.  Jewish people believe that their ancestor Abraham nearly killed his son on that mountain, the near sacrifice, a proof of the love bond between God and Israel, would continue forever.  Generations later a man named Jesus pursued a life of […]

December 1, 2017

  Dear Friends,   A student of ours, Hannah, will celebrate her Bat Mitzvah tomorrow. She’s drawn a portion full of great material: Jacob wrestling an angel, an overdue encounter with his angry brother. But Hannah has chosen to address the most difficult story in the portion – the rape of Dinah. Many students avoid […]

November 17, 2017

  Dear Friends,   The annual Torah cycle has us telling the stories of a generational saga of adventure, trauma, ecstasy, and infertility – as if to remind us – all families are nuts! The whole set-up is absurd: too much love, too much feeling, in too much proximity. And yet, the work of spiritual […]

November 10, 2017

  Dear Friends,   I was born yesterday, according to the solar calendar; by the calendar of the Hebrews, I was born on the full moon of Cheshvan/Scorpio.  Perhaps in alignment with my astrological sign, the day was for me an extended meditation on death, rebirth, degeneration, regeneration, the symbols stories and acts that appear […]

November 3, 2017

  Dear Friends,   I’m searching for language for the catastrophe that befell New York City this week. We were in a car returning from a barn dance Halloween party, little Elmo falling asleep, and the driver called it an accident. English was not the driver’s mother tongue, and I assume he implied only one […]