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Yom Kippur 5782        September 16,2021

Rabbi Randall J. Konigsburg

Gemar Tov – May our fasting and prayers today bring us to a good conclusion.
Rabbi Ed Feinstein of California tells the Hasidic story called, “The Storyteller.”
When the Ba’al Shem Tov, the founder of Hasidism died, his disciples gathered to distribute his worldly possessions. One was given his tefillin and another his shtender/lectern. One received his books and another his kiddush cup. 
At the end of the line waited...Read more...

Kol Nidre 5782                     September 15, 2021

Rabbi Randall J. Konigsburg

Tzom Kal, May all of us have an easy Fast.
We have been fighting this Pandemic of COVID 19 for a year and a half. As we sit here with masks and socially distant, we wonder what has changed over the past 18 months? But if we pause to think about last Yom Kippur and this Yom Kippur, we can see that we have come a long way.
Last year, we had to blow the shofar in our parking lot, and we needed to do Yizkor online and in advance. We were...Read more...

Rosh Hashana Day 2, 5782        September 8, 2021

Rabbi Randall J. Konigsburg

L’shana Tova U’metuka – I wish everyone a happy and sweet new year.
Five years ago, I was watching the news, shortly after Donald Trump became President of the United States. The news commentator had a problem. The President had said that day something that was undeniably false. It could be proven wrong. There was clear evidence that the President had told a lie. The commentator didn’t know what to do. It felt wrong to call the...Read more...

Rosh Hashana Day 1, 5782            September 7, 2021

Rabbi Randall J. Konigsburg

L’shana Tova U’metukah – May we be blessed with a sweet and good New Year.

There is a story, perhaps a myth, told by Dr. M. Scott Peck in his book, The Different Drum. It is called The Rabbi's Gift. 
The story concerns a monastery that had fallen upon hard times. Once a great order, all its branch houses were lost and it had become decimated to the extent that there were only five monks left in the decaying mother...Read more...

Ki TetzehAugust 21, 2021 

Rabbi Randall J. Konigsburg

Shabbat Shalom, 
It never ceases to amaze me how simple Halachot/Mitzvot/Laws of the Torah can have significance throughout the ages. Even if we think that they have long ago passed into disuse, somehow, they always find new meaning in a different era. This week’s parsha has no less than 72 mitzvot in it, more than any other parsha. As the Torah comes to its end, this parsha serves as a catch all for the miscellaneous laws that...Read more...

Shoftim   August 14, 2021

Rabbi Randall J. Konigsburg

Shabbat Shalom.

It was Kellyann Conway, an advisor to former President Trump who coined the phrase, “Alternative Facts”. It was an amazing change from the time of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan who reminded his colleagues that “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.”
This is now the world that we live in, a world where people argue about what the real “facts” are. This is the era...Read more...

Parshat Reeh August 7, 2021 

Rabbi Randall J. Konigsburg

Shabbat Shalom.
Rabbi Mordechai Silverstein is a good friend of mine; we attended Rabbinical School together and have stayed in touch even after he made Aliyah to Israel where he has lived and taught Torah for many years. He now has a Torah Blog that appears in the Times of Israel and this week his insights were not only sharp, but important as well.
In our Parsha, at the very beginning of Chapter 14 of Devarim, there is a commandment...Read more...

Parshat Ekev  July 31,2021 

Rabbi Randall J. Konigsburg

Shabbat Shalom

There is a radio podcast on NPR called, “This American Life” that is narrated by Ira Glass, a not very religious Jew who had a pretty religious background. I have listened to it from time to time, but I don’t really have much time to spend listening to radio. Dr. Neil Brooks, our member, told me that I should listen to a particular episode of the podcast, and if I can’t hear the whole thing, I should check out...Read more...

Parshat V’etchanan        July 24, 2021

Shabbat Shalom.

Ah, look at all the lonely people
Ah, look at all the lonely people
Eleanor Rigby
Died in the church and was buried along with her name
Nobody came
Father McKenzie
Wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave
No one was saved
All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?
The Beatles song, “Elinor Rigby”...Read more...

Parshat Balak Bar Mitzvah of Lucas Carlson   June 26, 2021 

Rabbi Randall J. Konigsburg

Shabbat Shalom 
Lucas,
We can talk all we want about Talking Donkeys, blessings, and curses and how to obey what God tells us but there is a very important underlying message in this Parsha that I want to call to your attention. 


Balak is a king who is used to getting what he wants. He also knows that when someone wants him to act on their behalf, they will have to come with some kind of a bribe to convince the...Read more...

 Parshat Hukkat June 19, 2021

Rabbi Randall J. Konigsburg

Shabbat Shalom
There are two things that stand out in Parshat Hukkat. One is the law of the Red Cow. It is striking because the law seems to contradict itself. It makes someone ritually pure no matter how severe the impurity might be, and yet, whoever handles the ashes becomes impure. How can something that purifies also be a source of impurity? I will leave that discussion for another day. 
The other part of the text of the...Read more...

Parshat Korah  June 21, 2021

Rabbi Randall J. Konigsburg

During the time of this pandemic, I have taken advantage of our time together to open discussions about issues in the Jewish community to let everyone have a chance to speak what is on their minds so we can learn from each other, and I can tailor my message to where you find yourselves today. I have greatly enjoyed these discussions. I know that not everyone is ready to speak up about their feelings on many of these topics, but I do think...Read more...

D’var Torah – Second Day Shavuot/Yizkor                      May 18, 2021

Rabbi Randall J. Konigsburg

The great Rabbi Akiva did not begin his studies until he was 40 years old. He had to go to school with his young son to learn to read. It is not recorded how embarrassed he was to be in an elementary school class at midlife, but he was determined to be something more than an illiterate shepherd. His wife encouraged him to be more than what he was, and as he learned the wisdom inside of him became apparent to all. 

On this holiday...Read more...

Torah Study: First Day of Shavuot   May 17, 2021

Rabbi Randall J. Konigsburg

Bex Stern Rosenblatt, who’s words have appeared frequently in these study sheets, last week raised an important issue that we should contemplate on this first day of Shavuot. Shavuot is the holiday we celebrate the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai. A close reading of the text may cause us to wonder if this was a book/scroll handed to us by God when Moses stood on top of the mountain, or if the teachings that God taught to Moses became the...Read more...

Yom Kippur 5780. October 9, 2019

Rabbi Randall Konigsburg

Gemar Hatima Tova – May we be sealed for Good in the Book of Life.

 

The late Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi used to tell a story about a man who heard that Shabbat, in the town of Libush, when its rabbi was still alive, was...Read more...

Kol Nidre 5780. October 8, 2019

Rabbi Randall Konigsburg

I wish everyone a Tzom Kal – an easy fast

 

African story of the Sky Maiden: tribe notices that someone is stealing milk. Young man stays up all night to catch the thief. Just before dawn, beautiful woman comes down on beam of...Read more...

Rosh Hashanah 5780. September 30, 2019

Rabbi Randall Konigsburg

Hag Sameach

Many years ago, when my children were young, they decided one Sukkot that they wanted to sleep in our Sukkah. The sukkah was in the back yard; there was a solid fence around the yard, and it should have been a pretty safe place for children to spend the night....Read more...

Nitzavim: Prehistoric Teshuva. September 28, 2019

Rabbi Randall Konigsburg

Text:

וּמָל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֶת-לְבָבְךָ וְאֶת-לְבַב זַרְעֶךָ לְאַהֲבָה אֶת-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּכָל-לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל-נַפְשְׁךָ לְמַעַן חַיֶּיךָ.

Then the Lord your God will open up your heart and the hearts of...Read more...

Ekev.  August 24, 2019

Rabbi Randall Konigsburg

Shabbat Shalom

When I was very young, my family lived just over a half mile from our synagogue. We walked to shul every Shabbat and Holiday. We lived so close that when visiting speakers needed to be housed for Shabbat near the shul, we always offered our home. And yet,...Read more...

V'etchanan.  August 17, 2019

Rabbi Randall Konigsburg

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbis always face a hard decision every Shabbat. Sometimes the news calls us to speak out about injustice in the world. Judaism is about justice and we need to remind our congregations about our commitment to justice. Sometimes terrible disasters, man-made...Read more...

Devarim.  August 10, 2019

Rabbi Randall Konigsburg

Shabbat Shalom
As we returned from our trip to Great Britain, we had a selection of movies to help us pass the time on the long flight across the Atlantic. In the classics section was the famous movie, “Casablanca” with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. It was a good opportunity to connect with a favorite movie, so Michelle and I settled in to “play it again.”
There is a long set at the beginning of the movie where the...Read more...

Hukkat.  July 13, 2019

Rabbi Randall Konigsburg

Shabbat Shalom

As the Israelites work their way across the desert, moving away from the Promised Land, it becomes apparent that the people will have to rethink what this journey is all about. From the moment they left Egypt, they had looked forward to their arrival at the country that God had promised their ancestors. Now,...Read more...

Korach. July 6, 2019

Rabbi Randall Konigsburg

Shabbat Shalom

In the Torah, it is called “The Great Rebellion” - Korach and his followers rebel against the leadership of Moshe Rabbenu, Moses our Teacher. There are so many reasons for this rebellion that modern commentators believe that it is a compilation of...Read more...

Shelach Lecha: When God is not God. June 29, 2019

Rabbi Randall Konigsburg

 

יא וַיֹּאמֶר ה’ אֶל-מֹשֶׁה עַד-אָנָה יְנַאֲצֻנִי הָעָם הַזֶּה וְעַד-אָנָה לֹא-יַאֲמִינוּ בִי בְּכֹל הָאֹתוֹת אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתִי בְּקִרְבּוֹ .יב אַכֶּנּוּ בַדֶּבֶר וְאוֹרִשֶׁנּוּ וְאֶעֱשֶׂה אֹתְךָ...Read more...

Bahaalotecha. June 22, 2019

Rabbi Randall Konigsburg

Shabbat Shalom

Sometimes the Torah surprises us with something that seems so easy and yet it contains a very deep lesson. At the beginning of our Parsha, Aaron is told to go ahead and light the lamp that will burn inside the Mishkan, the central tent of the portable...Read more...

Naso: The Spirit Within. June 15, 2019

Rabbi Randall Konigsburg

 

יג וְקָרְבָּנוֹ קַעֲרַת-כֶּסֶף אַחַת שְׁלֹשִׁים וּמֵאָה מִשְׁקָלָהּ מִזְרָק אֶחָד כֶּסֶף שִׁבְעִים שֶׁקֶל בְּשֶׁקֶל הַקֹּדֶשׁ שְׁנֵיהֶם מְלֵאִים סֹלֶת בְּלוּלָה...Read more...

Bamidbar: Shavuot.  June 8, 2019

Rabbi Randall Konigsburg

Hag Sameach

There is a very interesting explanation about parshat Bamidbar, the parsha read a couple of days ago. There is a small repetition in the text, when the People of Israel are instructed on how they should march in the desert on their way to the Promised Land....Read more...

Bechukotai.  June 1, 2019

Rabbi Randall Konigsburg

Shabbat Shalom

The Torah is filled with commandments and laws that are designed to help us live better lives. Lives that are more spiritual, lives that help us live with other people in peace and harmony. The laws of fairness and justice are well known to help us be creative in our lives and at the same time prevents us from becoming selfish and...Read more...

Behar: Abortion in Jewish Law.  May 25, 2019

Rabbi Randall Konigsburg

יָשִׁית עָלָיו בַּעַל הָאִשָּׁה וְנָתַן בִּפְלִלִים. כג וְאִם-אָסוֹן יִהְיֶה וְנָתַתָּה נֶפֶשׁ תַּחַת נָפֶשׁ. כד עַיִן תַּחַת עַיִן שֵׁן תַּחַת שֵׁן יָד תַּחַת יָד רֶגֶל תַּחַת...Read more...

Kodashim. May 11, 2019

Rabbi Randall Konigsburg

Shabbat Shalom

One of the most difficult concepts in Judaism is Holiness. The Hebrew word for “holy” is “Kodesh”. Like all Hebrew words, it has a three-letter root that carries the meaning of “separate”; something that is holy is separate from other mundane or ordinary things. It gives us a hint of what Holiness is all about; it is not mundane or ordinary, but it still...Read more...

Mon, October 25 2021 19 Cheshvan 5782