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Keeping in Mind Those Who are Unwell

Posted on 07/01/2019 by Rabbi Yaakov Bieler in Beliefs and Practices
Jewish liturgy reminds us regularly of the fundamental Jewish value to direct our thoughts, wishes, concerns, as well as helpful actions, to those who are ill.Sometimes we are called upon to have in mind...

Appreciating and Acknowledging the source of Human Intelligence

Posted on 06/02/2019 by Rabbi Yaakov Bieler in Beliefs and Practices
When I taught in Jewish Middle and High Schools over the course of more than forty years, I would always make clear to the members of my classes that when I returned a quiz or a test, the results were...

“Peace” as a Key Jewish Value

Posted on 05/09/2019 by Rabbi Yaakov Bieler in Beliefs and Practices
Some are presently contending that Judaism in general, and the Jewish people in particular, in their pursuit of autonomy, respect in the eyes of the world, and an independent state, are overly militant and...

“Reverse Anthropomorphism”

Posted on 04/07/2019 by Rabbi Yaakov Bieler in Beliefs and Practices
A Talmudic passage describing God in a dialectical manner. At the end of each Shabbat, a lengthy prayer, beginning with the words, “VaYetein LeCha…” (“And may He Give you…) is...

No One Should Feel Alone

Posted on 03/05/2019 by Rabbi Yaakov Bieler in Beliefs and Practices
When a person engages in prayer, it seems to me that it is very important for him/her to personalize the prayers as much as possible. The goal is to make the statements and supplications your own, even if...

Being Charged to Address the Needs of Others

Posted on 02/10/2019 by Rabbi Yaakov Bieler in Beliefs and Practices
The Talmud views the centrality of Psalm 145 in Jewish liturgy as something extremely spiritually vibrant. Berachot 4aR. Eleazar b. Avina says: Whoever recites (the psalm beginning with the words)...

Prayer as a Form of Wishes

Posted on 01/03/2019 by Rabbi Yaakov Bieler in Beliefs and Practices
January 2019For a curriculum that I created many years ago concerning Jewish identity, I proposed that one can draw significant lessons regarding the aspirations of various cultures by closely reading their...

Feeling Deep Compassion for the Oppressed

Posted on 12/02/2018 by Rabbi Yaakov Bieler in Beliefs and Practices
A particularly moving paragraph that is recited by the entire congregation of pray-ers as part of the Shacharit (morning) services on Mondays and Thursdays, before the Tora is returned to the Ark, describes...

Learning From Psalms by Rabbi Yaakov Bieler

Posted on 11/04/2018 by Rabbi Yaakov Bieler in Beliefs and Practices
While Jewish liturgy very much emphasizes God’s various attributes, in the spirit of “imitateo Dei” (learning from God’s macro example to embody, as best we can, Godly behavior on our...

Controlling One’s Emotions in Order to Become a Better Person -- Yaakov Bieler

Posted on 10/23/2018 by Rabbi Yaakov Bieler in Beliefs and Practices
The “Binding of Isaac” (Genesis 22:1-18) is an iconic event in the Bible, and has transcended its religious context, to become part of the corpus of the classics of Western literature. While it is...
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