By: Sara Brandes | June 14, 2019

reflection by Rabbi Daniel Silverstein

“The Eternal One spoke to Moses, saying: Have two silver trumpets made; make them of hammered work. They shall serve you to summon the community and to set the divisions in motion” (Numbers 10:2)

The following verses state that these trumpets are blown to assemble the people and to signal their movement. They are blown in times of distress and conflict, and times of joy and celebration, to evoke Divine remembrance and connect the people to the Eternal.

The Maggid of Mezritch, the great leader of the second generation of the Chasidic movement, bases one of his most important teachings on this verse (see Or Torah 134). The trumpets, in Hebrew are called chatzotzrot. The Maggid, in a typically...

By: Sara Brandes | April 19, 2019

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If you’re plugged into Jewish consciousness, then this week house-cleaning is on your mind, as both the weekly Torah reading (Parashat Metzora) and the Jewish calendar take the messiness that can arise in our homes as their subject. Parashat Metzora (Leviticus 14-15) offers us the mysterious dynamics of a form of leprosy that attacked the walls of the home, just when we are scrubbing kitchens to rid them of any last traces of glutenous crumbs before Passover. Both invite us to consider how our attention impacts our environment and how our environment can support or hinder our practice.

Hassidic Judaism turns the process of cleaning for Pesach inward, inv...