By Rabbi Norman Lamm The Book of Ruth read on Shavuot is a beautiful and inspiring story, instructive to us in many ways. The story itself is fairly simple, and most of us are, or should be, well acquainted with…
Who are the heroes of Chanukah? by Sara Yoheved Rigler The founders of the “Jewish Olympics” had a formidable task. To find a name for the games, they had to pick through Jewish history and find a hero who, if…
Blessing the Children by Mrs. Lori Palatnik
A magic, eternal moment of connection for parents and children.
It is a beautiful custom to bless your children every Friday night; it’s a moment filled with love and meaning, especially when you understand the source behind such a tradition.
The Blessing for Sons
One of the Fathers of the Jewish people was Jacob, who had 12 sons who were to grow to become the leaders of the 12 tribes of Israel. The next-to-youngest son was Joseph, who had two sons, Ephraim and Menashe.
Just before Jacob died, he called all his sons for a final blessing. As a special reward to Joseph, who remained righteous throughout his ordeal of exile, he calls forward Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Menashe, and gives them a special blessing, as well as two portions of the Land of Israel:
A distinguished scholar once commented that if Israel had a counterpart to the ecstatic dances for Dionysus it was “King David dancing before the Ark of God’s covenant” . This strikingly vivid analogy is misleading.
The festival of joy, Sukkoth can clarify the gulf between the forms of ancient Greek and Hebrew joy. Dionysus is the god of the life force, of the amoral and irrational vitality that does not accept boundaries or constraints, overwhelming all forms and norms that impede its transformative urges. It is essentially antinomian, opposed to tradition and even to nature and the social order based on the laws of nature such as distinctions between the sexes. The antinomian, metamorphic drive of Dionysian power is violent and relentless as demonstrated by the great play of Euripides .
The joy of Israel is an ordered gladness expressing the code of encompassing order and an integrated life path contained in Torah. The vital power and energies released by the order of Torah is inexhaustible, humbling and ennobling: it protects in order to liberate. The paradoxical combination of humble nobility also is articulated by the worshippers of Dionysus, at least in The Bacchae but his energies exhaust themselves regularly like volcanoes, revolutions, fads or sexual passions. The metamorphic drive to overwhelm boundaries and dissolve consciousness in communal rapture leaves physical, emotional and intellectual pools, often of blood that soon are stagnant bearers of disease.
After the Obama administration voiced “dismay” earlier this month at the decision by the Jerusalem municipality to approve 900 new housing units in the Jewish neighborhood of Gilo, straddling the Green Line, former housing minister Meir Sheetrit quipped that the White House seems to think that Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel since Camp David, not King David.