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Showing posts from April, 2008
Tazria/Metzora 5768/2008: “Human Boundaries and Inclusion© Rabbi Menachem CreditorEvery year the weeks leading up to Pesach include the Torah portions Tazria and Metzora, which enumerate many rules regarding ritual fitness surrounding such bodily experiences as skin ailments and childbirth. The rules for the ‘Metzora’, the person afflicted by a spiritual skin disease (‘tzara’at,’ consistently mistranslated as leprosy) teach that if a person suspects that they have tzara’at, the Kohein/priest must examine them for diagnosis. If they are found to truly have tzara’at, they are sent outside of the camp. Today’s incarnation of the Kohein is the religious leadership who are the gatekeepers, either restricting people from or admitting people to community. Rabbi Chayim ben Attar (1696-1743) of Italy and Jerusalem pointed to a fascinating aspect of the Torah’s instructions. In his “Or HaChayim” he comments on a strange doubling of language in Lev. 13:45, where we read, “As for the Metzora pe…

Finding Spiritual Jewish Prayer

Rabbi Menachem CreditorCertain times in my life I've felt an indescribable emotional connection exploding within me through Tefilah/Prayer.

The first time came upon me when a group of fellow Yeshiva High School graduates and I sat in a dark, candle-lit room on Tisha Be'Av at Camp Ramah Nyack. We sang old and new soft Jewish songs and desperately tried to evoke the sadness of ancient Jewish loss with modern Jewish vitality. I only knew a few of the songs, but found myself carried higher – even by those I didn't know.

The second time occurred when I first visited the Carlebach Moshav in Israel, founded by those who followed Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach from the House of Love and Prayer in San Francisco to establish a spiritual community in Israel, the Jewish soul's home. Friday night davenning was the first time I ever had a Mamish/real Kabbalat Shabbat. A native son of the Moshav and I began tapping and banging the tables in front of us during Lecha Dodi, more and more rhythmi…