Oct 18 2013
This post is part of our new Torah commentary series. This week we read Parashat Vayera. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.
This week’s Torah portion is called Vayera, and it tells the story of an extremely questionable parenting decision.
God commands Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. And Abraham agrees. In one of the most emotional, cinematic scenes in all of Torah, father and son walk slowly up the mountain. At the last minute, God provides a ram, and Isaac is spared.
But Abraham’s willingness to offer up his son has sparked many centuries of commentary. How could a father agree to such a thing? What was Abraham thinking? Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 11 2013
This post is part of our new Torah commentary series. This week we read Parashat Lekh L’kha. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.
There is little that breaks the heart of a parent more than leaving their child in the care of a stranger for the first time. Daycare drop off, new babysitter, even the first day of kindergarten–these necessary experiences all yield that same gut punch: letting go of a sweaty hand, watching your tiny child–did they ever seem so small?–walk forward into the unknown. Your stomach drops. You inhale sharply. Did I just do that? Did I just send my baby off, alone?
Maybe she’s looking back at you, eyes enormous, and crying. Arms outstretched, in that moment, she doesn’t think she’ll survive without you near, and you don’t think you will either. Or, maybe he’s bolted forward and found a friend, a toy, or a teacher he takes to quickly. Maybe it’s a matter of hours before your child has adjusted; maybe it takes your kid weeks or months. Maybe your baby doesn’t ever adjust but you keep trying, you keep dragging her to the edge of the pool and throwing her in. “Go!” you say, “Swim!”
In this week’s Torah portion Lekh L’kha, we watch as God throws Abraham into the water. “Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you,” God commands. Leave your home behind. Step into the unknown. Trust me. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 4 2013
This post is part of our new Torah commentary series. This week we read Parashat Noah. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.
You know the dirty look you get at a café when you turn your back for a second and your toddler gets her sticky hands very close to the laptop of the guy working at the next table?
I used to feel terrible when I got that look. After all, not so long ago, I was that guy with the laptop. And so I know exactly what he’s thinking: “Can’t you control your child?”
To be clear: common courtesy is important. I don’t want my kid messing with my own laptop, much less anyone else’s. And if she’s making a ton of noise in a quiet place, I do my best to get her out of there as fast as I can.
But still, she’s a kid, and I’m a mother, and sometimes we’re on a walk and I woke up at 6 a.m. and I want a cup of coffee, and at those moments, we’re the obnoxious people in the hipster café. And in the past few months I’ve stopped feeling quite so bad about it. Read the rest of this entry →
Sep 25 2013
This is the first post in our new Torah commentary series. This week we read Parashat Bereshit. To learn more, click here.
The Torah begins at the beginning, with the creation of the world.
We often think of creation as making something out of nothing. An artist takes a blank canvas, marks it up with colors, and voila: a painting. A builder takes an empty plot of land, builds on it: a house. A baby is born, and there’s a tiny human where before was just…air?
But wait. Something was there before the baby…I can almost remember…oh yeah, it was what I called “my life”! Read the rest of this entry →
Sep 24 2013
As Simchat Torah fast approaches and the new Torah reading cycle begins, Kveller is very excited to announce the launch of a new weekly series–Torah commentary from a new mother’s perspective. The series will be led by Alicia Jo Rabins, a multi-talented musician, writer, teacher, and mother.
So what will make this Torah commentary different from all other Torah commentaries? Here’s what Alicia has to say:
My daughter Sylvia is 16 months old. Everyone said having her would change my life, and it wasn’t that I didn’t believe them, but… I didn’t realize becoming a mother would change ME so much. Life looks different from this vantage point. Read the rest of this entry →