Torah Inspiration From Kornmehl Goat Farm, Israel from Rabbi Yonatan

Shalom from Rabbi Yonatan. This week I chose to present you with a short video Torah thought rather than a long written blog. Merav, my beautiful and brilliant spouse, shot this at the Kornmehl Goat Farm near Sde Boker in the Negev desert of Israel. (I inadvertently said Sderot in the clip, but definitely meant Sde Boker!) This place is very special and you would have to know that it exists in order to find it! It barely has a sign on the road blending into the desert landscape and you have to do some off-road driving to make it up the hill to arrive at this quaint little spot. The highlight is the little restaurant and cheese/dairy shop on the extremely isolated desert hill. I recommend their incredible goat cheese pizza, which they make from their very own goats! (all of their dairy products are hormone and antibiotic-free)

Photo Gallery from the Kornmehl Goat Farm

For those of you who enjoy my normal text study, I have included the Torah texts and commentaries that I mention or was i…

Holy Cow! Shabbat Parah! Good-bye Useless Guilt!

Holy Cow!  It's Shabbat Parah! Ridding Ourselves of Useless Guilt
Parshiot: Shemot, Vayakhel/Pekudei Maftir: (Bamidbar/Numbers 19 (1-22) Haftarah: Ezekiel 36 (16-38) (16-36 for Sefardim)
Do you suffer from pangs of guilt or shame? Do even really old memories bog you down and leave you feeling guilty or ashamed? What can you do about it? First, we all need to realize that nursing our "regrets" and being stuck in a place of guilt or shame stands in our way of serving our holy purpose in this world and that untreated guilt or shame continually works to extinguish the holy spark in our neshama (soul). You probably think that Rabbi Yonatan forgot what time of year this is, sounds like a homily for Yom Kippur! But don't forget that according to the Torah, the first month of the year (Rosh Hashanah) is only about a week away! It is what we now call the Hebrew month of Nissan, the month of Passover, the month of Spring (in Israel) and a time of new beginnings. As it is written: ״I…

Leaders Are Made, Not Born! Ki Tissa 5778

Leaders Are Made, Not Born!  Parashat Ki Tissa 16 Adar 5778 פרשת כי תשא ט"ז אדר תשע"ח Exodus 30:11-34:35 Haftara (Prophets) 1 Kings 18:1-39
"A leader takes people where theywant to go. A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go, but ought to be." —Rosalynn Carter

What makes a great leader and what is good leadership? We look to the Torah for role models. In this week's parashah, Ki Tissa, we read the account of the gravesin of the Israelites: the casting of the Golden Calf. This incident raises many questions, but the one I wish to raise is a question of leadership. Who is the true shepherd of the People? What positive and negative leadership traits do we find in Moses and Aaron? How do these qualities inform the decisions they made as leaders? We generally speak about and attribute the terrible sin of the Golden Calf to the Israelite People. But when a society

gets out of control, should we not question its leadership? When the kids at th…

Remembering to Forget?! Shabbat Zachor/Tetzaveh 5778

Remembering to Forget?! Shabbat Zachor/Tetzaveh Exodus 27:20-30:10 Maftir (End Ki Tetze) Deuteronomy 25:17-19 Haftarat Zachor: 1 Samuel 15:2-34

"I have a terrible memory. I never forget a thing."  - Edith Konecky Jewish American Novelist

This coming Shabbat is Shabbat Zachor. שבת זכור Shabbat Zachor(Sabbath of Remembrance) is the Sabbath immediately preceding the holiday of Purim. We read Devarim 25:17-19 (the end of Parasha Ki Teizei), describing the attack on the Israelites by the nation of Amalek. The short reading paradoxically commands us to both remember and forget what Amalek did to us when they attacked us in the wilderness!

Primary Text: ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Deuteronomy 25: 17-19 Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey, after you left Egypt--how, undeterred by the fear of God... He [Amalek] surprised and attacked your weakest ones from the rear, when you were [all] fatigued and weary. Therefore…