What Happens To A Dream Deferred?

The Dvar/article below is also available as a Podcast, simply click any of the following options: Apple, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud,  &/or Youtube. ________________________________________________________ So much of emunah (faith) and connectedness revolve around sleep and dreams, at least for me. In moments of faithlessness and doubt, I sometimes get overwhelmed with anxiety and find it hard to sleep– thoughts are racing through my head, and I find it hard not to think of things from every angle. It’s a cycle that is sometimes tough to quiet, at least enough to slip into slumber. Dreams, too, however far out, are often connected to the state each of us are in at that time. Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic approach to oneirology (the scientific study of dreams) is that they are partially drawn from experiences and stimuli in the waking world. He says that dreams are …

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Your Other Side

The Dvar/article below is also available as a Podcast, simply click any of the following options: Apple, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud,  &/or Youtube. ________________________________________________________ It seems that in almost every moment of our lives we are caught between two choices: the easier or more selfish choice and something a bit harder, a selfless choice. Sometimes safek (doubt) blurs the lines between the two, but often, if we tap into emunah (faith) and our gut, we know which is the one for us. Every action affects every other action. The fact that it takes so long to break a habit shows that every single action has ramifications beyond it. That’s why it says in Pirkei Avot, the reward for a mitzvah is a mitzvah, because if doing good begets doing good, one can take action to stay in perpetual goodness, or God forbid, …

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The Future is Female

The Dvar/article below is also available as a Podcast, simply click any of the following options: Apple, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud,  &/or Youtube. ________________________________________________________ The Talmud teaches that “In the merit of righteous women, our ancestors were redeemed from Egypt”. Redemption is intrinsically related to women, malchut (sovereignty), and the Divine feminine dimension.  I mentioned in my dvar on parashat Lech-Lecha that when I think of my mother, I think of tzedakah and chessed, words that are hard to translate because they capture the real depths of words like ‘generous’, ‘giving’, ‘loving’, and ‘kindness’. My mom embodied and exemplified these qualities to an angelic degree: so full of life, love, warmth, and light, at every turn, every single moment. Being around that inspired me to be more loving, more giving, more full of a zest for each moment in life. As I read …

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Greetings From The Edge Of The World

The Dvar/article below is also available as a Podcast, simply click any of the following options: Apple, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud,  &/or Youtube. ________________________________________________________ I wrote this last year when I was going through a tough week, and I was hearing from so many others that they too were going through a lot of difficulties. It makes us realize how each of us are our own complex universes and each universe is affected by the other. It’s why spreading joy and light is such an important part of life, as each person has the ability to ignite the other person’s light and positive outlook, or God forbid, diminish it. As it is written in the holy Zohar: “If, from down here below, a person shows a luminous countenance, in the same way does a luminous Countenance shine upon him from Above, and …

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Go To Yourself

The Dvar/article below is also available as a Podcast, simply click any of the following options: Apple, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud,  &/or Youtube. ________________________________________________________ Most of us find it challenging to truly go inward. With life’s endless stream of distractions, our desire to be loved and to fit in (in whatever ways that manifests) keep us focused outward. Abraham, the father of the Jewish tradition, discovered the Truth by searching what it meant to be his true self and the responsibilities that come with being one’s true self, while those around him had fallen to worshipping desires and false idols. As we see from this Parashah, sometimes to go further in, you have to go further out.  וַיֹּ֤אמֶר ה֙ אֶל־אַבְרָ֔ם לֶךְ־לְךָ֛ מֵאַרְצְךָ֥ וּמִמּֽוֹלַדְתְּךָ֖ וּמִבֵּ֣ית אָבִ֑יךָ אֶל־הָאָ֖רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר אַרְאֶֽךָּ׃  God said to Abram, “Go forth from your land, from your birthplace, and from …

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Found A World So New

The Dvar/article below is also available as a Podcast, simply click any of the following options: Apple, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud,  &/or Youtube. ________________________________________________________ This week is the famous story of Noach and the flood. The entire generation had fallen to the Sitra Achra (the Other Side) and Hashem calls Noach righteous and perfect. Noach built an ark and then rain fell for 40 days. Hundreds of days later, after a dove was sent out and returned with an olive branch in its mouth, Noach knew redemption had come and it was time to fully move forward. This story represents something that everyone faces at one point or another in their lives: Becoming the hero of our own story, building an ark, and filling ourselves up with the hope of redemption. It is up to each of us to strengthen ourselves continually …

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Just Keep Me Where The Light Is

The Dvar/article below is also available as a Podcast, simply click any of the following options: Apple, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud,  &/or Youtube. _____________________________________________________________ This parashah of Bereishit, especially the first aliyah, contains almost all of the mind-blowing kabbalistic concepts of the Light of Infinite in it. When Hashem said, Let There Be Light…. And It Was Good, it clues us into the purpose of Creation– to reveal light and goodness in this world.  “And God said, let there be light, and there was light.” This was the first utterance (‘vayomer’/’and God said’) by which Hashem created the world and the first of its creations. The Lubavitcher Rebbe, in his Likkutei Sichot, asks why light would be created before anything else, as light has no value in and of itself; its usefulness depends on the existence of other things, which are illuminated …

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And Never Become That Which Is Not God

The Dvar/article below is also available as a Podcast, simply click any of the following options: Apple, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud,  &/or Youtube. _____________________________________________________________ When I was a kid, I didn’t like that my first and middle name were so different, so unique. I hadn’t met anyone that had either name, Erez or Nevo. I would tell my family that I wanted to legally change from Erez to Eric, so that at least I would have one name that would be familiar to people. As I grew up, I came to love the name Erez, as it felt like the name Madonna or Prince; no one ever said or even knew my last name. It wasn’t needed, because I could never be confused with anyone else. I still felt sort of shy when it came to my middle name; to this day …

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The Secret To Being In Harmony With Each Other & The Universe

The Dvar/article below is also available as a Podcast, simply click any of the following options: Apple, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud,  &/or Youtube. _____________________________________________________________ My mom (Frida Levona bat Shalom) taught Talmud to women, made sculptures, painted, played accordion and became a partner/CPA at an accounting firm in Washington, D.C. She was incredible. I see her in my kids, and I’m thankful for that. I can’t not tear up just writing even this little bit about her. Since she passed away, I have started projects to try to share her light and inspire as many people as I can as a way to keep her soul elevated and her memory alive. Kaddish is a beautiful way to do this; saying the prayer out loud, as others join in with an ‘Amen’, is a moving ritual. And as I’m writing this, we are …

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The Song That Saved My Life

The Dvar/article below is also available as a Podcast, simply click any of the following options: Apple, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud,  &/or Youtube. _____________________________________________________________ The Rashbam says the entire book of Devarim (Deuteronomy) is called שירה, “Song, Poem.” This Parashah instructs us to “write this song for yourselves”. This song is the Torah, and we learn from here that it is a mitzvah to write a Torah scroll. We see this week that Torah is synonymous with Song. As I reflect on my life, I realize that song has always led me. Throughout my childhood, it always had a transformative power. Some of my earliest memories are listening to Michael Jackson’s Thriller album on vinyl when I lived in Naples, Italy. I would dance to it in a way that I felt as if I was reaching another dimension, physically and emotionally. I …

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