Showing posts from September, 2013

The way out: a true story and allegory

This morning, after dropping my son off, I left my car window open because it was hot and I was planning to go out again just a couple of hours later. When I got into my car, I saw feathers (pictured here) and other evidence of a bird's presence. I thought, "I hope it founds its way out."

The frantic flapping I heard indicated that  my hope was in vain. Clearly, the bird had not managed to find that the opening that had let it in was the only possible exit. I got out and opened the trunk back of the mini-van and was sure to stand out of the way. A very small bird (amazing that it had that many feathers to spare!) quickly flew out.

I thought about this in connection to Yom Kippur. The idea is connected to Rabbeinu Yonah's image of escape from a prison.  A lot of us feel trapped in a spiritual sense. We can't find that small opening where we fell into the trap and so feel that we can't ever get out. The gift of Yom Kippur is that another exit opens up, and we c…

On 9/11, faith, and the fifth question

This afternoon I heard Rabbi Eli Mansour give the best  shiur I've ever heard on emunah [faith]. What I mean by "best" is not most entertaining but the most substantive and honest approach I've ever heard. It was videotaped. Look under "Ohel Sarah Amen Group" to find it at Really, I can't do the shiur justice here, so I urge everyone to take the time to listen to it. It's now up at; another version in the link below.*

He speaks a bit about September 11th at the end, though he starts off by talking about Amen as an affirmation of faith and the perennial problem of tzadik vera lo. What impressed me in particular about his approach is the approach to faith devoid of Pollyanna perspective. 

The fifth question is something he brings up in relaying what a rabbi answered him about a question on faith when confronted with the apparent lack of fairness in a world in which the good do suff…

not in a bottle

What doesn't come in a bottle. It takes a lifetime of work.

Shana tova and roundup of Rosh Hashana posts