Inspiration Through Torah in 5776: Re’eh

BS”D

reeh-12This week we are studying the Torah portion Re’eh. In this week’s portion, we are exhorted to not worship Hashem in the way that the nations around us worship their gods, we are instructed to offer sacrifices at the place that Hashem has chosen, told of the importance of kosher slaughter and given a list of kosher animals, warned about false prophets, and given overview of the three pilgrimmage feasts of Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot.

You may decide to read the portion in one sitting, or you might decide to do the FULL KRIYAH which breaks up the parsha so that you can pace yourself and concentrate on a smaller section each day.

This week, the readings for the Torah portion for each day of the week will be as follows:

1: 11:26-12:10 (17 p’sukim)

2: 12:11-28 (18 p’sukim)

3: 12:29-13:19 (22 p’sukim)

4: 14:1-21 (21 p’sukim)

5: 14:22-29 (8 p’sukim)

6: 15:1-18 (18 p’sukim)

7: 15:19-16:17 (22 p’sukim)

In addition to the Torah portion, the haftarah portion is Isaiah 54:11 – 55:5.

The accompanying psalm to be read on Shabbat for this week’s double portion is 97.

Continue to journal this week, writing down your thoughts, themes, and Bible verses that come to mind for the individual days, and/or week. If you’d like to focus on personal character development with a larger community, see “Mussar” below the Torah study materials.

Torah Study Materials

Reading materials

Torah Portion Study Guides from Tony Robinson

The Creation Gospel Torah Portions: Devarim by Dr. Hollisa Alewine

Audio/Visual

The Parsha Experiment from the AlephBeta team on this week’s parsha.

Torah teachings (from the Torah cycle 5772) by L. Grant Luton

Mussar (Personal Character Development)

This week, we are going back to the the middah (virtue) of hakarat ha-tov, which is  translated as gratitude. Sometimes we take all the blessings we’ve been given by Hashem for granted, so it is really important to practice gratitude and thankfulness even for the smallest things.

At the top of a 4×6 card write, Hakarat Ha-tov (Gratitude). Underneath that, list each item for quick reference (suggestions come from Riverton Mussar):

  • Think of some positive aspects of your life today and express your gratitude and appreciation.
  • Send a card to someone you know and express your gratitude and appreciation.
  • Express your gratitude to a stranger who is serving you in some capacity today.
  • After every meal this week, say a prayer of gratitude. This can either be a traditional blessing from the siddur or perhaps a heartfelt spontaneous prayer. (This is the one we try to sing: Blessing After the Meal)

Put the card in a prominent place, so you might be able to refer to it often throughout the day.

Extras:

Gratitude

The Science Behind Gratitude

 

Blessings and Shalom,

S~

Inspiration Through Torah in 5776: Eikev

BS”D
ruthie3This week we are studying the Torah portion Eikev, which retells the story of the golden calf, the two sets of tablets, and the exhortation by Moses to the people to remember from Whom all their blessings come after they enter the Land, and the instruction to circumcise their hearts.

You may decide to read this double portion in one sitting, or you might decide to do the FULL KRIYAH which breaks up the parsha so that you can pace yourself and concentrate on a smaller section each day.

This week, the readings for the Torah portion for each day of the week will be as follows:

1: 7:12-8:10 (25 p’sukim)

2: 8:11-9:3 (13 p’sukim)

3: 9:4-29 (26 p’sukim)

4: 10:1-11 (11 p’sukim)

5: 10:12-11:9 (20 p’sukim)

6: 11:10-21 (12 p’sukim)

7: 11:22-25 (4 p’sukim)

In addition to the Torah portion, the haftarah portion is Isaiah 49:14 – 51:3.

The accompanying psalms to be read on Shabbat for this week’s double portion is 90.

Continue to journal this week, writing down your thoughts, themes, and Bible verses that come to mind for the individual days, and/or week. If you’d like to focus on personal character development with a larger community, see “Mussar” below the Torah study materials.

Torah Study Materials

Reading materials

Torah Portion Study Guides from Tony Robinson

The Creation Gospel Torah Portions: Devarim by Dr. Hollisa Alewine

Audio/Visual

The Parsha Experiment from the AlephBeta team on this week’s parsha.

Torah teachings (from the Torah cycle 5772) by L. Grant Luton

Mussar (Personal Character Development)

This week, we are going continue to the middot (attributes) of anava and ga’avah or arrogance. You may remember we focused on these back in March. As we enter the season of repentance leading up to the High Holidays, it is important to reevaluate ourselves, so that we come to those days with a proper attitude.

Note: Fill out a 4×6 card; at the top write Anava (Humility). Under the virtue, write out the suggested practices (courtesy of Riverton Mussar) listed below. Put this card in a prominent place to help you walk out this virtue in your day to day life.

  • In a conversation, focus intently on what the other person is saying and not on what you will say next.
  • Practice active listening, and talk less.
  • Prefer someone’s needs over yours.
  • When someone says something that does not agree with your opinion, hold your tongue, and let it go.

You might also benefit from these teachings:

 

The fear of the LORD is what wisdom teaches, and humility comes before honor. Proverbs 15:33

Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:8

Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor. Proverbs 18:12

The result of humility is fear of the LORD, along with wealth, honor, and life. Proverbs 22:4

Blessings and Shalom for a good week,
S~

Inspiration Through Torah in 5776: Vaetchanan

BS”D

the-ten-wordsThis week we are studying the Torah portion Vaetchanan, which reiterates the Ten Commandments that were given at Mount Sinai.

You may decide to read this double portion in one sitting, or you might decide to do the FULL KRIYAH which breaks up the parsha so that you can pace yourself and concentrate on a smaller section each day.

This week, the readings for the Torah portion for each day of the week will be as follows:

1: 3:23-4:4 (11 p’sukim)

2: 4:5-40 (36 p’sukim)

3: 4:41-49 (9 p’sukim)

4: 5:1-18 (18 p’sukim)

5: 5:19-6:3 (15 p’sukim)

6: 6:4-25 (22 p’sukim)

7: 7:1-11 (11 p’sukim)

In addition to the Torah portion, the haftarah portion is Isaiah 40:1 – 40:26.

The accompanying psalms to be read on Shabbat for this week’s double portion is 90.

Continue to journal this week, writing down your thoughts, themes, and Bible verses that come to mind for the individual days, and/or week. If you’d like to focus on personal character development with a larger community, see “Mussar” below the Torah study materials.

Torah Study Materials

Reading materials

Torah Portion Study Guides from Tony Robinson

The Creation Gospel Torah Portions: Devarim by Dr. Hollisa Alewine

Audio/Visual

The Parsha Experiment from the AlephBeta team on this week’s parsha.

Torah teachings (from the Torah cycle 5772) by L. Grant Luton

Mussar (Personal Character Development)

This week, we are going back to the middot (attributes) of anava and ga’avah or arrogance. You may remember we focused on these back in March. As we enter the season of repentance leading up to the High Holidays, it is important to reevaluate ourselves, so that we come to those days with a proper attitude.

Note: Fill out a 4×6 card; at the top write Anava (Humility). Under the virtue, write out the suggested practices (courtesy of Riverton Mussar) listed below. Put this card in a prominent place to help you walk out this virtue in your day to day life.

  • In a conversation, focus intently on what the other person is saying and not on what you will say next.
  • Practice active listening, and talk less.
  • Prefer someone’s needs over yours.
  • When someone says something that does not agree with your opinion, hold your tongue, and let it go.

You might also benefit from these teachings:

 

The fear of the LORD is what wisdom teaches, and humility comes before honor. Proverbs 15:33

Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:8

Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor. Proverbs 18:12

The result of humility is fear of the LORD, along with wealth, honor, and life. Proverbs 22:4

Blessings and Shalom for a good week,
S~

Between the Straits

When I feel like I can’t breathe,
And everything is pressing in on me,
I will look past my circumstance
Allowing You my vision to enhance.
I choose to trust in Your divine plan
And grasp tightly to Your loving hand.
Though everything may fall apart
I know that I still have Your heart.
So please, Father, show me Your face;
And help me rest in Your strong embrace
Between the straits.

© Sarah S. Walters, 2016

Image courtesy of pazham at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of pazham at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Inspiration Through Torah in 5776: Devarim

Moses_Pleading_with_Israel_(crop)BS”D

This week we begin the last book of the Torah, Devarim, by studying the Torah portion of the same name Devarim. Devarim means words, and the words of Devarim are the final words that Moshe gave to the generation that was getting ready to cross over into the Land.

You may decide to read this double portion in one sitting, or you might decide to do the FULL KRIYAH which breaks up the parsha so that you can pace yourself and concentrate on a smaller section each day.

This week, the readings for the Torah portion for each day of the week will be as follows:

1: 1:1-10 (10 p’sukim)

2: 1:11-21 (11 p’sukim)

3: 1:22-38 (17 p’sukim)

4: 1:39-2:1 (9 p’sukim)

5: 2:2-30 (29 p’sukim)

6: 2:31-3:14 (21 p’sukim)

7: 3:15-22 (8 p’sukim)

In addition to the Torah portion, the haftarah portion is Isaiah 1:1 – 1:27.

The accompanying psalms to be read on Shabbat for this week’s double portion is 137.

Continue to journal this week, writing down your thoughts, themes, and Bible verses that come to mind for the individual days, and/or week. If you’d like to focus on personal character development with a larger community, see “Mussar” below the Torah study materials.

Torah Study Materials

Reading materials

Torah Portion Study Guides from Tony Robinson

The Creation Gospel Torah Portions: Devarim by Dr. Hollisa Alewine

Audio/Visual

The Parsha Experiment from the AlephBeta team on this week’s parsha.

Torah teachings (from the Torah cycle 5772) by L. Grant Luton

Mussar (Personal Character Development)

This week as we prepare our hearts and minds for Tisha B’Av, we will continue to focus on the middot (character trait) merirut and atzvut translated as sadness. Yanki Tauber describes the difference between these two different kinds of sadness this way:

Merirut is the distress of one who not only recognizes his failings but also cares about them; one who agonizes over the wrongs he has committed, over his missed opportunities, over his unrealized potential; one who refuses to become indifferent to what is deficient in himself and his world. Atzvut is the distress of one who has despaired of himself and his fellow man, whose melancholy has drained him of hope and initiative. Merirut is a springboard for self-improvement; atzvut is a bottomless pit. ~Yanki Tauber

Note: Fill out a 4×6 card; at the top write Merirut and Atzvut (Sadness). Under this attribute, write out the suggested practices. Put this card in a prominent place to help you walk out this virtue in your day to day life.

  • Instead of focusing on problems, focus on finding solutions.
  • Express your intention for a desired income in a given situation from “I expect” to “I prefer.”
  • Practice compassion.
  • Give up your will for Hashem’s will.

 

You may also enjoy the video(s) below:

 

“The first is active, the second—passive. The first one weeps, the second’s eyes are dry and blank. The first one’s mind and heart are in turmoil; the second’s are still with apathy and heavy as lead. And what happens when it passes, when they emerge from their respective bouts of grief? The first one springs to action: resolving, planning, taking his first faltering steps to undo the causes of his sorrow. The second one goes to sleep.” ~R’ Aryeh Kaplan

Video: Can Sadness Ever Be Positive?

Blessings and Shalom for a good week,

S~

Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins

IMG_1370

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup millet flour
  • 1/4 cup quinoa flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • zest of one lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup raw honey, melted
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Line 12 muffin tins with paper or grease with butter.
  3. In a large bowl, add all dry ingredients plus the zest of lemon, whisk together.
  4. In a large glass measuring cup or small bowl, mix wet ingredients.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into large bowl of dry ingredients and mix with electric mixer until well mixed.
  6. Evenly distribute batter into muffin tins and bake for 20-22 min.

 

 

Inspiration Through Torah in 5776: Matot-Masei

Cities_of_refugeSorry for the delay; we had family visiting over the long weekend. B”H, it was a lovely visit!

This week in the diaspora we’re finally catching up with those in Israel and studying Matot-Masei, which discusses women and vows, the vengeance on Midian, Reuben and Gad’s inheritance of land on the east side of the Jordan, details the encampments of the Israelites in the wilderness over the span of forty years, as well as the boundaries of the Land, cities for Levites, and cities of refuge.

You may decide to read this double portion in one sitting, or you might decide to do the FULL KRIYAH which breaks up the parsha so that you can pace yourself and concentrate on a smaller section each day.

This week, the readings for the Torah portion for each day of the week will be as follows:

1: 30:2-31:12 (28 p’sukim)

2: 31:13-54 (42 p’sukim)

3: 32:1-19 (19 p’sukim)

4: 32:20-33:49 (72 p’sukim)

5: 33:50-34:15 (22 p’sukim)

6: 34:16-35:8 (22 p’sukim)

7: 35:9-36:13 (39 p’sukim)

In addition to the Torah portion, the haftarah portion is Jeremiah 2:4 – 28; 3:4.

The accompanying psalms to be read on Shabbat for this week’s double portion is 111 and 49.

Continue to journal this week, writing down your thoughts, themes, and Bible verses that come to mind for the individual days, and/or week. If you’d like to focus on personal character development with a larger community, see “Mussar” below the Torah study materials.

Torah Study Materials

Reading materials

Torah Portion Study Guides from Tony Robinson

The Creation Gospel Torah Portions: Bamidbar by Dr. Hollisa Alewine

Audio/Visual

The Parsha Experiment from the AlephBeta team on this week’s parsha.

Torah teachings (from the Torah cycle 5772) by L. Grant Luton

Mussar (Personal Character Development)

This week as we head into a new month (the month of Menachem Av), we will focus on the middot (character trait) merirut and atzvut translated as sadness.

Yanki Tauber describes the difference between these two different kinds of sadness this way:

Merirut is the distress of one who not only recognizes his failings but also cares about them; one who agonizes over the wrongs he has committed, over his missed opportunities, over his unrealized potential; one who refuses to become indifferent to what is deficient in himself and his world. Atzvut is the distress of one who has despaired of himself and his fellow man, whose melancholy has drained him of hope and initiative. Merirut is a springboard for self-improvement; atzvut is a bottomless pit. ~Yanki Tauber

Note: Fill out a 4×6 card; at the top write Merirut and Atzvut (Sadness). Under this attribute, write out the suggested practices. Put this card in a prominent place to help you walk out this virtue in your day to day life.

  • Instead of focusing on problems, focus on finding solutions.
  • Express your intention for a desired income in a given situation from “I expect” to “I prefer.”
  • Practice compassion.
  • Give up your will for Hashem’s will.

 

You may also enjoy the video(s) below:

 

“The first is active, the second—passive. The first one weeps, the second’s eyes are dry and blank. The first one’s mind and heart are in turmoil; the second’s are still with apathy and heavy as lead. And what happens when it passes, when they emerge from their respective bouts of grief? The first one springs to action: resolving, planning, taking his first faltering steps to undo the causes of his sorrow. The second one goes to sleep.” ~R’ Aryeh Kaplan

Video: Can Sadness Ever Be Positive?

Blessings and Shalom for a good week,

S~

Mikvah

On the outside,
I come out looking the same
As I did before I went in.
But on the inside,
Everything, every thing
Has been made new again.

© Sarah S. Walters, 2016

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