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Does God Have A Love Language?

07/31/2020 09:23:44 AM

Jul31

Rabbi Barry Gelman

Does the Torah have a Love Language?


וְאָ֣הַבְתָּ֔ אֵ֖ת יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ֥ וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁךָ֖ וּבְכָל־מְאֹדֶֽךָ׃


You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.


Of course, loving God sounds great. The problem is that it is...Read more...

What's Next

07/24/2020 11:14:41 AM

Jul24

Rabbi Barry Gelman

What’s Next?  

Made famous by President Jedd Bartlet, the fictional President of the West Wing, this quip is a good measure of how to view this period of time; the nine day and Tisha B’Av.

What does it mean to mourn? 

Let’s answer this question by comparing two different aspects of the Halacht of Mourning.

In general, when it comes to Halacha (Jewish Law) we teach our children how to observe...Read more...

Moving Into A New Home During The Three Weeks

07/19/2020 02:32:38 PM

Jul19

Rabbi Barry Gelman

One of the questions he addresses regarding the Three Weeks is whether or not it is permitted to move into a new home during that period of time. This is the season when many people move, trying to get their family settled in time for the new school year. 

This question is addressed by many poskim. This post will focus mostly on the analysis on the Ya’alat Chen. 

Read more...

Our Dual Burden

07/17/2020 10:02:53 AM

Jul17

Rabbi Barry Gelman

This week, I had an interesting conversation with some colleagues on a question that seems to be on the minds of many people. I have been asked the same question by congregants. 

Basically, the question goes like this. How can Jews support efforts to bring justice to communities of color even as some members of that community have expressed anti-semetic and anti-Israel views? This question took on greater...Read more...

You can't have your cake and eat it too.

07/10/2020 11:01:48 AM

Jul10

Rabbi Barry Gelman

This week’s Dvar Torah is dedicated by Sheila and Louis Train in memory of Sheila’s sister Ruth Kelman  z’l and her brother-in-law Rabbi Joseph Kelman z’l. 

You can't have your cake and eat it too...The popular phrase, traced back to 1538,  says Rabbi Francis Nataf, is an apt idiom to understand the events surrounding Mahlah, Noa, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah the daughters of...Read more...

Skip A Little - Serve God With Joy

07/03/2020 10:34:59 AM

Jul3

This week’s Dvar Torah is sponsored by Sheila and Louis Train in memory of their daughter,  Carolynne Joy Guttman z ‘l.

 

As Bilam was on his way to attempt to curse the Jewish people, an angel God appeares and impedes the path of the donkey Bilam was riding on. On three different occasions Bilam strikes the donkey. Finally, a miracle occurs and the donkey speaks to Bilam, saying:

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Divne Friendship

06/26/2020 09:38:55 AM

Jun26

Rabbi Barry Gelman

The weekly Dvar Torah is sponsored by Sheila and Louis Train in memory of Sheila’s mother Yetta Friedman z’l

Moshe can’t catch a break. There is one rebellion after the other and Moshe seems overwhelmed.

וַיִּשְׁמַ֣ע מֹשֶׁ֔ה וַיִּפֹּ֖ל עַל־פָּנָֽיו׃

When Moses heard this, he fell on his face.

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Prove The Angels Wrong!

06/19/2020 11:47:20 AM

Jun19

Rabbi Barry Gelman

I write these remarks today on  Juneteenth - an important and historic day in Texas and in the shadow of the tragic events that have occurred recently in the United States. 

We are at a critical moment here in the United States. Many people are hoping that terribly tragic events in the last few weeks will lead to a more equitable and safe society for all. I pray that that is true. 

At moments...Read more...

What Have You Done For Me Lately

06/12/2020 11:03:02 AM

Jun12

Rabbi Barry Gelman

Moshe is in for a surprise. As Bnei Yisrael journeys from Sinai towards the promised land, Moshe nervously anticipates the war that awaits them. We can feel his angst as he prays:  קוּמָ֣ה ׀ יְהוָ֗ה וְיָפֻ֙צוּ֙ אֹֽיְבֶ֔יךָ וְיָנֻ֥סוּ מְשַׂנְאֶ֖יךָ מִפָּנֶֽיךָ׃ - Rise up, O LORD!  And let your enemies be scattered, And may Your foes flee before You!.

Read more...

Kindness Is Never Ending

05/28/2020 10:00:17 AM

May28

Rabbi Barry Gelman

This Yizkor, the second Yizkor that we find ourselves not able to be in shul, may be 

particularly difficult for people. 

Yizkor is made more meaningful by sharing it with community members. We are comforted by the presence and embrace of our friends and neighbors.

Without the emotional setting of the shul, the chanting of the Chazan and the faint sounds of sobbing, the power of...Read more...

What's In A Name

05/22/2020 01:29:58 PM

May22

Rabbi Barry Gelman

Today (Friday) is Yom Yerushalayim. 

Like many of you, I love Yerushalyim and miss her. Not a surprise to you, I love finding new bookstores...and I love going back to my favorites.

Of course, our celebration of Yom Yerushalayim is a result of the Six Day War - the almost unbelievable Israel victory in 1967. 

Did you ever wonder how the Six Day War got its name? I always thought that it...Read more...

Reflections on Rabbi Nachum Rabinovitch

05/08/2020 11:26:24 AM

May8

Rabbi Barry Gelman

This week, instead of a Dvar Torah on the Parsha,I would like to share with you some reflections on the occasion of the passing of Rav Nachum Rabinovitch. 

On Wednesday May 6th, Rabbi Nachum Rabinovitch, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva HEsder, Ma’aleh Adumim passed away at the age of 92.

Rabbi Rabinovitch was the senior and leading Rosh Yeshiva and Posek (religious authority) for the religious...Read more...

Thought Prayer Was Just Contemplative...? Think Again!

05/01/2020 11:47:06 AM

May1

Rabbi Barry Gelman

One of the most beautiful customs that I have ever come across is the practice of accepting upon oneself the MItzvah of “love your neighbor as yourself” before praying.  The  Magen Avraham  put it simply: (מגן אברהם סימן מו)
 
                                               ...Read more...

We Are All Kohanim

04/24/2020 01:29:01 PM

Apr24

Rabbi Barry Gelman

I recently read an article highlighting the ways people are AVOIDING social interaction these days. 

“The world used to be rich with excuses for cutting a conversation short: I should probably get home to feed my dog; this was fun, but I have to go to another party; and so on. But this new, locked-down era calls for more creativity in coming up with a good reason to say bye.

Two friends of mine...Read more...

Corona and Gratitude

04/17/2020 07:40:03 PM

Apr17

Rabbi Barry Gelman

I want to spend a few minutes on gratitude . 

Studies have shown being grateful can actually make you happier. There are other benefits of gratitude as well. 

“In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong...Read more...

What Time Is It? What Day Is It!?

04/14/2020 01:00:03 PM

Apr14

Rabbi Barry Gelman

What Time Is It? What Day Is It?

I do not know about you, but keeping track of time is hard during this period of self quarantining and social distancing.  Giving up on our daily routine of having to get to school or work on time, scheduled times at the gym and the like have decayed our internal clock.

There is no doubt that our relationship with time, in terms of how we experience past, present and...Read more...

Pesach In The Time Of Corona (Shabbat Hagadol)

04/07/2020 09:52:23 AM

Apr7

Rabbi Barry Gelman

Pesach In The Time Of Corona.    (Click here for Video)

At first glance, it seems that the confluence of Pesach and the CoronaVirus pandemic have very little in common. 

Pesach is the story of the birth of the Jewish people after being freed from human tyranny. The Corona pandmeic, on the other hand, has restricted our freedoms, in fact, we have voluntarily given certain freedoms....Read more...

UOS Pesach Portal

04/05/2020 09:22:13 AM

Apr5

Rabbi Barry Gelman

Dear Friends,

First, I would like to wish you all a Chag Kasher V’sameach, a Kosher and joyous Pesach. I will add the prayer that this year we should all be blessed with good health and that the Corona pandemic speedily come to an end.

I am very happy to provide this Pesach Portal which should make your final preparations for Pesach mush easier.

I would also like to add how...Read more...

Pre Shabbat Message from Rabbi Gelman and Ruthie (3/13/20)

03/13/2020 09:14:31 AM

Mar13

Rabbi Barry Gelman

Dear Friends,
 
We want to reiterate we are here for you and when we can to provide calming and helping support. The disruption of daily active life can be unsettling, and as some are curtailing activities and may be coming to shul less, we want to make sure that your spiritual and communal needs are being met. Please be in touch with us if you are aware of anyone who can use a check in call or visit. 
 
We feel...Read more...

Kiddush Hashem Country

03/04/2020 10:48:49 AM

Mar4

Rabbi Barry Gelman

Last week, Robert M. Beren Academy’s High School basketball team, The Beren Stars, their family members and fans traveled to Waco, Texas for the Division IA state basketball championship tournament. Since the semi-finals were scheduled for Friday afternoon and the finals were scheduled for Saturday night, the school made arrangements for everyone to spend Shabbat together at a nearby hotel. I had the privilege of playing a small...Read more...

The Kiss of Greatness or What Is The Torah For?

10/10/2018 01:17:16 PM

Oct10

Rabbi Barry Gelman

One of the more beautiful and meaningful Jewish customs is the practice of  starting the Torah again right after we complete it on Simchat Torah. The reason we do this is so not to give the appearance that once done with the Torah we no longer have interest in it, that we have lost our love for the Torah.

At first glance, it does not seem to be a realistic fear. After all, before we read the Torah, we will...Read more...

Kavanot (Points To Consider) for a meaningful Rosh Hashana Davening

08/30/2018 12:53:37 PM

Aug30

Rabbi Barry Gelman

The Rosh Hashana davening is challenging in that it is very busy and full of choreography. Some find it difficult to focus and create moments of quiet introspection.

Do not feel rushed to keep up. It is more important to internalize the prayers. One should stop and listen to the shofar when the time comes. Rabbi Barry Gelman


Read more...

Wait For It...

08/13/2018 02:45:07 PM

Aug13

Rabbi Barry Gelman

Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point notes that there is a  magical moment when an idea or social behavior crosses a threshold and spreads like wildfire.

I think there is a similar idea in Judaism that is helpful when thinking about the themes of the High Holidays.

Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one.

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with...Read more...

Fixing Sinai: Purim and Jewish Conscience

03/08/2017 08:32:12 AM

Mar8

The Torah says, “And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet God; and they stood at the lowermost part of the mount” (Exodus 19:17). Rabbi Avdimi bar Ḥama bar Ḥasa said: the Jewish people actually stood beneath the mountain, and the verse teaches that the Holy One, Blessed be He, overturned the mountain above the Jews like a tub, and said to them: If you accept the Torah, excellent,...Read more...

03/08/2017 08:31:13 AM

Mar8

Update this content.

Water Cooler Revolution

12/15/2016 10:32:26 AM

Dec15

This article appeared in the Houston Chronicle on 12/11/16. 

Read more...

Do Not Lose Faith In Faith

12/07/2016 01:26:55 PM

Dec7

I read a book review this week entitled What Makes A Great Parish. The book  being reviewed is called Great Catholic Parishes: How Four Essential Practices Make Them Thrive. One of the four practices captured my attention. According to the author of the book great parishes “foster spiritual maturity”.

 

I love that term - spiritual...Read more...

Abraham, Civil Discourse and Us

11/18/2016 09:24:10 AM

Nov18

I have been asked this week by a number of people about the uptick in reports of hate crimes and acts of  bigotry.

First, it is important to acknowledge that President elect Trump has told his supporters to stop the attacks.  He said: "I am so saddened to hear that, and I say, 'Stop it. If it -- if it helps, I will say this, and I will say right to the...Read more...

Take The Long View on Life Cycle Events

10/28/2015 11:34:12 AM

Oct28

It’s been a long time since I wrote about spending on Simchas. The issue was raised again in a recent article suggesting a correlation between spending money on weddings and divorce rates.  “Francis and Mialon surveyed more than 3,000 people — all of whom have been married just once — and found that across income levels the more you dish out on the Big Day, the...Read more...

You Shall Teach Them To your Children"

10/12/2015 09:12:36 AM

Oct12

“You shall teach them to your children” (Devarim 11:19)

Dear Friends,

On Shabbat I spoke about the importance of serving as role models for our children. I focused on two areas - coming to shul...Read more...

Mon, August 3 2020 13 Av 5780