Passover Unfinished

The Passover Seder comprises two halves, roughly divided by the festive meal itself. The first part commemorates the redemption from Egypt as we retell the story of the departure from Egypt, starting with “Avadim hayinu, we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt.” The second half concludes with the famous line, “Next year in Jerusalem!” our declaration of hope for the final redemption.

Read More
Russ Resnik
Open the Door!

 “On the tenth day of this month [Nissan] each man is to take a lamb for the household, a lamb for each home” (Exodus 12:3). This lamb is set aside in anticipation of the Pesach sacrifice to be offered four days later. Although this mitzvah was given for a specific time in the life of Israel, the tradition continues today in the observance of Shabbat Hagadol, the Shabbat before Pesach.  

Read More
Russ Resnik
It's About Time

Time is the most elusive yet dominant concept in the human experience. We struggle to understand it and we struggle to control it, yet our endless awareness and fear of time lurks behind all our endeavors. So, we invent devices to measure time. We guard our time, we gift our time, and ultimately, we often waste our time. But eventually we all run out of time. Then we memorialize the time that was.

Read More
Russ Resnik
The Husband's Longing

The longest I’ve been away from my wife since we were married is a couple of days. This year for a weekend in February she went away with two other married women. I missed her, for sure. I got regular updates of their exploits, and that was enjoyable. But you can’t hug a picture on your phone. I mean, you can, but it’s not the same.

Read More
Russ Resnik
Purim and Its Remedy

It brings joy to my heart when I see little children dressed up in their Purim costumes on our streets here in Israel. I loved it when my children donned their costumes, paraded on the town’s sidewalks with their elementary school class, and had tons of fun at their class parties. But then I am faced with my growing uneasiness during this holiday.

Read More
Russ Resnik
Holy Dual Loyalty

Ilhan Omar, congresswoman from Minnesota, has maintained her high exposure in the news stream for weeks by repeatedly “using anti-Semitic clichés in her criticisms of the American-Israeli relationship.” The cliché that seems to have gotten the most attention is Omar’s recent insinuation of dual loyalty: “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is okay to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

Read More
Russ Resnik
What Do You See in the Cloud?

This week’s haftarah is a glorious one. What had begun with Moses in the desert now finds its culmination with Solomon in Jerusalem. The people were once nomads in a desert on their way to the land of promise. Now they stand before their established king in their allotted land to dedicate a secure, fixed, and beautiful house to the living God.

Read More
Russ Resnik
One Man Makes the Difference

This Shabbat is Shabbat Shekalim, corresponding to the season in our calendar when the half-shekel tax was assessed in ancient Israel. Our haftarah portion, 2 Kings 11:17–12:17, is a short history lesson, but one that carries a challenge throughout the generations.

Read More
Russ Resnik
Who You Gonna Listen To?

This week’s haftarah from 1 Kings 18 is best known for Elijah’s victory over the priests of Ba’al at Mount Carmel, which led to a massive return of the people of Israel (the northern kingdom) to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Often overlooked in this well-known passage is the reception Elijah received on his way to Carmel and during the interactions that occurred there.  

Read More
Russ Resnik
Be Lovers of Peace

In Exodus 19:6 God says to Israel, “You shall be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” So in reality we are all priests. The kohanim are just the priests to the priests. But Israel as a whole are priests to the nations of the world.

Read More
Russ Resnik